Book Review | Undetected by Dee Henderson

Bethany House | 2014

Dee Henderson is currently one of the most popular writers of Christian Fiction, so I assumed from the beginning this would be a good read. I’ve even seen a review of her work stating that it’s so good “Even the British like it!” (Apparently we’re hard to please when it comes to Christian fiction). As a Brit reviewing this book, that remark remained with me as I read and I can conclude that, if I can represent my nation, then yes, the British like it!

Henderson is known for quality suspense writing with a twist of romance. However, I would ‘warn’ her fans from the outset that in this novel she reverses this formula, writing a romance with a twist of suspense and action toward the end. The focus of Undetected is very much the wooing of genius Gina Gray, a 20-something reeling from the break-up of a significant relationship, who arrives back to the naval base where her brother is stationed to work on some research ideas that would revolutionise submarine warfare. Determined to be married, yet also filled with fear and self-doubt, she finds herself designated a national security asset as she works alongside the US Navy on a project that will prove both exciting and dangerous for her submariner brother and those who work alongside him.

Those individuals include the male protagonist Commander Mark Bishop and sonar operator Daniel Field. Both are likeable (although at times a little stereotyped) godly men who excel in what they do and take seriously both their military duties and their desire to woo – and win – Gina Gray.

The naval setting and science of the book was intriguing and even had me reading articles on submarine warfare and sonar technology so I could establish what was fact and fiction! Whilst I was unable to confirm whether the book was accurate or not, it felt for the most part very believable, the characters intelligent and likeable, and the story interesting enough that I wanted to keep coming back to finish it. Henderson deals with some of the ethical questions surrounding nuclear weapons and develops the characters effectively, giving weight to the struggles and insecurities of Gina Gray as she finds herself stretched by her own capabilities and the pressure of being caught between two very eligible males. The political circumstances are relevant and there is no graphic violence or sex, which makes it what I call a ‘safe’ read.

If I must mention a downside to this book, my reason for hesitating on a ‘five star’ review would be that I didn’t entirely enjoy the courtship process described in the book. Obviously dating and relationships are topics about which everyone has their own opinion as to what they should/could look like, which often change as we grow in God and life experience. There is nothing categorically wrong with the story Henderson writes - it just doesn’t fully line up with my ‘ideal’, and, at times, I found myself a little disappointed (although in all likelihood her version is probably more realistic than my ‘ideal’!).  With that said, I give this book an 8.5/10 and recommend it for anybody looking for a light, ‘suitable for all ages’, enjoyable romance.

Undetected is available from Amazon.

Used by permission. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc. Available from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.