“Awful, horrendous things happen to unsuspecting people every day. There is just no way around it.”

A Light in the Dark has likable and relatable main characters, Sabrina and her fiancé Dez. The story focuses on how their lives change following the kidnapping and rape of Sabrina. The story is told alternately from both Sabrina’s and Dez’s perspectives.
While a difficult subject to explore, the story is written in such a way that it is easy to read. I found both Sabrina’s and Dez’s stories to depict authentic struggles and emotions.

I appreciate that the author took into consideration that Sabrina was not the only one who was a victim of her assailant’s actions. This story has given me a better appreciation for the struggle of survivors and their loved ones. The ending leaves me feeling hopeful.”


“A Light in the Dark is the debut novel of Maria K. Benjamin and it has a compelling story with some problems along the way. The story is about a brutal kidnapping of a woman and her following struggle to regain a normal life along with her fiancé. It’s told in the third person but it follows both points of view. The beginning is gripping and the author is very honest about the violence, the challenges and the emotions the characters have to endure, and it being a story of struggle and recovery, I believe the author made a bold choice to tell it. The fear and the sense of loss, the anger and the sense of disbelieving conveyed by the story makes you want to continue and be with these characters along the very difficult path ahead.
Nevertheless, the story becomes a little repetitive and the narrative becomes very slow after a certain point, not because the recovery is necessarily slow but because it loses itself in a kind of unnecessary feel-goodness. The characters become more flat and the range of emotions you would expect them to experience is greatly reduced. They are all good, all understanding and the story moves all to softly to a cliché ending. The narrative tells how all is well and does not show it, and a really difficult struggle (that the author tries hard to show it and is successful sometimes in showing it) becomes a little shallow. It’s a difficult story to tell, and I commend the author for choosing it, but by focusing in clichés and easy emotions it does not ring very true in the end.


“A Light in the Dark” is an excellent debut novel. To me, the first word that comes to mind is haunting. It grabs a person and doesn’t let go. This is not your typical crime novel; Benjamin goes around expected perimeters and makes the focus on the psychology of all those effected instead. A daring move for a first book, but it paid off in spades.
Just a few days in a person’s life can change everything. Sometimes, how to deal with a terrifying ordeal can be just as difficult as getting through it. That is something I’d not really thought about before, how it’s not over with when the crime is over and the victim survives. Trying to find a new normal and stay afloat can take everything you have, like it did for the main character Sabrina. How do you keep going when you feel like a stranger to yourself after surviving a horrific abduction?
Keep the tissues handy because it very well may bring you to tears a few times. It did for me. Just very well done, Benjamin writes as though this were her tenth book, not her first. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.


An ordinary work day that began like any other–and suddenly the lives of Sabrina and Dez are changed forever by Sabrina’s abduction. The aftermath of the abduction and the complexities of rebuilding their relationship make this a great love story of commitment to one another.

I fell in love with these characters. And their strength and determination made me want to keep reading to see them through the process of rebuilding their lives. The author did a great job with the subject matter of PTSD and its aftermath.