Friday, September 3, 2021

Love and the Silver Lining by Tammy L. Gray

Love and the Silver Lining by Tammy L. Gray

I’m a fan of this author! She weaves together memorable stories that are engaging and keep me longing for reading breaks throughout my day.

Let’s begin with the summary:

This disaster may be just what she needed.

Darcy Malone's dreams of mission work are dashed on the eve of fulfilling them: The Guatemalan school she was going to teach at has closed, and she's already quit her job and given up her apartment. Stuck in her worst-case scenario, Darcy accepts an unexpected offer to move in with Bryson Katsaros's little sister, despite the years of distrust between her and Bryson, the lead singer in her best friend Cameron's band. But as she meets those close to Bryson, Darcy quickly discovers there is more to him than just his bad-boy persona.

Needing to find a purpose for all her sudden free time, Darcy jumps at the chance to care for and train a group of unruly dogs, with the aim of finding each a home before their bereaved owner returns them to animal control. But it's Darcy herself who will encounter a surprising rescue in the form of love, forgiveness, and learning to let go.

And now, my review:

This story is written in first person, present tense, which I love. Our heroine is a little blind. She’s unaware of her best friend’s crush, though readers will see it right away.

I loved this heroine’s gift for training and relating with dogs. She’s very competent. Lots of symbolism ensues with her efforts on behalf of the animals she tends.

One of the themes is how God answers prayer. Sometimes the end of our world turns into a new beginning—a place we belonged all along. For example, she thought her destiny was extreme poverty, but she ends up living in a very nice condo. (see summary above) Again, symbolic of a very generous and compassionate God who may surprise us with abundance even while we’re aiming for the bare minimum.

Our heroine’s goals are religious, but misguided. She thinks she’s doing the right thing, but hasn’t really asked God if it is. Excellent layering. Readers will relate because people are often motivated by what they think they’re supposed to do, or they’re motivated to choose the least glamorous option because others will more likely approve. But sometimes we fail to account for our God-given gifts. Readers will recognize hers.

Something else motivates her: avoidance. But she won’t have a choice in whether or not to face what she’d rather avoid.

Another area where this author excels is her ability to express male POV. We have Bryson and Cameron in this story, and yet they feel like different people. We’re never in their POVs, but we see them, we get them, nonetheless. Very well done.

An additional theme was that of trying to manipulate God into giving us the answer we want through good behavior.

With all of these insightful layers, you’d think the romance would suffer. It does not. Very well done.

The band elements, the music scenes, were so well written. It’s difficult to take readers into a concert, but this author does it very well. Readers are immersed.

By far my favorite novel this year. So enjoyable. I didn’t want it to end, but I couldn’t wait to indulge in reading another chapter whenever I got the chance.

Highly recommended!