Orphaned Celia Coleman was raised by her conservative Christian grandmother in Dunmore, Georgia, a town that is backward, slow, and religious. Following graduation, Celia did the most awful thing (according to her extended family) that could be imagined: she went to college in another state. After rebelling and leaving home, an abortion leaves Celia riddled with guilt and disillusioned with a life of faith.
Celia works as director of an art gallery in South Carolina, collecting art and avoiding relationships Her neighbor, the once-promiscuous Bruce Healey, is disfigured by burns; author Jamie Langston Turner gives a firm twist to his story. As Celia and Bruce come to terms with their pasts, they begin to believe in the power of Godís grace and forgiveness.
While Turnerís fine writing saves some scenes, characters are engrossed in interior monologue rather than dialogue, and the narrative is marred by slow pacing, unnecessary asides, and relentless introspection. Celia and Bruce keep on telling themselves how their story would never make a good novel, prompting readers to raise the same question in their own minds. A reader will have to have stamina to slog through her latest effort. No Dark Valley does not meet Turnerís previous standards set by award-winning novels (such as the Christy Award winner A Garden to Keep). This novel proves to be a challenging read. Fans will recognize characters from Turnerís previous novels; however, this book can stand alone.