Agony and ecstasy—12 months of turmoil, disaster, death, rescue, victory, and celebration
The Space Between Words
If books were food, this one would be lasagna: rich layers in one impressive dish. After surviving a Paris terrorist attack, Jessica reluctantly continues her preplanned tour of Southern France. While staying at a bed and breakfast she suffers a delayed mental breakdown. At the same time, she discovers a sewing box containing a journal from the 17th century. She and some new friends decide to trace its original owner, a Huguenot who faced overwhelming religious persecution. Jessica finds faith and healing through her unexpected journey back in time. Drama, suspense, history, and romance combine for a delicious read.
Scripture tells us King Hezekiah was a righteous, God-honoring ruler who successfully defied Assyrian aggression, but provides no details about his marriage. Isaiah’s Daughter is a fictional account of the love story between young Hezekiah and an orphaned girl adopted by the prophet Isaiah. We see young, timid Ishma blossom into Hephzibah, queen of Judah. Andrews masterfully gives the reader a sense of the rampant idol worship and wickedness of that period and brings relatable humor and depth to these Bible heroes. Scripture provides helpful historical context at the start of each chapter.
Shadows of Hope
Crisis pregnancy counselor Marissa correctly suspects her husband is committing adultery. College student Kaitlyn is pregnant. Their connection: Marissa’s husband Colin. Oblivious to their unfortunate link, Marissa and Kaitlyn become fast friends. This story illustrates how messy life can be especially when God is not central. The ending offers no easy answers or a tidy conclusion, but Marissa finds peace she’s never known as she grows closer to God. The suspense of how the women will discover their connection is the only thing that makes tolerable the characters’ frustrating cluelessness and sinful deception.
No One Ever Asked
This story revolves around three very different women: Camille Gray, the extrovert who chairs every committee and projects a seemingly perfect life; Jen Covington, new in town and struggling to adjust to motherhood with her recently adopted daughter from Liberia; and Anaya Jones, an African-American, first-time teacher at affluent Crystal Ridge Elementary School. As their lives converge, each must face unrealized prejudices and shameful secrets. The author delicately but candidly handles the important subject of racial tension and depicts Christians as realistically flawed yet striving to be more Christ-like.
Terri Blackstock’s If I Live (Zondervan, 2018) is the third and final installment in the thrilling If I Run series. It concludes the deadly cat-and-mouse game between falsely indicted Casey Cox and her best friend’s true murderer. As time runs out, Casey’s face is all over the news, making it increasingly unlikely she can elude capture. Private investigator Dylan Roberts puts his life in jeopardy when he partners with Casey to gather evidence to convict the real killer. Casey’s plucky attitude and growing faith in Christ combine to make her a particularly endearing heroine. Readers will be charmed by Casey and Dylan’s blossoming relationship and will rejoice when God gets all the glory in the end. —S.B.