About the Book
Shannon is out to save the world one caring act at a time. She’s stood by her best friend, Amber, through their whole lives especially when Amber lost her sight. She has an active outreach ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised. And she’s even let down her guard long enough to let a boyfriend, Justin, into her life.
Her life has settled into a pleasing routine of teaching, freelance photography work, quiet dinners with Justin, and taking Amber on treks to find new subjects for her visionary paintings. But when a man from her past shows up, her secure world crumbles into triggered PTSD episodes that threaten everything she relies on. Will she be able to overcome these old memories, or will her past crush any hopes she had for a future?
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McGowan notes at the end of her novel that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime. She does a good job of tackling some of those disorders. The plot includes parenting issues, mental illness, being homeless, experiencing PTSD, and facing trials in general. These are tough issues. Readers will experience the difficulty of forgiveness in the face of deep hurts and the struggle to trust again. Trusting God and allowing the Spirit to work are portrayed as essential.
This is the second book in a series and the first I have read. Many of the relationships in this book originate in the first one. While this book could be read alone, I think the impact of the subjects it contains would be better appreciated if the previous book is read first.
This book might appeal to career age readers more than seniors. The main male character has multiple piercings and tattoos as well a colorful mow hawk. I had difficulty engaging the characters while younger readers may appreciate the characters' appearances.
My rating: 4/5 stars
About the Author
April McGowan loves to read and write inspirational fiction. She and her husband, two children, and her ‘mews’ (three cats!), live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, homeschooling her son, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.
More from April
Writing About Tough Subjects—with Hope I began writing over twenty years ago. And technically I wrote long before that as well. But those pieces were ‘just for fun.’ However, as I look back on my short stories, blog posts, and now my published work, there’s a definite theme: overcoming. Overcoming childhood abuse, overcoming an abusive marriage, overcoming loss—physical and emotional. And those overcoming stories were not about overcoming through our own strength, which is so often flawed and lacking, but by relying on the One who can heal us from every wrong, every hurt, and every loss. After my first novel, Jasmine, I asked my readers what they’d like me to focus on in my next books—what subjects were overlooked in fiction today? The overwhelming consensus was adoption, loss, and mental illness. As a contemporary fiction author, I stay current on social issues, so that wasn’t a huge jump for me. My readers saw a gap, and I did, too. Not that it’s wrong to simply read for entertainment—shoot, I do! But I’ve always loved gripping stories with people I could identify with who were overcoming obstacles I’d faced, or watched a loved one face—stories that offer real hope in the face of tragedy. So began my journey. In book one of this series, Hold the Light, I wrote about sight loss and adoption. I wrote about best friends who were solidly there for each other in the face of great hardship and pain. And in book two, Shine the Light, I’m doing the same—with a twist. There’s a lack of representation and writing concerning mental illness and how it affects the sufferer and those around them. There is a stigma that is significantly changing, but it’s something we’re still hesitant to discuss. Myself and many I know are deeply touched by this issue, and I think we’re long past due letting those that suffer from mental illness and their families know that they are not alone. Or if they are, that they don’t have to be. Book two, Shine the Light, is about Shannon’s life. Her love for the downtrodden, the lost, and the injured. Her passion for the underdog. How she became the stalwart friend she is to Amber in Hold the Light, the obstacles she’s overcome, and those she has to continue to grapple through with God’s help. As with all of my books, I’ve vetted this story with people who have faced these situations and am very careful to respect their stories as well as staying true to my characters. I hope you’ll dive in and find Shannon to be a deep and real and identifiable character. I hope you’ll discover in her a friend. I know you’ll grow to love her as I do. The giveaway: Many of my books are set in Portland, Oregon, and as a celebration of that, I’m offering a giveaway celebrating two of my favorite things about the city: Powell’s books and super good coffee! Also cats…but I can’t give one of those away in a contest! Well…I could try, but I’d probably fall in love with it and never send it to you…so for now, books and coffee!
Quiet Quilter, May 4
The Power of Words, May 4
Godly Book Reviews, May 5
Simple Harvest Reads, May 6 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Through the Fire Blogs, May 7
Real World Bible Study, May 9
Retrospective Spines, May 9
For Him and My Family, May 10
Mary Hake, May 10
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 11
janicesbookreviews, May 11
Pause for Tales, May 12
A Reader’s Brain, May 12
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 13
The Christian Fiction Girl, May 14
Carpe Diem, May 15
Inklings and notions, May 15
Inspired by Fiction, May 16
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17
Texas Book-aholic, May 17
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.