Thursday, February 19, 2009

CFBA Presents Tender Grace by Jackina Stark

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tender Grace

Bethany House (February 1, 2009)


Jackina Stark


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!


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 Review: This book really touched me in a way that I didn't see coming. Audrey Eaton has lost her husband through an unexpected death and in that she's also lost herself. I so identified with Audrey. Like Audrey I also have lost my husband, but not to death, to another woman. Like Audrey mourning her husband's passing I have been mourning the loss of my husband, the man he was, our marriage, and all the dreams we had planned. What really caught me off guard was in the book was as Audrey took off on her trip from Missouri to the coast of California she begins to remember all of the wonderful memories that her and Tom have had over the course of their 31 years together. This is where the book got hard for me, I haven't wanted to remember the memories of the past 23 yrs, yet like the still small voice in the book "Do You want to get well?" God was speaking to me and letting me know that while what was happening to me right now, the divorce, was not fun or right, remembering the memories we had shared over the years, the good times was healthy and healing. Audrey finds God's grace through reading the book of John from her husband's Bible, and the self-discovery of herself along the way. While the book dealt with a difficult subject matter, it did have a lot of fun parts as well. At the beginning of the book when Audrey decides to take a trip across country to visit an island off the coast of San Diego a place her and her husband Tom had planned on going but had not had a chance to visit together, I knew exactly what island it was. I have lived in San Diego for good portion of my life and know the area well. Not only have I been to the Coronado Island, and stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado with Kent, there is a park on the island that I use to take my children to when Kent's ship would leave 32nd street Naval station. The Coronado Park has the best view for the kids to be able to wave good-bye. Reliving those memories were balm to an open wound. The book does take an unexpected turn that I can't tell you about because it would spoil it! I also have to add that I will never read the book of John, which is my favorite book in the Bible the same way ever again! This is definitely a must read, I guarantee it will give you hope no matter what you're going through! I give it a lighthouse and shine a light on it for lighting a path to God!


lilac grandma said...

Sounds like a wonderful book!

SmilingSally said...

I loved this book too and wrote my review of it. You did an awesome job. Congratulations on your CFBA Blog Tour award.

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