Originally Posted at Bibliophile's Retreat by Melissa Meeks
Bethany House (October 1, 2008)
I first found Sharon when I read The Restorer many months ago. I also still have a few of her subsequent works in my pile to read but I was drawn to this particular book based on the premise presented in the blurbs I saw about it. Somehow what could become a difficult and painful story is turned around to a narrative full of hope, growth and life despite the obstacles and struggles in Penny’s path. While she fights many of the tools and resources intended to help her through the aftermath of witnessing a convenience store robbery and nearly becoming the 3rd casualty simply because of bad timing, she also decides to launch her own acts of kindness project with the hope it will help her emerge from her increasing isolation at home.
Shortly before this event that turned her world upside down and inside out, Penny moved halfway across the country from her familiar surroundings with family nearby because of her husband’s new vocation as a Navy Chaplain. Shortly after this earth shattering experience, her husband has shipped out on his first deployment leaving Penny to navigate a very different life as a single parent (at least while he is on duty), find a way past the struggles precipitated by her traumatic experience and face other surprises and questions in store for her and her family during his absence. Will her attempts at solving things on her own finally bring her to a place of relying on God and willingness to ask for support and help from those around her while also making connections within their new community? Can Penny find a way to reclaim life and hope and a sense of security for herself before it destroys her son’s trust and security as well?
Be sure to read Sharon’s emotional narrative of a life shattered by one uninvited experience that buries hope and crushes a family’s sense of safety in the world beyond their own front door. Penny, Lydia, Dr Marci, Barney, Bryan and the other characters in Penny’s new community each bring insights and growth to Penny’s journey on the road of processing her experience and the resulting emotional collapse. Despite the darkness of many of the events in this story, both the title and the tone maintain a resilience and hopefulness that is all too rare in addressing circumstances and subject matter that beg for such an approach. (ISBN# 9780764202834, 320pp, $13.99)