Friday, January 30, 2009

Parting the Waters by Jeanne Damoff

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeanne at a writer's conference a few years ago. We sat at the same table for a meal at some point. She was a kind breakfast companion. I'm thrilled to host her and feature "Parting the Waters" here.

Take a look at the back cover copy:

When a tragic drowning accident leaves fifteen-year-old Jacob in a coma, the faith of his family and community is shaken to its foundation. Medical experts used phrases such as “persistent vegetative state” and said, “Jacob will never wake up,” but Jacob’s parents knew God would have the final say. Without sugar-coating the realities of pain and suffering, Parting the Waters presents the heart-warming, true story of what can happen when a community rallies around one wounded family. While Jacob’s parents struggle to preserve their faith and family, the prayers and innovative efforts of community members result in Jacob’s gradual awakening. Each dramatic milestone in Jacob’s recovery creates a new ripple, touching and changing many lives forever. Told from a mother’s perspective, Parting the Waters is a poignant tale of unexpected beauty found in brokenness. Bonus feature: a “Q & A” section that fearlessly tackles issues regarding God, His love and mercy, and His divine purposes related to suffering.

Let's let Jeanne tell us about herself and her work in her own words:

Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.

I was born and raised in Dallas, TX. Graduated from Stephen F Austin State University in Dec., 1981. Double majored in social work and sociology, minored in English, and took secondary teacher’s certification in sociology and English. Married George Damoff May 5, 1979. Jacob was born May 10, 1981; Grace followed June 30, 1983; and Luke completed our family on April 18, 1985.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?

My hobbies and work overlap. I’m a writer, speaker, choreographer, musician, and photographer, and I love all of it!

What has God been teaching you lately?

God is teaching me to rest in His sovereignty and plan. Mine is to daily present my body as a living sacrifice and obey Him in the moment. His is to do everything else.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A mom.

Where are you headed next?

The grocery store. Oh, did you mean in my “career”? (Pardon me while I laugh over that concept.) Let’s see. I’m 51, and so far life has mostly been a series of surprises. God opens doors I never expect, so I just try to keep hold of His hand and let Him lead. As for what’s on my immediate horizon, in the coming months I have some interviews and speaking engagements connected to Parting the Waters. In February I’ll be traveling to Thailand for three weeks to serve as official photographer for several Women of Compassion retreats. I’m so thankful for and honored by these opportunities.

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve been writing since childhood and always felt like I was breathing my native air in English classes. I also loved teaching creative writing as an English teacher. Though I didn’t seriously pursue widespread publication before 2003, for most of my adult life I’ve been stocking a mental character file. Whenever I’d meet a quirky, obnoxious, funny, or bizarre person, I’d take mental notes. Three of those people inspired minor characters in my first (as-yet-unpublished) novel. I highly recommend the practice to everyone, even if you don’t write. It transforms otherwise unpleasant situations into fascinating encounters.

How do you find time to write?

I really admire people who work full-time day jobs and still manage to crank out books. At this point, everything I do is freelance, so I set my own schedule. If I’m in the middle of a writing project, I can devote as much time to it as necessary.

What did you enjoy most about the writing process?

Hard to say, but I do love the dance with words—knowing what I want to say and finding the perfect way to say it. The right metaphor, a certain cadence to the language, wrapping words around the ache the beauty stirs inside me. For me, language matters as much as story.

What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?

I actually enjoy all the parts—plotting, writing the initial draft, editing. Probably the hardest thing is getting focused to plunge in, no matter where I am in the process. I’m far-too easily distracted.

Winepress Publishing is a well-respected self-publishing house. Talk to me about your decision to self-publish. What drove that decision, and what has the process been like?

I started writing Parting the Waters in 2003, and even then I knew that self-publication might be the best avenue for this book. But I wanted to put it through the paces—to submit to agents and editors and get professional feedback. I’m so glad I did that! I know it’s a much better book than it would have been otherwise, and in the process I met my agent and lots of writers and editors who’ve become dear friends. We did receive serious interest from publishers, but ultimately believed God was leading us to self-publish—mostly because we expect to use this book in ministry and give away a lot of copies, and we didn’t want a publisher to take it out of print if it wasn’t selling enough.

What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?

Write as God leads. Tell the story on your heart—not the one you think will sell a million copies. Attend reputable writer’s conferences and listen to feedback from professionals, but understand that there are a lot of opinions out there, and ultimately you get to decide what works for your writing. Keep writing until God leads you to stop. The goal is obedience to Him for His glory—not publication or best-sellers or fame.

Where did you get the idea for the book?

Parting the Waters is a true story. Several years after Jacob’s accident in 1996, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to write what I was seeing God do. I didn’t want to, and for the next few years I kept giving God excuses for why I didn’t have time. Without going into detail, let’s just say He essentially removed my excuses, and I went home and wrote the first draft in two weeks.

What are the major themes of the book?

Beauty from brokenness. God’s goodness and sovereign purposes in suffering. The body of Christ. The power of community when it works as it should.

How and what is Jacob doing now?

Jacob is a precious, happy 27 year old who lives abundantly in spite of his brain injury. Though he wasn’t expected to ever awaken from coma, he walks, talks, laughs, and loves intensely. He spends his weekdays with his long-time aide, Rusty Mauldin, working with his cattle and in his garden, then comes home on the weekends. Jacob worships the Lord with the passion of a lover who is not hindered by self-consciousness. Watching him is like glimpsing eternity.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope they will realize more deeply that God loves them and is working out His plans in their lives with perfect faithfulness. Sure we suffer consequences when we make stupid choices, but many of the trials and sorrows we experience have nothing to do with punishment or a lack of faith. They are part of God’s goodness—conforming us to the image of His Son. I hope readers will meet God on the pages of our story and walk away changed by grace.

Thank you, Jeanne.

Readers, you can learn more by checking out her website:

And you can purchase her book "Parting the Waters" at

Check out her book trailer here. Jeanne's been on a blog tour all week. Check out the list of other blogs here.

Jeanne, we wish you all the best!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck

Sharon Hinck has a new fan in this reader/reviewer. I’m so glad I stumbled upon her Sword of Lyric series. Susan May Warren is right in her endorsement: Sharon has the ability to make you fall in love with a whole new genre.

Here is the back cover copy:

Plunged again into the gray world of Lyric and Hazor, Susan and Mark search frantically for their teenage son, Jake, as all signs hint that a trusted ally has betrayed them and threatens their son. Assassins and political intrigue, false leads, and near misses beset their path, which will lead them into the dark prisons of Hazor before the One's purpose is revealed.

Cast out by those he trusts and preferring to cross swords with the One rather than submit to His will, Kieran flees to enemy Hazor, only to find that the One knows no borders. Pursued by his calling, Kieran journeys to Sidian, where he finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. As he embraces the tasks the One has set before him, this new Restorer learns that the One requires his all--perhaps even his life.

And now for my review:

Sharon’s writing is so insightful, you’ll gulp at the nuggets as they rise from the prose on the page. Yummy phrases and humorous situations will gather chuckles as you read. Then, the seriousness of the situation in Lyric will compel you to turn those pages to see what will happen.

At first, you wonder if Jake, the newcomer to Lyric, has the smarts (and guts) to last in this savage land. He is the previous restorer’s son. Suddenly, he has found the portal and transferred into the foreign land, without explanation or skills to survive there for long. In the meantime, the new restorer rails against the One he doesn’t understand. Because of his past pain, he just assumes the worst of the One and rather than ask Him about His ways or heart, this restorer denies Him access to his life. But the One needs him, so let the sword fight commence. I read and reread the scene of the restorer fighting with God. Not only did Sharon skillfully portray this male character’s POV, she also brought out the heart of the One and believably, insightfully, portray their battle.

Now for the best part, how God used this to coincide with a few scenes in my life. So many elements of this story match my own—the songkeepers and their lyrics, believing in the Verses, misunderstanding God’s heart (at times), and finding freedom in the single instruction the One gave the restorer: yield.

This is a beautifully written novel, a fantastic follow-up to the first book. My husband said, you don’t always expect the second book in a series to be as good as the first. Sharon surprised us both. We each enjoyed Book Two more than the earlier one (which is amazing given our enjoyment of “The Restorer”). I highly recommend “The Restorer’s Son.”

Here's her website so you can learn more about Sharon: and her other projects.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza

Today I'm excited to feature Sharon K. Souza's second novel: Lying on Sunday.

Here's the back cover copy:

After learning that her husband died of a heart attack--in another woman's bed--Abbie is faced with a choice: She can give in to despair, or she can create a new life. Abbie does both.

As she searches for healing, Abbie fights to protect her daughters from her husband's infidelity. Then a shocking revelation threatens to undo everything she's accomplished. Will the power of the truth really set Abbie free, or is forgiveness too far out of reach?

Wow, huh?

Here's my review:

Sharon drew me right into this story and never let up. This is a chunky novel, both for length, but also themes: betrayal, grief, family dynamics, self-esteem, secrets and truth. And it’s well worth the time invested. Indeed, I could barely put it down. Like her first novel ("Every Good and Perfect Gift"), Sharon wasn't timid about tackling some tough issues.

Sharon created a very complex character, Abigail Torrington, gave her a scumbucket husband, killed him, then let us explore her myriad emotions after the fact. Those emotions were only heightened by the fact that divorce papers arrived within an hour after she learned her secret-toting husband was dead. You spend most of the book wondering if Trey (Robert A. Torrington, III) was truly the scalawag you guess he is. For the sake of hope, though, in the midst of the rest of chaos, Sharon weaved together threads of truth: the relationship truths between the leading characters, and truths about the Lord, and injected those bits at various well-calculated moments.

What I loved best about the novel was how Abbie grew as a person. Without becoming unlikable, Abbie learned how to stand up for herself and speak the truth, even when those around her wouldn’t like what she had to say. In her newfound victory, she took on the arch nemesis of all “push-overs” and prevailed!! (Read the book to see what I mean.) I cheered and read the end of that scene again!

Though Sharon tackled some tough topics, I was entertained but not burdened. I cheered for this great heroine and pondered some fantastic prose and insightful phrases every now and then. I highly recommend this sophomore offering of Sharon’s and look forward to her next novel!

Here's an interview:

1 In your previous novel, Every Good & Perfect Gift, you address the tough issues of infertility and catastrophic illness. Again, in Lying on Sunday, you've tackled a tough subject, that being infidelity. Why do you choose such tough topics?

I like to write stories that speak to women on deep and personal levels. None of us gets through this life without being affected in some form by sadness, loss, a sense of failure over one issue or another, and having been failed. I think when we know we're not the only one going through these types of situation--and it's so easy to feel that you are alone--it gives us hope that we really can come through, not necessarily unscathed, but certainly stronger and more equipped to help others.

2. Do heavy topics equal a heavy reading experience?

Definitely not. I firmly believe that pleasure reading should first and foremost be entertaining. Time is a precious commodity. I hope that readers who choose to spend some of their precious hours in the pages of my books will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

So even though I tackle tough subjects, I infuse enough humor to keep those subjects from becoming an albatross around the reader's neck. Conversely, I love to read for pleasure, but I want to take something away from the experience.

3. What would you have readers take away from Lying on Sunday?

In one day, Abbie Torrington has the underpinnings of her world knocked out from under her. Everything she thinks she knows about her marriage turns out to be false. It leaves her reeling in the aftermath. Years ago, while dealing with health issues in my own life, a close friend gave me a Precious Moments figurine entitled "Light at the End of the Tunnel." In Lying on Sunday I want to show that even with issues as devastating as betrayal there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and for me that Light, of course, is Jesus.

4. Lying on Sunday deals with the betrayal of infidelity, but are there other forms of betrayal that the book might speak to?

Types of betrayal obviously vary, but the end results can be equally devastating. Any time a trust is broken between people in relationship, someone is going to be hurt. We can either allow those hurts to hinder us, or we can allow the Lord to use them as lessons to make us better and stronger. That brings to mind the old adage "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Well, through her own devastating experience Abbie becomes a stronger, more independent person than she knew she could be.

5. Once again you've written a story with a strong and vital friendship that's central to the story. Was that coincidence or by design?

Absolutely by design. I'm all about relationships and so are my characters. Having gone through a period in my early adulthood without a close friend, I know how important friends are in our lives. In fact, I've recently reconnected with two friends from high school, one I hadn't seen in 25 years, and the other in over 30 years. But relationships between women, while vital, can be very complex. That's certainly true for Abbie. Besides her close friendship with Shawlie Bryson, she has a close relationship with one daughter and a challenging relationship with the other, mostly because of the very different emotional place these girls are in while dealing with the death of their father. Not only that, but Abbie has a strained relationship with her own mother for reasons she eventually discovers. I'm certain that women of each one of these generations will relate to one or the other of these characters, especially the woman caught in the middle, where she's both the daughter and the mother.

6. Truth is a theme you deal with extensively in Lying on Sunday. In a book that deals with betrayal, wouldn't forgiveness be a more fitting theme?

I believe forgiveness is the key to getting beyond the kind of hurt Abbie experiences - which doesn't necessarily equate to restored relationship. (In Abbie's case, of course, that's impossible anyway.) But the discovery of truth is a huge first step in the process. In any difficult situation we can choose to ignore the facts and try to keep life on an even keel. But there inevitably comes a day of reckoning. For Abbie to arrive at the desired destination, there are some unpleasant truths she must acknowledge and deal with. She's dogged by a scripture from John 8:32 that says the truth will set you free. Only she can decide whether or not she'll let it.

7. What is the most satisfying thing that comes out of your writing?

I love hearing from readers, especially those I don't know, who say my stories have touched them in one way or another, and most importantly, have helped them see more clearly how good and loving our Lord is.

8. What are you working on now, and does it continue in the style of Lying on Sunday and Every Good & Perfect Gift?

My work in progress, Unraveled, is another contemporary novel about a young woman who gives a year of her life to help teach children in Moldova, a small country in eastern Europe. While there she experiences a crisis of faith (the story ultimately deals with human trafficking). And yes, it continues in the style of my previous novels.

9. Is there anything you'd like to add?

Naturally I love to hear from readers. You can email me through my website: If you're in a book club and choose to read any of my books I'll send a complimentary book to the person who contacts me on behalf of their group. Then, after you read the book I'd love to participate in your group discussion, either by phone or in person if you're close enough for me to drive to.

Thank you, Sharon, for sharing your writing with us and this behind the scenes peek. All the best!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Billy by William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham

Today I'm pleased to feature a book about Dr. Billy Graham's early years.

Here's the back cover copy:

The remarkable true story of a young Billy Graham and his best friend who walked away from the faith.

We all know how the story ends but how did it begin? Before he became a household name, and "America's Pastor," he was simply known as Billy. When he wasn't playing baseball, he was discovering his love for Christian ministry. His best friend, Charles Templeton, was already on track to be a highly successful evangelist and the two young men began strategizing on how to win the world for Christ. That plan takes a drastic turn, however, when Templeton deserts the faith and becomes an atheist. The impact of this decision on a young Billy Graham is immeasurable and agonizing. Charles would later become the great intellectual architect for agnosticism and atheism. Billy would become the single greatest messenger for the Christian Gospel. It is one of the great untold dramas between friends - Atheism vs Christianity, betrayal and hope.

And here's my review:

“Billy” gives readers a peek into the life of a young Billy Graham as he made decisions regarding school and whom to marry. We see his response to his call, and how he overcame faith questions to become the iconic preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our generations. I already had great respect for Dr. Graham before reading the book; that respect has increased.

We also get a deep look at the life of Dr. Graham’s contemporary, Charles Templeton. This exploration of “Chuck’s” life was just as interesting as that of Billy’s. As a Christian, you grieve the fact that when Chuck had doubts (and everyone does at some point), he went to the secular “experts” for answers, rather than humbling himself before the all-wise God. You watch him struggle as a dying man against demons only he can see as he recites the story of his past with Billy Graham. You watch his pride rob his faith and leech away his joy, while derailing him from his purpose in life as a great preacher of the gospel. The story doesn’t leave you hopeless, though, where his eternal destiny is concerned. (Read the book to see what I mean.)

This novelization of the early life of Billy Graham will inspire readers, whether they are seekers or are already firmly grounded in their faith in Jesus as the Savior. “Billy” will exhort Christians to live lives of integrity and purpose. And nonbelievers will discover kinship in the real questions the two main characters faced. Readers will see how a crisis of faith ended in two different paths, and they’ll find hope to face their own turning points.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent

Jennifer won the Christian Writer's Guild's 2007 Operation First Novel contest with this book, her first published novel. That tells you something right there. (Check out the Christian Writer's Guild contest website for more information.)

Here's the back cover copy:

Jessilyn Lassiter never knew that hatred could lurk in the human heart until the summer of 1932 when she turned 13. When her best friend, Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as one of his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town. Violence springs up as a ragtag band of Ku Klux Klan members unite and decide to take matters into their own hands. As tensions mount in the small community, loyalties are tested and Jessilyn is forced to say good-bye to the carefree days of her youth. Fireflies in December is the 2007 winner of the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest.
Some of my comments:

First of all the Christian Writer's Guild is a well-respected organization for Christian writers. From my understanding, seasoned writers mentor up-and-coming writers through the program. Every year, they offer a contest to never-before-published writers. The best manuscript is chosen as the winner, followed by a cash award and a book contract with Tyndale House. So, first of all, congratulations are offered to Jennifer Erin Valent!! What a fantastic accomplishment and a great kick-off to your career as a published author.

And now, my review:

Every now and then you run into a novel that offers you a journey you join a bit reluctantly. Then, the challenge for the author is to keep you reading while some tough issues are addressed. Fireflies in December offered such a journey. And Jennifer Erin Valent takes readers through with finesse and skillful writing. The author’s depiction of a 1930’s prejudiced southern community and the activities of the Ku Klux Klan were so realistic and heart-wrenching I won’t soon forget this novel. I found myself angered and appalled a few times as I read Valent’s believable tale.

Valent’s heroine is one plucky 13 year old, always getting herself into nail-biting predicaments. Her best friend, Gemma, tries to keep her out of trouble, but usually to no avail. This makes for a fast-moving pace and a somewhat over-the-top heroine. Valent even throws in an element of romance with a character readers hope will eventually marry the lead. (Luke)

On the downside, some of the heroine’s antics seemed a bit forced, and there were times when as a reader, I fell into unbelief around some of the story’s elements (mainly in terms of the heroine’s life—like why her parents would leave her alone, ever, given the threats facing their family).

Overall, this is a story of depth. Fireflies in December will get you thinking about your own heart and whether senseless prejudices lurk there. This new voice in fiction is one to watch.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska by Irene Brand

I'm excited to highlight another Summerside Press offering, Irene Brand's Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska.

Here's the back cover copy:

What can a California girl do with a few dusty acres of land in rural Nebraska? So Kennedy Blaine wonders after she inherits a ranch in the small, western-style town of Valentine, Nebraska. As Kennedy makes arrangements to sell the property, she finds herself drawn to the ranch and to its attractive manager, Derek Sterling. She decides to spend the summer in her ancestral home and reconnect with family members. But soon Kennedy is subjected to harassment by someone who clearly wants her to leave Valentine. Depending on God's protection and Derek's assistance, she sets out to discover who is behind the offenses. But when her search reveals painful details about her family and raises questions about Derek's own past, will Kennedy still want to know the truth?

And now for my review:

Irene’s story centers on a heroine who inherits a ranch in rural Nebraska. But she is a city girl and the adjustments she has to make just to visit are not easy. She spends the summer and while there meets and befriends a ranch hand—Derek Sterling. One of the elements that Irene offers readers is a chance to watch a relationship grow throughout the story. (In other books, the romance is just getting started by the end of the novel.) She throws in suspenseful elements and gives readers a satisfying emotional climax near the end of the story. One more HEA for readers to enjoy coming from this new press. (HEA=happily ever after)

New Christian Fiction Releases for January, 2009

Here is a list compiled by Jill Eileen Smith of American Christian Fiction Writers of the new fiction releasing this month. (This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a start.) I've included some personal notes in bold:

1. Bayou Betrayal, Book 5 of the Bayou series by Robin Caroll from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a woman arrives in town to meet her relatives, an arsonist doesn't want her to stay!

2. Be Strong and Curvaceous, All About Us #3 by Shelley Adina from Hachette FaithWords. Carly Aragon's faith is tested when she takes on a crush crasher who comes accessorized with a stalker.

3. Before the Season Ends, Lights of London, Book One by Linore Rose Burkard from Harvest House. A Christian young woman must make her way through the treacherous waters of a Regency Season in London; while her worldly, wealthy aunt tries to marry her off for money. (I love the cover on this one and wanna read it. Well, okay, the cover caught my attention, but I also love wholesome Regencies.)

4. Cursebreaker, Book One of The Order of the Scrolls Series by Nancy Wentz from Whitaker House. Author Nancy Wentz's drama unfolds in both the physical and spiritual realms, treating the reader to a thrilling tale of mystery, passion, and historical intrigue. (See the Net's Book Notes review here on this blog! My husband reviewed this one for Whitaker House.)

5. Fireflies In December by Jennifer Erin Valent from Tyndale House. A young girl comes of age amidst the racial prejudice of Depression-era Virginia. (Review to follow on this blog; I'm reading this now!)

6. Hannah Grace, The Daughters of Jacob Kane by Sharlene MacLaren from Whitaker House. A new century, a new sheriff, a new love...many things are about to change in the town of Sandy Shores. (See my review of this title from 11-11-08 on this blog.)

7. Kiriath's Quest by Rick Barry from JourneyForth Books (a division of BJU Press). A YA Christian fantasy adventure that reaffirms the value of faith, family, love and loyalty.

8. Milk Money by Cecelia Dowdy from Barbour Publishing (Heartsong Presents). Can Frank find faith in Jesus, while battling alcoholism, as he seeks the love of Emily Cooper?

9. Mommy's Hometown Hero, Dalton Brothers Book 2 by Merrillee Whren from Steeple Hill. Ex-soldier Matt Dalton wants to bring his friend Rachel Charbonneau back to the Lord and win her heart as well.

10. No Place For A Lady, Heart Of The West Book One by Maggie Brendan from Revell. Can a Southern belle tame the heart of a rugged cowboy?

11. Paper Roses, Texas Dreams #1 by Amanda Cabot from Revell. There's only one problem when mail-order bride Sarah Dobbs arrives in Texas to greet her groom: he's been murdered.

12. Sweetwater Gap, (Women of Faith Fiction) by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson. A woman returns home to help save her family's apple orchard and must face the ghosts that chased her away so many years ago. (Love Denise's work!)

13. The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove Series by Ann Shorey from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. It's 1838 on the Missouri frontier--how will Molly McGarvie keep her young family together after her husband's sudden death? (This one is "on the shelf" for a review here on this blog.)

14. What Sarah Saw, Book One, Without a Trace Love Inspired Suspense continuity series by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart, but for a child's sake they must join forces to uncover what Sarah saw.

Curl up with some new fiction and enjoy! Who knows? You might even become acquainted with a new-to-you author.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Healing Waters by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn

This writing team has done it again.

They hold up a mirror for you to see yourself reflected, making the characters relatable and then show you how to get free from similar patterns in your own life. This isn't like reading fiction, it's like hearing a parable. Their Sullivan Crisp novels are life changing.

Here's the back cover copy:

Overweight, introverted Lucia Coffey has always stood outside the spotlight of her Christian celebrity sister Sonia Cabot, but when Sonia is involved in a devastating accident, Lucia is thrust into that limelight – where she makes some shocking, life-changing discoveries about her sister, her marriage, and herself. Dr. Sullivan Crisp is her guide as he, too, continues his journey of discovery. Their soul-wrenching examination of faith and suffering exacts a great sacrifice from Lucia and a no-turning-back decision for Sully.

Okay, so I didn't relate with every one of Lucia's troubles, but I saw myself in enough of them to feel her pain. I also did something I rarely do, I underlined. And not just for the sake of good prose, but for the content. This "relating with the heroine" was true of me reading their first book, too. (Healing Stones)

Dr. Sullivan Crisp, the psychologist who will walk the heroine down her healing path, is a well-painted character. His warmth, intelligence and vulnerability are striking because this book (more than the first) delves deeply into his own personal pain and the search for answers that is his quest. Readers of the first book will view the follow-up to issues touched on in book one. This quirky, God-loving character will make you chuckle even as the poignancy of his insights moves you toward understanding.

Just like Book One, this fiction transcends fictional entertainment and moves into ministry. And readers will be not only blessed, but changed as they read. That's a rarely achieved goal, but Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn excel. Bring on book three!