Lelia Freeman helps children who others have given up on. Runaways, drug addicts, and forced into a life of crime or prostitution, these children have no hope of surviving the streets. Pulling from her own experience as a runaway, Lelia saves these children from a doomed life and is rightfully dubbed “The Street Angel.” Alicia Singleton’s “Dark Side of Valor” follows Leila as she finds herself appointed to a special federal committee. In charge of saving children from a war devastated African country, Leila crosses boundaries and makes enemies in her attempt to save the children from their hellish fate.
Elijah Dune, driven by passion and a haunted past, has one mission to accomplish: vengeance on his enemies. As his history remains a mystery, his fighting skills and hunger for killing distinguishes him as a man with a dangerous objective.
These two characters cross paths as Leila is kidnapped and held hostage after uncovering disturbing facts about the true state of the children and people of Sudania. Attempting to escape the clutches of the evil and corrupt President Deng, Elijah and Lelia embark on a dangerous journey filled with messages of facing one’s fears, reconciling with the past, and forgiving one’s self. Fighting enemies and each other, these characters begin to bond over their experiences with pain and loss. Fighting to stay alive and return home, Lelia must battle her growing feelings for Elijah with her will to survive.
Singleton creates a book filled with action and romance, while concentrating on the core message: facing the darkness inside of your heart. As the reader discovers the story of Lelia’s past and pieces together the puzzle of Elijah’s mysterious vengeance, the plot continues to pick up the pace. The characters are realistic, however, I would have liked to delve more into Elijah’s past. Singleton reveals his entire life story in one paragraph, while Leila’s story fills a couple of chapters. This character development would have allowed me to bond more with Elijah and instead I felt as if I barely knew him.
Despite this one hiccup, the book satisfied my expectations. Leila embodies a strong woman not restricted by the torments of her past, yet bearing the guilt for an unfortunate accident. She deals with these issues while remaining stubborn and quick to fight for her life, regardless of her opponent. Surely a role model for any reader who has experienced pain, rejection, and abuse, Lelia paves the way for conquering the past and fear.
**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.