In Lincoln’s Shadow

Foreword Clarion Review

A burned-out social worker and a damaged homicide detective join forces in this Christian-themed murder mystery.

The heroine of Rohn Federbush’s In Lincoln’s Shadow is Bernie Johnson, a social worker frustrated by her inability to achieve justice for the innocent children she encounters. Enter Steffen Blaine, a homicide detective dealing with his own demons, whose work may take Bernie down a new path.

Bernie and Steffen’s first meeting is interrupted when the detective is called in to investigate the suspicious death of an elderly woman. Bernie tags along for what turns into an impromptu training session on investigative practices. She realizes that the dead woman is the grandmother of a child that used to be on her caseload, and that her insights might help to unravel the circumstances behind the woman’s death. As Steffen and Bernie continue their investigation, they realize that, much like the case they are working, their relationship might be much deeper and more complex than they originally anticipated.

Chapters are tightly written and fast-paced, with deft switches between Bernie and Steffen’s perspectives.

Character development veers toward the formulaic: Steffen is the homicide detective with a dark personal history; Bernie is the social worker who achieves eternal do-gooder status. Still, there are sparks of originality about them.

Steffen has a quirky habit of quoting Abraham Lincoln when stressed, a trait that distinguishes him from your average dark and twisted investigator. Bernie’s keen eye for investigation marks her as sharper than is expected of hopeless optimists.

The book has its share of action and conflict, but the language often seems a bit too formal. The premise of In Lincoln’s Shadow is intriguing, and the romance that develops between Steffen and Bernie is sweet. Still, there are some execution issues that compromise the story’s believability. The idea that an investigator would bring a woman he just met to a potential crime scene is particularly far-fetched. So, too, are the revelations that Bernie provides from her social-work files.

A great loss is handled rather quickly, and the novel’s sharp turn from mystery to domesticity is confusing.

The strong Christian undertones of the story, which at times overshadow the plot, come across as a bit heavy-handed, particularly since there are no early hints that In Lincoln’s Shadow belongs to a religious genre. The novel has plenty of potential, though its language and particulars could use some refinement.

In Lincoln’s Shadow features interesting characters and a strong message of hope and redemption. It would be best enjoyed by fans of Christian fiction, especially those for whom mysteries and light romance are appealing.


Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

North Parish

4.0 out of 5 stars A Tender Historical Romance, February 19, 2014
This review is from: North Parish (Kindle Edition)
Ordinarily I don’t read historical romances, but the free sample of “North Parish” (thank-you Amazon) could make me a fan. I found the book’s regional history as fascinating as its characters. A young blonde Indian, a beautiful girl, a missionary bishop with a secret yen for the girl –– these and others really kept me reading until I got to the end of the book. It didn’t disappoint. The author weaves a lovely young romance into an early period of authentic American history.

5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the moccasins of Early Michigan Native Americans, April 15, 2014
By Jean Scheffler “jscheff1” (Trenton, MI United States) – See all my reviews
This review is from: North Parish (Kindle Edition)
A beautiful, peaceful, soulful, historical romantic tale. Follow the young, intelligent Dorothy as she embarks on a tumultuous trip as a cook for a group of men from Fort Detroit deigned to explain the US government’s latest land treaty to several Midwest Indian tribes. Feel the blue water push against your paddle as Dorothy & her new love Parish navigate through the pristine beauty of the Great Lakes. Smell the pine needles and the aroma of biscuits and bacon in the early morning breakfasts Dorothy adeptly creates for the men. Feel the young love grow as these two lovers face obstacles,tragedy and joy in a world of great hardships and awe inspiring beauty.

5.0 out of 5 stars Historic Love Story Has Great Appeal, March 4, 2014
This review is from: North Parish (Kindle Edition)
North Parish by Rohn Federbush was a wonderful read, thoroughly researched and beautifully written—almost mystical. I knew nothing about this period of American history—the time when powwow agreements from seven tribes around the Great Lakes were secured for the building of the Erie Canal. I fell in love with this 1817 historical romance and its characters. Young Dorothy and Parish North are very believable and their love story is sweet and satisfying. There are some great secondary characters. The novel offered a unique perspective on history and enhanced the overall story. I would highly recommend it.

Salome’s Conversion

This is one of the most unique formats I’ve seen in a book, to date. Because Jesus happens to be a character in the book, Ms. Federbush uses red font whenever His name is mentioned, and also for all of His dialogue, just like in the Bible.

I have always liked any story that involves Salome, and this one is no different. As in the Bible, it starts with Salome’s dance for King Herod on the night John the Baptist is beheaded, then proceeds through the three years she follows Jesus in His ministry, until His crucifixion and resurrection. Yes, we know what happens through much of the book, but Ms. Federbush has added the details to Salome’s life in a credible way that brings her to life for the reader, as she never has been before. Federbush gives Salome good reasons for the things she does, and appropriate consequences follow. Her thought processes and emotions fit very well within the circumstances already set forth scripturally. The same holds true for Decius, the Roman soldier who rescues her, and become her love interest.

There is one thing that jumps out at me throughout my reading: Mary Magdalene was depicted as the Mary who was Lazarus and Martha’s sister. Maybe I’m the only one, or maybe I haven’t connected the dots like everyone else, but I never thought of Mary Magdalene in this way before. It does, for the sake of the story, tie everything together neatly. That element is easily overlooked, allowing enjoyment of the rest of the story.

This book provides a new and entertaining way to learn from the teachings of Jesus. If you like to read Biblical fiction, then you will enjoy Salome’s Conversion.

Author Deborah M. Piccurelli

Rohn Federbush uses Biblical truths to help feed her fertile imagination, and the charming results are a story of “what might have been.”Ms. Federbush has a unique way with words that captures the reader’s attention and refuses to let go. Her description of Salome, infamous dancer of the seven veils, vividly transports the reader to a different place in a different time. If you have ever wondered about the “story behind the story,” this book will quench your thirst in a most delightful way. Salome’s soul-searching and her eventual conversion provide a fitting finale for this beautifully woven love story.Author Muncy Chapman

Reviewer’s Bookwatch: March 2012
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575

Burroughs’ Bookshelf

In ancient Palestine, a place to belong was still yearned for. “Salome’s Conversion” is a historical novel of ancient Palestine, as Rohn Federbush creates a tale of Salome, daughter of Herod and the guard who brought her to Jesus of Nazareth and their journeys under the guidance of Jesus. A different perspective on Christ from his early converts, “Salome’s Conversion” is a fine pick for fans of Biblical fiction.

John Burroughs

Foreword Clarion Review


Salome’s Conversion
Rohn Alice Federbush
ISBN: 978-1-4664-0138-9
Five Stars (out of Five)

Salome has long been viewed as one of the bad girls of the Bible. The seductive dance she performs before her stepfather, Herod Antipas, resulted in his pronouncement that she could have anything she wanted. At the urging of her mother, Herodias, Salome requested the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and Herod gave the command to have him beheaded.

In Salome’s Conversion, Rohn Alice Federbush presents Salome in a much different light. According to his story, Salome is deceived about the true purpose of the dance, and she is given alcohol before she begins. Herodias had also forced her to wear a costume that would slash her legs and inflict pain with every movement. Decius Invictus, the Roman soldier assigned to guard Salome, rescues her and they escape into the night with her maid. The story then focuses primarily on the physical and spiritual journeys of Decius and Salome.

As a royal runaway, Salome finds refuge at the home of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Decius encounters Jesus and soon becomes a follower, but Salome struggles to believe in Jesus as the Christ. As Decius becomes more involved with Jesus’ inner circle, he and Salome witness many of the scenes readers may recognize from the Bible. Even after the crucifixion of Jesus, Salome remains uncommitted in her belief.

Federbush weaves a credible narrative. Though the author does take liberties with biblical accounts, this does not detract from a story that is, after all, intended as fiction. Two aspects of the book become somewhat annoying, however. First, Federbush always puts the name of Jesus in red type. This does not add any substance to the text; it only creates an awkward break in the flow of the words. Readers are sure to be puzzled at the author’s purpose.

The second problematic aspect of the book, one that’s even more distracting than the first, is Federbush’s insertion of biblical passages into the dialogue. Characters who have been speaking in modern English are suddenly speaking the English of the King James Bible. Paraphrasing the passages into modern language would have conveyed the intent more effectively.

In spite of these minor flaws, Salome’s Conversion introduces an interesting twist on a familiar biblical story. The author uses strong dialogue, solid character development, and a well-structured plotline to produce an intriguing and entertaining novel.

Jeff Friend

Ken Bliss

“Salome’s Conversion” is a beautiful rendition of the Gospel as seen through the eyes of Salome, the step-daughter of Herod, and her Roman guard, Decius. Their story intertwines with that of Jesus and the Apostles to give insight into Hebrew and Roman life at the times and the affect the Lord had on the day to day affairs of the people. Quotes from the King James Version of the bible in the narrative gives the story a classic feel.

Captivating Biblical Fiction
C. Barratt

Salome, the innocent daughter of King Herod needs a place of refuge. Decius Invictus is the only man courageous enough to help. Thus Salome and Decius embark on an adventure that will take them places neither expected. But can a young woman of royal lineage cast aside doubts and class boundaries and accept the love of Decius and the Lord whom he serves?

Sprinkled with historical detail and biblical findings “Salome’s Conversion” is an intriguing, inspiring read that will leave readers with a deeper understanding of Christ’s saving love.

(I received this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Salome’s Conversion

This fictional portrayal of intigue and romance intertwines with the true story of Jesus Christ’s ministry and crucifixion. ‘Salome’s Conversion’ is full of twists and turns and will keep you spell bound until the last page. A great read.