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Book Review: Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes

Rachel Ann Nunes has always been on the cutting edge of LDS fiction. In her first novel, “Ariana: The Making of a Queen,” she explored drug use and the consequences of leaving an addicted father in charge of his infant daughter. In “Fields of Home,” she asked the question: what would you do if the love of your life suddenly reappeared, on your doorstep—the doorstep you now share with your husband and children?

Rachel’s new release, “Imprints,” is no less thought-provoking, and, in fact, has stirred up a bit of controversy. Leaving the LDS market and now writing for a national audience, Rachel tried her hand at a paranormal suspense, and did a very good job of it, too.

We first met Autumn Rain in Nunes’s novel, “Eyes of a Stranger,” as a side character. Now, in “Imprints,” we learn more of this unusual young woman who owns an antique store adjacent to an herb shop, who never wears shoes, who detests the use of microwave ovens, and who can read emotional imprints left behind on objects that were dear to the owner.

When the parents of a missing young woman come to Autumn for help, she finds herself led to a mysterious group of people who are leaving the modern world behind and moving to a forested commune where they can live in peace. Autumn’s best chance of helping the missing girl is to go undercover inside the commune and see what she can find out, but she soon realizes there’s much more going on than just the desire to live in a world apart. She must rely on her abilities, her common sense, and her friendship with the good-looking Jake Ryan to get her out alive.

But why would a suspense novel be considered controversial?

Nunes’s publisher, Shadow Mountain, is owned by Deseret Book, the largest publisher in the LDS market and which is owned by the LDS Church. When “Imprints” was first released, some were worried that Nunes was dabbling with elements that weren’t appropriate for LDS readers, and some feared that her storyline was drawing too near the occult. However, those who have read “Imprints” can attest to the fact that the occult never comes into the picture. Instead, Autumn’s gifts are instinctual, something that comes about because of her deep sensitivity, and not anything that she cultivates or conjures through rituals or séances. I never at any time felt uncomfortable while reading “Imprints,” and enjoyed the story a great deal.

In fact, if I were to submit a complaint, it would be along a totally different vein—I felt the conclusion needed to be drawn out a little more. It seemed to end too quickly. But I give Rachel Ann Nunes two big thumbs-up for a compelling, fascinating story, and I hope she writes many more in this genre.

Tristi Pinkston is a freelance editor, eater of ice cream, taker of naps, and enjoyer of Remington Steele on DVD. She is also an LDS author and media reviewer. You can learn more about her by visiting her blog, here.

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