The coronavirus challenged compassion-providing ministries in new ways
The Joy of Falling by Lindsay Harrel: Two recently widowed young women set out to complete an ultramarathon in scenic New Zealand to memorialize their late, adventure-seeking husbands, who 15 months prior died together in a scuba diving accident. While struggling through the physical pain of training for and running a 155-mile race, the sisters-in-law also struggle with grief over lost life and love: Eva creates an idol out of her deceased husband and fears moving on, while Angela settles into anger toward her husband for leaving her to raise their three children alone. When new love interests enter the story, the women must work through how to let go of “how things should have been” to embrace the beauty that is.
The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren: When a girls-only mountain-climbing trip turns disastrous on Denali, former CIA psychiatrist Jenny Calhoun comes face-to-goggled-face with Orion Starr, a former rescue paratrooper who nearly lost his life in Afghanistan thanks to her misjudgment. He and two other former military guys show up just in time to rescue her and her two friends. Starr doesn’t know about the role Calhoun played in the Taliban ambush that nearly destroyed him. He simply knows her as “the one who got away.” In temperatures of 30 below zero, the spark that burned brightly between them on base reignites, but an avalanche of snow and cold, hard truth threatens to smother all hope for a future together. Warren’s suspenseful writing puts readers on edge and a surprise ending begs for Book 2.
Children of the Stars by Mario Escobar: It’s 1942 and young Jewish brothers Jacob and Moses Stein are on their own in Nazi-occupied Paris. After narrowly escaping a terrifying roundup that drove their temporary caretaker to suicide, the boys embark on a perilous journey to reunite with their loving parents, well-known German playwrights who have been working to find a haven for their endangered family. Along the way, the boys face setbacks that threaten their hope, but they also find warmth and renewed strength in the selflessness of strangers who risk their lives transporting, caring for, and protecting the brothers from Nazi capture. Escobar’s story beautifully displays the sacrificial love to which Christ calls His people: It may spark hope in readers who find themselves in seemingly impossible situations.
One Little Lie by Colleen Coble: Button’s dad told her gently but urgently, “Honey, the baby died. We have to get out of here,” as bullets whizzed by and their cult’s compound went up in flames. Fifteen and weak, having just given birth, the news of her newborn son’s death killed her last bit of fight. Fifteen years later, with her past as Button buried, Jane Hardy emerges as Pelican Harbor chief of police. She has a kidnapping and a string of murder cases on her hands, with clues pointing to her dad’s involvement and a Christian filmmaker following her every move. First in a series, this fast-paced romantic suspense novel is both surprising and predictable. Coble dangles bait for Book 2, due out September 2020, but this book could stand alone.