The Familiar Stranger [NOOK Book]

Overview


Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise...
if she only knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU,
with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a...
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The Familiar Stranger

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Overview


Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise...
if she only knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU,
with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets: An affair? An emptied bank account?
A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?

But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

Christina Berry's stories are wonderfully told, rich in detail, exact in dialogue, and exciting from the moment you begin reading!
-Eva Marie Everson, author of The Potluck Club series

As readers discover Christina's writing and realize how friendly and approachable she is, they won't be disappointed.
-Donna Fleisher, author of the Homeland Heroes series

Christina Berry is a woman who really understands how men think. The Familiar Stranger had me from the very first sentence, and it kept me flipping pages right through to the end. It's a terrific debut novel and I'll be watching eagerly for her next one.
-Randy Ingermanson, Christy award-winning author of Oxygen

Christina Berry writes with language that stimulates the senses while challenging our thoughts. She ties mystery with inspiration, giving us good stories well told.
-Jane Kirkpatrick, author of All Together in One Place, A Clearing in the Wild, and A Name of Her Own

The Familiar Stranger is a great ride. From the opening page to the very last I had to know more. Christina Berry's original voice and her ability to raise uncertainty drives the reader forward to a surprising ending. A wonderful first book!
-Bonnie Leon, author of the Sydney Cove series

The Familiar Stranger crackles with energy and intrigue. The characters gripped me; the situation haunted me. I didn't want to put it down.
-Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief series

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575673622
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,166,027
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Mother and foster parent CHRISTINA BERRY carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. Sign up for her infrequent, humorous newsletter at authorchristinaberry.blogspot.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 7, 2010

    The Best Fiction I've Read in a While...

    "Warm, pollinated air whispered over me. The hospital's circulation filters removed all the germs and odors from the indoor air, but they also stripped it of its personality." writes Christine Berry in The Familiar Stranger

    From the first chapter, and even the first paragraph, I knew this was a good book. It reminded me of NCIS (probably my favorite TV show). The characters have personality. As the reader, you see their flaws, but they're part of who they are and you want to know their story.

    I realize more and more what a skill writing a good story is---to convey important details about a conversation and not make it feel too slow or too fast, but very real and believable. That was what pleased and surprised me about Ms. Berry's writing. It didn't feel stilted or ingenuous.

    I wanted to read this book because the premise sounded intriguing and different. And it proved to be so! I don't want to give anything away about this book. From the back of the book, you know that the story is about a man who was planning to leave his wife (though she doesn't know) when he has an accident and wakes up with amnesia. I thought I knew how it would end at the beginning and it did turn out that I was right, but it felt like a long shot and there was enough doubt in my mind to make the journey from the beginning to the end very interesting.

    Honestly, this is the best fiction book I've read in a long time. Please check it out if you're looking for a good read!

    Please note that I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review by Moody Publishing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2010

    WOW - WHAT A PAGE TURNER!!!

    What a compelling and undeniable page turner!!! Christina Berry's "The Familiar Stranger" had me hooked from the very beginning and held me right through to the end. The twists, the turns and the bombshell that was dropped in the novel, was for me anyway, totally unexpected!!!! That was THE BEST surprise in a novel that I've read in a long while...way to go!!

    The characters were well drawn and most of all REAL. I felt like I'd been transported from my chair into the pages of the book, melting my way into the words so that they became my reality. I was there, walking alongside Denise as she struggled her way through the nightmare she was living. I kept wanting to 'tap' her on the shoulder and giving her advice, but of course, that wasn't possible so I had to be patient and wait until she came to some of the conclusions herself. However, on the other hand, I was nine times out of ten, glad I "couldn't" tap her on the shoulder because my advice would have been dead wrong!! lol

    Ooohh, the lies and the secrets that people create only drag them further into the abyss of deceit. What's that old saying: "Oh what tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive." But alas, our faith in God and the power of forgiveness is our saving grace. Not to be misused or abused as one must be a believer, one must have a deep faith and a deep understanding of God for He truly knows what is in our hearts and our minds.

    The Familiar Stranger is a testament to the power of Christ and the forgiveness He offers us. I was captivated from the first page of this novel and found myself reading faster and faster, flipping pages quicker than leaves blowing off a tree on a windy fall day. Christina, you've written one of the BEST debut novels I've read in years and hope that you are currently penning a second?? Thanks for reminding us through the words in this story that forgiveness is a powerful tool when used with deep thought and heartfelt meaning.

    And rest assured, your book is now part of my PERMANENT COLLECTION!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Familiar Stranger

    Denise Littleton was already feeling a little hopeless when she went to church that Sunday morning. A cell phone call in the middle of the church service changes her life forever. Her husband, Craig, has been involved in an accident and is severely injured. She arrives at the hospital to find that Craig has no memory of her, where he was going or why he was parked on the side of the road when he was hit. As the days pass, Craig's behavior is more loving than it has been in years and his injury seems like a fresh start that Denise is eager to grasp. Though the path ahead appears long and difficult, she is willing to walk along Craig's side. Unfortunately, when Craig's memories come back suddenly, Denise finds she has already lost more than she could have imagined. The Familiar Stranger is told from two points-of view which gives it an interesting tone. This works particularly well as it provides a unique perspective into what it would be like to completely lose one's memory. This book deals with a lot of family drama, emotional turmoil and mystery. However, despite the heavy topics discussed, the book is actually a pretty fast read. I recommend this to those who love fiction and mystery. The questions will definitely keep you guessing up until the end. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Totally unexpected

    I have heard good things about this book, but I have to admit I was still a little skeptical because it looks pretty woman's fiction to me... you know, all relationships, my life isn't perfect, my husbands a jerk, blah, blah, blah. But I really wanted to give it a try because I met Christina in September at ACFW and I was so impressed with her as a person that I had to see if she could write. Okay people, it is official. This girl can write!

    She blew my mind with this book. I expected it to take me awhile to read, nope, couldn't put it down and finished it in 24 hours. I figured I'd see everything coming, nope, twists and turns down to the very end. I thought I'd be bored with all the woman's issues, nope, it was actually almost more mystery then woman's fiction. I just knew that I'd add it to my pile of one time read woman's fiction books, nope, this book might make it to my keeper shelf.

    If you are looking for fresh and different, pick up The Familiar Stranger and see if it doesn't blow your mind a little too!

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  • Posted December 11, 2009

    Engrossing and emotional novel about betrayal and forgiveness

    Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry is an emotional rollercoaster novel filled with suspense. Denise Littleton has been feeling the cracks in her marriage for the last several years. Her husband, Craig, treats her with disdain, turning away her attempts at affection and belittling her every move. When he's in a car accident that wipes his memory, it at first seems to be a blessing. The familiar strangers fall in love; he pays attention to their sons, and they are finally finding the life Denise has always wanted. Until Craig's secrets start coming out, shattering their calm and exposing his lies. Berry mines every bit of emotion by alternating narration between Craig and Denise to show their growing feelings and confusion. Astute readers will figure out what's going on, but the superb writing keeps them guessing about particulars. Two small areas of concern: Denise runs hot and cold with the turn of a page with no explanation, and a vital piece of information is casually tossed out near the beginning of the book, but when all of the secrets are exposed, it isn't referenced, making the ending a bit less satisfying. Those issues won't stop readers from devouring this enthralling story.

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Page-turning and mysterious. One of the best books I've read in 2009

    The Familiar Stranger was a real page turner. It was written so well that it wasn't until I was three quarters of the way through the story that I realized the point of view for each person (titled his and hers respectively in the novel) was written in the first person past tense. This was very well done and flawlessly executed, IMHO. The Familiar Stranger is also the perfect title for this incredible tale. It was an intriguing and a profoundly mysterious story that kept me guessing until nearly the end.

    At first I was thinking something was occurring like what happened Rekindled by Tamera Alexander. Then I thought it could be like The Man in the Iron Mask starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Then I thought of the movie Summersby starring Jodie Foster. Long story short, this delightfully romantic and emotional tale was one of the most amazing debuts I've read in a long time. It was well thought out, excellently plotted, and the characterization was so believable that it left me breathless. Yeah, I even got choked up several times, especially toward the end.

    I found the resolution in The Familiar Stranger more satisfying and believeable than if the story had been taken a different direction. The unique spiritual perspective was also truly inspirational, which is why this book is making my best fiction for 2009 list. I highly recommend it.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Become Familiar With IT!

    Author Christina Berry is a single mom and foster parent, carving time out of a busy schedule to write. The Familiar Stranger is her debut novel. She resides with her family in Oregon.
    Denise and Craig's seventeen year marriage had been on the rocks for some time. He could be cold and distant, and she could be controlling and obsessive. With him working long hours and frequenting short temper, it left them both with a deep sadness. Then, while in church, Denise's cell phone rings and she is blown away when she finds out that Craig has been in an accident. With Craig having no memory of her, their two sons, or their life together, Denise is determined to make this a fresh start for them all. She keeps vigil in the hospital and stands by him through his painful recovery. But secrets are emerging about his life before the accident, leaving Denise with more questions than answers, and wondering if she ever knew Craig at all. Why was he standing by the side of the highway in the first place? Who was the stranger with him? How many more betrayals will she uncover? Can she forgive a man who is so obviously changed? And then, suddenly, his memories come flooding back.
    Admittedly, and though nothing provoked me to feel this way, I didn't have high hopes for this book. Honestly, I thought it was going to resemble a soap opera. How wrong I was. I was blown away by how powerful this book was. Told from first-person point-of-view from both main characters, Denise and Craig, this story will draw you in from the first page and hold you captive until the last. It sends a strong message of faith, (which will interest inspirational readers), has a puzzle to the plot as the secrets are revealed, (which will interest mystery lovers), shows the roots and troubles within a marriage, (which married persons can relate to), a bit of romance, and a strong dramatic element which fictional readers can revel in. I figured out where the author was going with the book about half-way through, but it did not deter me from reading as there were things I didn't see coming as well, nor was I disappointed with the ending. Revealing any more will ruin it for future readers, but trust me when I say that this was a very well-written, engaging, and bittersweet story- one in which shouldn't be overlooked.

    Kelly Moran,
    Author and Reviewer

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  • Posted September 27, 2009

    A haunting, well-written drama based on 2 true stories

    Denise Littleton is struggling to hold her marriage together, and doesn't realize that her husband Craig has some dark secrets and sinister plans. She is wavering between suspicion and desperate hope when she gets a phone call at church that changes her life. She rushes to care for her injured husband but constant mysteries and revelations make new suspicions arise including whether his amnesia is real or a convenient alibi. But this is not just Denise's story. I particularly enjoyed the male and female perspectives through the dual first-person storylines. As the invalid recovers, choices of trust and forgiveness are faced. Just as in the real-life events upon which Ms. Berry based her story, the shocking events and choices ripple out to affect family and community members as well as the Littleton marriage. A haunting well-written drama with excellent takeaway for troubled relationships.

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  • Posted September 23, 2009

    Love ... Betrayal ... Forgiveness ... Restoration

    When Craig Littleton leaves his home, he plans to never return, to abandon his wife and sons in pursuit of freedom. And his detailed plans are foolproof.

    But, as he literally drives on the road toward liberty, he's involved in a severe accident. He lives, but all his memories are gone.

    His wife, Denise, unaware of his plans to desert the family, nurses him back to health, and he learns to love her again.

    But then, his memories come tumbling back .

    Will he be able to restore all the lives he broke before the accident?

    ***
    In the tradition of Francine Rivers, debut author, Christina Berry, delivers an impactful story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, & new beginnings. Her unique method of telling the story from both Denise's and Craig's point-of-view adds dimension to the characters, & depth to the emotions. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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  • Posted September 23, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    One of 2009's Best Books

    2009 has been a year of some wonderful debut novels, and Christina Berry has penned one of the best. A work of women's fiction, The Familiar Stranger's complex plot is filled with the twists and red herrings of an Agatha Christie mystery. The answer came so far out of left field, Agatha wouldn't have predicted it. Engaging characters, cunning, and quicksilver emotions add up to a story that held me hostage, spellbound to the end. Novel Journey/Reviews and I give it our highest recommendation.

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  • Posted September 17, 2009

    A great debut novel!

    I read this book straight through and I'm looking forward to her next novel.

    Denise knows her marriage has gone cold, but when she receives a call that her husband has been in an accident, everything turns topsy-turvy. As if broken limbs, road burns, and skin grafts aren't enough, when he comes out of his coma, he doesn't remember anything, not her, not their sons, nothing.

    Even as she and Craig begin to establish a new relationship, secrets from his past crop up. And just when she thinks that she's forgiven him everything, and they are starting to establish a new and better love for each other, she finds out something more devastating.

    I loved this book, especially when she had come to a standstill in the forgiving department and the pastor says, "Right now you're acting like the judge, stamping GUILTY on each page of Craig's life. Maybe it's time you change your stamp."

    You'll love the surprise ending. Totally satisfying.

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  • Posted September 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Debut Novel

    Craig is not the man Denise married; he works long hours, he's often away on extended business trips and they're not as close as they were when they married twenty years ago. Their marriage has lost its glitter and Denise wonders if his distant behavior is her fault. Craig skips church one morning saying he needs a break and is going hiking. Instead, he puts into motion his intricate plan to end their marriage. This book takes off on page one and doesn't stop until it's finished. Throughout the book Ms. Berry tells this story from the perspectives of both Craig and Denise. She presents this format of "His" and "Hers" with perfection and immerses the reader into the story until you just have to turn the pages! Berry introduces well-developed and memorable characters and a strong, swift plot. This debut novel from her whets my appetite for her next book. A good read!

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Familar Stranger

    The Familiar Stranger
    Christina Berry
    2009
    Moody Press
    Fiction/Christian/Contemporary

    Reviewed by Cindy Loven

    An accident, leaves one man horribly injured, and in a drug induced coma, and another man dead. Denise rushes to the hospital to be with her husband, Dr. Craig Littleton. He was injured when a car hit his parked car beside the freeway. But who was the man who died? And why was he with Craig? And why was Craig parked alongside the freeway? Why was he arguing with the strange man, as passing motorists noticed? What was going on?

    These questions plague Denise, but the police clear up the mystery, sort of, it seems. They discover the dead man was William Rodain, a patient of her husbands. But why he was with Craig, was still a mystery.

    Denise stands beside Craig, amazed at how different his personality is, as he is slowly recovering. He has trauma induced amnesia, and doesn't remember her or their sons. Hopeful that his homecoming will jog his memory, they all look forward to him coming home and getting well.

    Follow this fascinating, fast paced story from beginning to end. See Denise fall in love with her husband all over again. Discover her kindness and developing friendship with the daughter of the man who died in the accident. See the boys grow into a loving and better relationship with their dad. Discover secrets, that hurt and should never had to be revealed. Learn about the infidelities that Craig indulged in before the accident. See forgiveness at its most merciful. A wonderfully written book, this debut novel from Christina Berry will most definitely be a book to share with friends and family. Discussion questions for book groups and clubs included. 5 stars 334 pages $13.99 US

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    Posted April 30, 2011

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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    Posted November 29, 2009

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    Posted August 5, 2010

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