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In literature, we have witnessed numerous titles that have made waves through the industry and resonated with audiences on a deeper level. These titles truly exemplify the beauty of writing, for they deliver the author’s intuition and perspective and help audiences self-reflect and experience immersion.

If comprehension was a canvas and compelling writing was the paints and brushes, such books can be truly defined as a “masterpiece.” One book in particular is being revered as “peak fiction” by audiences. It is a story that combines drama, thriller, and romance.

We’re talking about none other than author Patricia Skipper’s classic, the Deceptive Calm book.

Let’s dissect this book and understand why it’s such an iconic tale that is loved by audiences worldwide.

The Plot

In the Deceptive Calm book, the story takes place in the chaotic backdrop of 1968. It was a time when martial law was declared in South Carolina, and America’s great leaders, John F. Kennedy and Sir Martin Luther King Jr., were assassinated. In particular, it was a challenging period to be Black. Delving into the story, we meet Vanessa, a stunning light-skinned beauty who lives in a Catholic orphanage for Black folk. Vanessa’s fate meets a series of unfortunate events as the innocent soul survives a Ku Klux Klan attack, a back alley abortion, and the death of a nun who reared her.

Amidst the trauma, Vanessa’s destiny stands at a crossroads as she obtains the birth certificate of a deceased White baby and uses this document to assume the child’s identity. Vanessa decides to leave her old life behind and start anew by moving to California and enrolling at UC Berkeley under her new name. And soon, her life begins to change for the better. Vanessa dazzles in her professional life in the newsroom and is wedded to one of California’s wealthiest families. It seems her life is finally heading toward its “happily ever after.”

But you know what they say, “You can run away from your past, but you can’t hide.”

With the birth of her first baby, Vanessa’s façade begins to crack. Her baby is diagnosed with a sickle cell trait, which is a condition that mainly affects Black individuals. Her ruthless husband begins to plot revenge, but Vanessa and her baby survive. The following police investigation seems pretty straightforward until a young detective uncovers some clues about Vanessa’s private life.


One of the reasons Deceptive Calm resonates with audiences on a deeper level is that Patricia incorporates many of her personal experiences into the book. Growing up in South Carolina, she witnessed the extent of how the Black community was being discriminated against. The themes related to racism in the book are a manifestation of Patricia’s testimonies. Patricia has lived through the morbid era of 1968 and has accurately portrayed the atmosphere in the book.

Patricia has poured her heart into the story, giving audiences not just a book but a hallmark of writing compelling fiction. Author Patricia Skipper has an impressive portfolio, winning numerous Addy Awards and accolades for her television commercial writing. She has also obtained a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism.

Love Story Among the Chaos

Another captivating element of the book is the underlying theme of love. In the earlier part of Vanessa’s life, we see her in a romantic relationship with Barry. The two star-crossed lovers and their interactions are contagious, giving us a glimpse of how, even in the darkest of times, it’s love that shines through and heals. However, love isn’t so simple; it is filled with pain, confusion, and hardship. Barry and Vanessa find their fair share of hurdles in this narrative. The line between adventure and recklessness is blurred, and soon, Vanessa finds herself expecting Barry’s child. Unfortunately, this news leads to a falling out in their relationship, leading to an abortion. A sense of longing persists after the relationship dissolves, and we’re left wondering, will we ever see the two get back together?

You Can’t Run Away From Your Past

However, Patricia’s ability to marry a romantic narrative with a drama/mystery thriller flavor is where the story shines. Throughout the book, the story’s main antagonist seems to be Vanessa and her past, which adds a deeper layer to the narrative. We all have regrets in life, and we wish to start anew, somehow, in some way. The Deceptive Calm book helps us realize that the key to finding happiness is not to run away from your past but to embrace who you truly are.

The question is, will Vanessa be able to reveal her true identity to the world? And, if so, what will the consequences be?

Only one way to find out.

Deceptive Calm is now available on Amazon.

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