Every once in a while I'll read a book outside my genre, and Take A Stand fits the bill. I've never read a Christian fiction book before - I didn't even know the category existed until recently!
Two major story lines are running concurrently. In one, Christians are being persecuted and in the second, we are privy to the growing love between Sean and Emma.
The interesting thing about this book, Sean is a single-minded ex-Marine with a hot temper. He says he doesn't like playing games in relationships, then sneaks out of his best friend's house for days and ignored his calls - with a smile on his face. He's oblivious about being exactly what he dislikes! When you add all his faults together, it should make for a one-dimensional, boring main character that you can't stand - yet it's the complete opposite in this story. Sean is my favorite character! I really cared about what happened to him.
Bandusky's writing is well done. It seemed a little bogged down in some areas because I wanted to read faster than my brain could go. It was a suspenseful story - I read it in two days.
Despite my disagreeing with Sean's views, it was easy to read. He thinks Jesus is the only way, for every single person, as a path to salvation and he literally says it's the truth like a tree is a tree - a narrow-minded view with no room for other's views. The irony is that he then fights the government after a law is passed that Christians cannot own bibles or talk about their beliefs in public. (Or in private for that matter but I don't want to give too much away.)
Sean has to decide when and where to take a stand, not sure who's with him or how far they'll go for their beliefs. He's fighting a secret organization telling him what's right and what to think just as he tells others the same.
The irony adds an extra dimension to the story because Sean is so adamant and self-righteous, but so is the secret organization.
The highlight of the story for me is the relationship between Sean and Emma as well as Sean and his best friend.
Actually, it's delightful to read Sean's interactions with anyone because you just don't know how this guy is going to act!
I won't say anything about the end because it'll give it away but I will say these characters stay with you.
Here's my biggest complaint: There are certain things you don't do in my preferred genre (cozy mysteries) that Bandusky did. Why would I be unfair about applying rules of one genre to another? Simply because it was completely unnecessary. It was tacked on and the novel would have stood just fine without that one sentence. (Spoiler: She kills animals but not in a detailed way. They're in the wrong place and the wrong time. The book would have been fine without it.)
I recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense.