Audrey's dream if finally coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband Grant are turning their family home into a bed and breakfast near Langhorne, Missouri. The opening weekend celebration is interrupted by the arrival of their youngest, Landyn. She has just driven from New York with a U-Haul. Chase, her husband of six months and an artist struggling to make a name for himself, had taken on a new living arrangement without even informing Landyn. It was far away from her work and very small. She has come back home to think things through. Audrey and Grant try to make their dream come true even as they help their daughter and son-in-law work through shattered dreams. The situation gets even more complicated when Landyn reveals that she is pregnant.
I really enjoyed this novel. Raney has given us much to think about. Landyn and Chase's marriage has hit a rough spot. Chase made a huge decision in signing the lease on a studio apartment without consulting Landyn. Even though it would be a better location for his art work, it would mean long hours in commute for Landyn, whose job was currently supporting them. She is upset. He thinks he did what God was telling him to do. There is much to think about in this situation. The wife is supposed to obey her husband but the husband is supposed to love his wife and sacrifice for her as Christ did for the church. And what about Chase's career? Should he get a job so he could support them while his art career is getting off the ground? Isn't he supposed to be the breadwinner?
Another thought provoking issue is knowing the will of God. Chase is sure he heard God when he signed for that studio apartment. Was it really God or his own desire speaking to him? How does one know when he has really heard from God?
In the background to these issues is the relationship between Audrey and Grant. Their marriage has stood the test of time and is weathering a rough beginning to the bed and breakfast business. Both of them try to be supportive of Landyn and Chase without interfering too much. It is a delicate endeavor and much prayer helps them pursue a firm yet loving attitude.
This is a great novel about second chances, about imperfect people trying to follow a perfect God. It is encouraging to see what God can do with the messes we make of our lives.
Discussion questions are provided so this would make an excellent choice for a reading group.
Food for thought in words from Landyn's grandmother to Chase:
“Quit beating yourself up over this. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that God rarely works in ways that make sense to us while they're happening. All too often, it's only after we look back, sometimes many years later – often, truth be told, peering over heaven's balcony – that we can make sense of the way He was working.”
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
Deborah Raney has won many awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and has twice been a Christy Award finalist. She and her husband live in Wichita. You can find out more about her and her books at http://DeborahRaney.com.
Abingdon Press, 272 pages. Please visit your local Christian bookstore to purchase this book.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.