Thursday, July 30, 2020

Stay with Me by Becky Wade


Stay with Me by Becky Wade

Let’s begin with the summary:

A mysterious letter alluding to a secret in her parents' past brings Genevieve Woodward back to her Blue Ridge Mountains hometown, but she's also in need of a break from a high-profile career that has left her dangerously burned out and concealing a powerful secret of her own. When she wakes inside an unfamiliar cottage to find the confused owner staring down at her, she can no longer ignore the fact that she needs help.  

Sam Turner has embraced his sorrow and his identity as an outsider. The solitary, disciplined life he lives on his historic farm is the life he's chosen for himself. The last thing he wants is to rent his cottage to a woman as troubled as she is talkative. Yet, he can't force himself to turn her away right when she needs him most. 

As Genevieve researches her family's history and her and Sam's emotions deepen, they will have to let go of the façades and loneliness they've clung to and allow light to illuminate every hidden truth.  

And now, my review:

Our heroine has misplaced God in her life. She’s a celebrity among Christians, so her personal relationship with Him matters. So does her idolatry. What a great conflict.

Our hero is in hiding, of sorts. He’s avoiding dealing with a painful issue from the past, and yet trouble finds him.

This story had multiple layers. Our heroine survived a catastrophe as a child, along with a few others. So she has seen God work a miracle in her life—at close range. We visit the other players in that crisis on and off as the novel progresses. I liked this aspect.

Becky injects humor into insightful prose, which kept me busy highlighting various sections. Her descriptions help readers feel, taste, hear, experience what her characters do. So well done.

One element I felt could have used more umph was the heroine’s devotional time. She did not strike me as a student of Scriptures, but her career would demand it, ongoing. (More on this in a bit.)

Relatable, though, were the heroine’s doubts about God’s personal care of her. She keeps a sizeable secret from the world—one that could destroy her career if news got out. Because of her failure, she questions whether God is still with her, still cares, will still help her. Who hasn’t felt like that?

However, the lack of spiritual maturity did lead me to doubt her career’s apparent success. If she really doesn’t know God deeply, isn’t a student of Scripture, how could she carry out the career she’s in? Instead, she struck me as an interior decorator, or designer, without the substance she’d need to lead others. Unfortunately, her career element wasn’t believable. Especially, when we see her choice for music that will cheer her up.

I enjoyed the therapy thread. And the therapist was zany enough to bring a few chuckles.

Oh, the romance! Becky is exceptional at keeping the narrative clean but digging deep to give us a delightful romance. We feel the characters’ chemistry for each other. She gives us outstanding why-nots that keep the characters apart.

The other thread that engages readers the entire story relates with the heroine’s family of origin. This element surprised me, but again, it was engaging. You’ll have to read the story to see what I mean.

While I read this book, I interacted with a few folks in a reader’s group online. All of us loved this story. Very enjoyable! I'm looking forward to the next book in this series and hoping we learn more about the kids who survived that catastrophe.

Highly recommended!

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