Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge

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Rene Gutteridge is known to us as one of the most creative authors of Christian fiction on the market today. She is most certainly not afraid to tackle both unusual and unexpected subjects and transform them into above average novels. Misery Loves Company is one of her more recent novels in the suspense genre, and while it is not her best book, it is mostly up to her usual standards. It is my opinion that she could have done a better job on the ending, as it was somewhat typical. However, the end of the novel does not diminish the overall heart of the story. Misery Loves Company deals with subjects such as grief, loss, anger, bitterness, secrets, truth, the pursuit of peace, reconciliation, and healing. The opening chapters of the novel introduce the reader to the main character, a blogger and struggling writer named Juliet Belleno. Juliet, or Jules as she likes to be called, recently suffered the sudden, tragic death of her husband Jason. Shortly following his death she retreated from the world and currently lives an isolated life within the walls of her home. The only people she has consistent contact with are her alcoholic father and her late husband’s friend Chris. Jules finds purpose and stability in posting a monthly book review on the latest releases by her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. However, little does she know how this habit will affect both herself, and others. One day, shortly after posting her monthly review, Jules takes a routine trip to the grocery store. An ordinary day becomes extraordinary when she runs into Patrick Reagan, the creator of her favorite novels. They talk and even go out to dinner, then, the unthinkable happens…..she wakes up in a strange home, on a strange bed, in the dark…..alone. Jules discovers that she has been kidnapped by her idol, and that he has been spying on her life for quite some time. Juliet’s father discovers her disappearance and convinces Chris to search for his daughter. Both Chris and Jules quickly discover that Patrick is an unstable man driven by grief regarding the death of his wife. Patrick believes that Jules needs his help to become a great writer, and goes to extreme lengths to prove his theory. Through a captor/captive relationship, and deep soul-searching, Jules and Patrick find that through their shared grief, they can find healing. The story does have a few unexpected twists that make the novel better as a whole. To find out what these are….read the book!;) Unfortunately, the conclusion of this book is somewhat predictable, it is almost like the author did not know where to end the story. Furthermore, it appears as though Gutteridge spent plenty of time developing the Patrick character and not enough on the Juliet character. If she had developed each character with the same dedication as she did Patrick, this would be a landmark novel. Even so, Misery Loves Company has plenty of content that a Christian filmmaker could build off of to create a great film. That being said, this novel is yet another book that would make a great Christian movie….in the right hands.


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