*** This novel contains a detailed synopsis of book 1 and can be read as a standalone *** Anissa Toma fled war-torn Syria after narrowly escaping the massacre of her Christian family by Islamists. Fortunate enough to rebuild her shattered life in New York City, the young refugee gained admission to an elite college, where she excelled. Her beauty, brains, and purity soon captured the interest of two powerful men: Michael, an activist working to establish Antioch, the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien, her professor and one of the city’s wealthiest bachelors.
As Anissa's saga continues, the refugee-turned-rising-star must navigate between Michael and Julien, while trying to help her surviving relatives and other vulnerable Christians in Syria. As she gets closer to both men in a complex and evolving love triangle, can she unlock Julien's traumatic childhood to open up his heart? Or will Julien find greater solace from his nightmares and other demons in the sessions with his intriguing therapist? What will Michael do for Antioch and for Anissa, and what will Julien's role be? How far will each person go to help Anissa's remaining family and other persecuted Christians at risk in Syria? Find out in this stunning sequel to The Syrian Virgin.
I read The Syrian Virgin and thought it was amazing and thought-provoking. It was a journey and the romance involving Anissa, Julien and Michael just drew me in even further. I will say that I would recommend reading it before Anissa's Redemption to get to know the characters on a deeper level but it is not necessary, in the beginning, Zack has written a wonderful summary of book one. Now onto Anissa's Redemption...
It starts where book one ended. Anissa is not sure where she stands with Julien, her professor or with Michael, her Christian Hero and sometimes boyfriend. She is drawn to both men for different reasons. She also needs to concentrate on her academics and working along side Michael in his efforts to help the Christians in the Middle East which includes her family. To say she has a lot going on is an understatement.
Julien is now looking at his life more closely. He has been working with his therapist, Lily but needs to dig deeper if he wants a future with Anissa. He wants to continue their friendship and ultimately move forward with her. She intrigues him. She is very passionate with her efforts to support her cause and he can talk to her more freely then anyone else but there are still things hidden underneath the surface that he is afraid will tear them apart. He wants her to trust him with her past demons but can he trust her with his?
And then there is Michael. He is very passionate about bringing attention to the issues in the Middle East and goes there often to work in any way he can and with the donations that Julien had sent, he is able to do more including helping Anissa's family. She is very grateful to him but is that enough to keep a relationship going?
Julien and Anissa do get closer in this book and it awesome to see the developments in their relationship but it is not always easy for them. It really comes down to trust. I will say that there are some sexy times between these two but that is not the most meaningful part of there story. I will also say that there is no cheating! She is torn between the two in her mind but not in her body. She is upfront with both men. Who will win her heart in the end?
I loved this story for many reasons. One, it is once again thought-provoking. Zack is brilliant when it comes to his writing and I can tell he is passionate about it and does his research. Two, it is a romance. The story is different than the others and I love different. Third, I have said it in other reviews...I am a Christian Armenian and I like that it is talked about in the book. You don't read about it much. I do not follow the news as much as I should and even I was hooked into the story about the politics and religious parts of the book. It was the perfect amount for me. There are more but lastly, it has seriousness it in but there is also some humor.
Overall...I loved it! The writing was awesome and hooked me in. I read it in one sitting and hoping for more to the series. I really enjoyed in both books that it was in Julien and Anissa's POVs in journal entries. There were also some twists that surprised me and I so love twists...
Our faces flush with desire, we embraced each other like two lost souls who had finally found one another after a lifetime of searching.
“When he’s fully healed and I can set him free, it won’t be easy to find a replacement.” I caressed her spine downward, and then around to her hip, where I rested my hand.
But it haunts me, and she will always want to know about it, just as you do, and my refusal to discuss it will drive a wedge between us.
As a follow up to The Syrian Virgin, this book is a powerful statement of the struggles people from other countries experience while we live our lives ignorant or distanced from their plight. I found myself feeling woefully inadequate as a human being. We take the freedoms we enjoy as just how folks live, when, in fact, many do not have these luxuries. Anissa's journey from hell to happiness is a formidable distance to travel, yet she does so with a loving heart and a zeal we could all strive for. For any christian, I think it can be said that this tale shows what real faith is. Being so secure in your beliefs that you would pay the ultimate price instead of bowing to pressure from outside. What we see of the Syrian's plight, and more so Anissa's family's fight to be safe is awe inspiring. This book doesn't focus on debating one religion over another. Instead, it focuses on the fight for right vs wrong. No one should be murdered because they don't share the same views. And harming another person because you think your view is the only right view needs to be stopped. This is a must read for anyone who loves human interest centered stories. While the political, economic, and religious fight is going on, this book follows Anissa as she struggles to find herself and fall in love, while she fights to support saving her family and her people. She is just one young refugee who makes a huge difference while losing so much more than one person should. She is also just a college student, studying to fulfill a promise to her father. The love triangle between Anissa, Michael and Julien is really well done. There is no way you could even have predicted how it turns out. That is my favorite part of a well done sequel. There are so many oh my gosh moments as we get to know more about the characters. I think there are many things to be learned from this book that anyone could find something gained from reading this. Bravo, Zack. You did the story proud. I will definitely be looking forward to what this author writes next.
A Brilliant and Beautifully Written Book!
Just when I thought that Zack Love had written his most impressive novel to date when he wrote "The Syrian Virgin", he pleasantly surprises me with “Anissa’s Redemption!” I had such a book hangover afterward that it took awhile for me to come out of my literary fog.
Many times when a book I really love ends with a cliffhanger, I find myself hanging onto those last few words and images in hopes that the sequel will be written soon after so that I won’t forget all of its excitement and the feelings the writer has evoked. I worry, too, that with all the anticipation and expectation leading up to the sequel, in the end, it will fall short and leave me disappointed with the series.
This was DEFINITELY not the case with Zack Love’s sequel to “The Syrian Virgin” called “Anissa’s Redemption.” In fact, it was so much better than I ever imagined it would be and it did NOT disappoint!
In “Anissa’s Redemption”, I loved how (seemingly) effortless it was for Zack to pick up where he ended in “The Syrian Virgin” and how from the very beginning, the plot and all his characters continued to evolve and develop throughout. Zack’s intelligent writing and extensive research also continued to paint an accurate and compelling portrayal of the religious struggles caused by Syrian Civil War. But what I loved most about “Anissa’s Redemption was his brilliant ability to peel away more and more of Anissa, Michael and Julien’s "layers" to reveal their true selves and their darkest secrets before the readers’ eyes and not only make them appear more human, but more endearing as well.
In writing "Anissa’s Redemption", Zack created an exciting and quite an emotional roller coaster ride and with every twist and turn of events, he takes his readers through many surprising developments and defining moments!
Definitely a must read!