Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Review - Tender Grace


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tender Grace

Bethany House (February 1, 2009)

by

Jackina Stark



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I have also spoken nationally and internationally at many retreats and seminars and enjoy running into many readers and former students. I have written frequently for both Christian Standard and Lookout, periodicals of Standard Publishing. Years ago I wrote two non-fiction books, published by College Press, but currently out of print. These days, I’m exploring fiction. My first novel, Tender Grace, will be released by Bethany House January 30, 2009, and a second, Things Worth Remembering, will be released in October, 2009. I’m working on new projects, including a third novel, as time permits. Whether speaking or writing, I love the opportunity to tell about Him whom Jesus called “Holy Father” and “the only true God.”

She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, and she spends most of her free time doing is reading and writing. That is what she usually do when she's not teaching, enjoying the children and grandchildren, or sitting on the back porch drinking a Diet Coke and watching her husband till the garden!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Audrey Eaton awakes at three in the morning and gets up to retrieve her husband, Tom, from the recliner where he has fallen asleep watching a ball game. But when she enters the living room and looks at his gentle face in the soft lamp light, she knows their time together is over. Grief attacks her until all she can think about is how much she wants her old life back. Determined to find healing, she embarks on a journey to the one place Tom and she always intended to visit but never did. Along the way, she discovers, through shared experiences with friends old and new, the meaning of the "tender graces" God provides each and every day.

I've quit reading--even bestsellers, even the newspaper, even my Bible. I've also quit listening to music. This lack of appreciation for things I once loved is beginning to define me. More mornings than I can count, I say to myself before I open my eyes, "I don't want to do this." In the days shortly following Tom's death, that made sense, but what does it mean now? That I'm in trouble? One of the best qualities of the former me was thankfulness. As I was trying to sleep last night, needing Tom to be curled up behind me, his left arm slung across me, I realized to my horror that I couldn't remember the last time I was truly thankful. I think of a line from an old hymn: "Awake, my soul, and sing." I miss Tom. I also miss me. Determined to find healing, Audrey Eaton embarks on a trip to the one place she and her husband always intended to visit but never did. When things don't go as planned, will she embrace the unexpected graces that guide her journey?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tender Grace, go HERE

MY THOUGHTS:
This is a wonderful story with a beautiful title. When I began reading the first dozen or so pages I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to like it. I felt as if I were plodding through it and there was no energy. As I kept going, though, I realized that my feelings were not the result of a poorly written book, but just the opposite: Jackina (pronounced like China) Stark perfectly captured what Audrey's days were like as she indeed was plodding through them with no energy, overwhelmed in her grief over her husband's death. As she sets out on her trip with her husband's Bible as her only companion, she discovers hope & a reason to embrace life again within the pages of the gospel of John. When she encounters unexpected obstacles, circumstances, and opportunities on her trip, she discovers that God's mercies are new every morning and His tender graces are more than enough to see her through.


Happy Reading


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2 comments:

Lisa writes... said...

I too have read this book and like you thought it started a little slow but as the story progressed I really, really liked it!

Mel said...

Wow that sounds like a beautiful book, I connected with the little bit you posted.