Book Review: Realm of Darkness

15 Aug

51SSa9J+ucL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Emma and Matthew are finally free to marry, but Matthew’s secret continues to haunt them.

Emma D’Eresby can look forward to a future with Matthew Lynes. She at last reveals to Matthew the nature of her relationship with Guy Hilliard — her supervisor at Cambridge — and the reason she has found it difficult to forgive him or to trust any other.

Their joy at marrying is short-lived as, to her disgust, Emma discovers that Guy is visiting the United States to attend the history conference at which she is the keynote speaker. Although everyone seems charmed by him, Emma doesn’t trust Guy. Worse still, she discovers that Ellie is dating Guy, bringing him within the family fold.

Long-held grudges and wounds surface and it is clear that Guy poses a threat to everything Emma loves.




cfdunnC. F. Dunn runs a school in North Kent for children with developmental disabilities, dyslexia, and other difficulties. Explore the author’s website HERE.


My Impressions:

The fourth book in C. F. Dunn’s The Secret of The Journal series continues the atmospheric creepiness the author has been developing. In Realm of Darkness, Emma and Matthew seem to have overcome the obstacles to a happily-forever-after ending to their romance. However, secrets from both their pasts rise up causing strife and mistrust. The story is back on track after a less than satisfying third book, and I am looking forward to finally having all the answers when book #5 is released September 2016.

Realm of Darkness is a novel sure to appeal to those who like a bit of spooky, creepy and supernatural in their reading. Mystery and history combine to create a book with its feet in two eras. Much has occurred over the course of the 4-book series, so you really must start at the beginning to get the whole picture. As couples go, Emma and Matthew have a lot going against them — family opposition, former lovers, and there is that age difference that seems insurmountable. You see, Matthew is 400+ years old with no sign of aging or slowing down. The whole immortality theme is continued in this book, but there are hints that the mystery surrounding that will be explained and resolved in the final book of the series. As Christian fiction, Realm of Darkness is a bit lacking. There are references to God and dialog referring to God’s power, but until the very end there is not much evidence in the lives of the characters. At the end, the author does explore the concept of forgiveness and its power to liberate from guilt. Please be aware that this book is also British fiction, so there is some language and adult situations not usually found in American offerings. But . . . I really like the main characters and the supporting cast developed by Dunn. I like the spooky atmosphere she creates through setting. And I like the interconnection of past actions with present day happenings.

All in all, I liked Realm of Darkness and am glad there’s not much of a wait for the final novel, Fearful Symmetry.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


3 Responses to “Book Review: Realm of Darkness”

  1. cfdunn at 5:52 am #

    Thank you so much for reviewing Realm of Darkness. It’s always good to get different views from interested readers. One thing that often crops up is the difference between British and American Christian fiction. It is becoming apparent that there is a growing number of Christian authors who write for the general market (which is what I do) and do not write Christian fiction as such, but nonetheless feel a strong commitment and calling to do so. If you think your readers would be interested in hearing about this perspective, I’d be delighted to write a blog about it. Thank you again. God bless.


    • rbclibrary at 6:33 am #

      Thanks so much for commenting on my post. Because I review Christian Fiction (with a decidedly American leaning) almost exclusively, I try to make the distinction between British vs American for my readers. I am not trying to be critical; I just want my readers to be informed. Over the course of the last few years I have seen much discussion on this issue on FB groups to which I belong. There are strong feelings on both sides about what belongs or doesn’t in CF. One of the reasons I review for Kregel/Lion Hudson is this diversity. I am also glad that Christian authors are reaching out to the general market and know that Lion Hudson is an important part of that. However, Kregel makes it clear in their mission statement what they are trying to accomplish — “Our mission as an evangelical Christian publisher is to develop and distribute — with integrity and excellence — trusted, biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ.” When American readers see that Kregel is distributing a book, they have have a certain expectation. So to give my readers all the info they need to make a selection, I want to be honest about what a book contains.

      All of that to say that I have enjoyed The Secret of The Journal series. It is just the kind of literature that needs to be available among all the other works within the genre.

      Thanks so much for commenting. You may be interested in what Fiona Veitch Smith had to say on the issue.


      • cfdunn at 6:55 am #

        Absolutely! The difference between the types of fiction we have both mentioned is a hot topic here in the UK as well. UK-based Lion Fiction – which publishes The Secret Of The Journal series – aims to expand readership beyond the traditional Christian market to include those who want a good read and find the writing approach of the authors attractive. Although Lion and Kregel work hand-in-hand, their approach is slightly different, but no less effective for it. Such an interesting discussion – thank you.


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