Full disclosure: This book was written by an acquaintance of mine. So basically, if I didn't like it, I would've just not reviewed it. That being said, I'm relieved that I liked it, so no real conflicts here, people.
A real good, gripping read. Kept me interested through the whole thing. It was nice to be compelled to read, after slogging through Anne Bronte last week.
Jackson has a gift for modern dialogue, moving seamlessly between spoken dialogue, text messages, and cell phone conversations in a way that's engaging, natural, and not forced at all. I'm a little peeved by modern writers who somehow forget the invention (and pervasiveness) of the cellphone in their stories...
She also has a gift for writing Oregon (particularly Wealthy Oregon) in a way that only a native could. As a local native, I can really relate with her locales and geography. I'm not sure whether a non-portlander would appreciate all the detail, but she's really got her locations down and well-described.
The characters? I found several of the characters to be interesting and complex, but our poor heroine seems a bit lost. She's kind of a wilting Bella Swan with so many strong, strapping males distracting and confusing her. Now, I'm not the type that requires ALL my female characters to be "Strong Female Characters (TM)", but our heroine Amy was a bit more of Emily Bronte's Catherine than Anne Bronte's Helen. (can I make a Bronte reference? they're on my mind...)
The book is a little heavy on the religious overtones, but shouldn't be a problem for open-minded folk. I do tend to see things through the lens of my own belief (and since I know the author, hers as well), so I'm not sure if I'm qualified to be real critical of the religiosity of the book. That being said, if you complain about the religious overtones of the Twilight series, don't read this one. This is doubly so.
...and of course, the ending of the book invites a sequel, but I think I'll disagree with the several other people I've talked to that have read it, and suggest that it doesn't NEED a sequel. The story stands alone on its own merits. Since I understand that Brooke does not have plans for a sequel, but would entertain the notion, I'd suggest that Brooke only write further with these characters if they have something new to say. If they do, wonderful.
One caveat to this book-- I understand that there is a whole genre of "Angel Fiction" out there. I've never read any of these books, so I don't know how or if Marked by Glory compares. I'm a little afraid that I may have to add it to my List of things that are inexplicably a genre.
(current List of Things that are Inexplicably a Genre [and somehow suck even more because of it])