Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What I've read during the past few days....

Deborah Raney was a new author to me. I'd been reading a lot about her work on other blogs, and was honored to win an autographed set of these two novels, A Vow to Cherish, and Within This Circle. I was fascinated to learn that the first book was originally published in 1996 and has been made into a movie! I will be looking further into that to be sure! Anyway, this was new territory for me as author's go and what a treat it turned out to be!

The first novel in this series, A Vow to Cherish, tells one of the most touching stories I've ever read about a couple's struggle with the early onset of a disease usually found in much older adults. Like any illness that has no known or certain cure, the couple journeys through a lot of heart-breaking territory as they struggle with their weak humanity in the context of their faith in God and all that He has blessed them with in their lives. To add an even more complex dimension to an already tragic problem, Deborah Raney explores the human need for companionship and relationship during such a trial. I won't give anything away, but trust me when I say that this is a very real, emotional look at our desires and submitting them to God's plan.

This isn't an "easy" read, but it is soul-searching and very rewarding! Be prepared to grow!

Now, many years later, along comes the sequel to this beautiful story - Within This Circle! It's hard to say a lot about this story line without giving away things about the first book, but basically this story carries the results of the first book forward while dealing with equally difficult issues in the lives of the children. I think this story is particularly timely, because there are many family circles that fall prey to bad decisions that force grandparents to take on the roles of parents. Again, not an "easy" read emotionally.

I know families in the truest sense have always been able to lean on each other, but this story deals with decisions that are based on the younger generation's often self-centered decision making process. There are legitimate pressures in the lives of the children, but they lose sight of what truly matters, and the entire family circle must then bear the burden. Oftentimes this will come at great sacrifice for those outside the immediate "circle".

Deborah Raney shows how God works in the lives of everyone surrounding a particular circumstance, and the results that often follow when we follow Him in obedience - even when it means drastic changes in our own plans and dreams. His ways are always so much better, even when we don't understand. This was a satisfying conclusion to the series, and I will have to look further into the work of this terrific author! Thank you, Deborah, for taking us on this journey!

No comments: