Friday, June 12, 2009

A Soldier's Family by Cheryl Wyatt


I hadn't planned on reading Cheryl's book for review (simply because my shelf is packed. :). I think I received it as a contest prize at some point, or maybe through a writer's conference. But I'd heard so many great thing about her writing (and I've become a friend through our writing circles) that I had to read it. I'm so glad I did!

Here's the back cover copy of A Soldier's Family.

On A Crash Course With Love... She was the woman of pararescue jumper Manny Pena's dreams. But he'd stuck his foot in his mouth the last time he met Celia Munoz. Now, grounded after a parachuting accident, he was desperate to make amends with the beautiful widow. But Celia wasn't having it. The last thing she needed was another man with a dangerous job--even if he had given his life to God. Yet Manny's growing commitment to her and her troubled son began to convince her that perhaps she should take her own leap of faith.

Last year, Cheryl volunteered (again?) at the ACFW conference as one of the coordinators for our meetings with editors and agents. Her calm presence made a difference, that and the fact that we'd already "met" online. I'd won a critique from her for my manuscript and the way she gently handled the interaction (always better to be gentle that first critique since you don't know where the other writer is coming from) truly blessed me. We became fast friends because I loved how her heart reflected Jesus and so appreciated her advice and wisdom.

So, what a gift to read her book and find her writing to be so delicious!

Here's my review of "A Soldier's Family" ---

Celia Munez has a reason to hold a grudge. A reason to hold onto fear and a reason to clutch unforgiveness, but this heroic heroine has this to say, at least to one of those rights:

“. . . I refuse to clench my heart around something as vile and destructive as unforgiveness.” (see pg. 199 of A Soldier’s Family)
Let’s start with the title of Cheryl’s book, shall we? Love it when a title has double meaning. Celia Munez’s husband died in the line of duty. She’s left to raise a teen-aged son. Special agent Manny Pena’s wife and son both died as well. He’s left with no one. As Manny steps in to fulfill a meaningful role in Celia’s son’s life, he is courting the soldier’s family. And if Celia ever surrenders her heart to trust again, Celia and her son can become a lonely soldier’s family.

Cheryl penned a beautiful, fast moving, sometimes light-hearted read with poignant moments and LOL breaks included. Neither her story, nor her characters lack layers, and I was pleasantly surprised more than once at an unexpected turn of events. Loved those surprises.

Being a Steeple Hill Love Inspired novel, this is a quick read, but it packs spiritual punch. I’ve met and corresponded with Cheryl on a few occasions. She has a heart of gold (if I may use a cliché). Her story demonstrates this, and I was blessed with her message(s) of hope in Jesus’ love and mercy. I believe readers will take away a fresh sense of God’s mercy and the importance of forgiveness, but mostly a new determination to trust God. Cheryl writes that her character was “stunned at the power of God to reprogram a human heart.” (see page 210) From fear to trust. Fantastically hopeful, don’t you think?

I loved her voice, prose, action, layering, characters, plot and surprises. I highly recommend this story and hope to read the rest of her Wings of Refuge series. Check it out. Visit her beautiful website at www.cherylwyatt.com


3 comments:

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Thank you for this fabulous review of my book!

I remember your story well. It was a tremendous joy to read. I can't wait to see YOUR books in print too! I KNOW I will. :-)

Hugs

Cheryl

Annette M. Irby said...

You are the best! Thank you!

Hugs,
Annette

Annette M. Irby said...

I ordered the two other books in this series today! Can't wait! Love the combination of soldiers, romance and action!

Annette