Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sweetwater Gap by Denise Hunter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sweetwater Gap

Thomas Nelson (December 16, 2008)


Denise Hunter


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!


A story of new beginnings from best-selling Romance for Good™ author Denise Hunter.
When Josephine's family insists she come home to help with the harvest, the timing works. But her return isn't simple benevolence-she plans to persuade the family to sell the failing orchard.

The new manager's presence is making it difficult. Grady MacKenzie takes an immediate disliking to Josephine and becomes outright cantankerous when she tries talking her family into selling. As she and Grady work side by side in the orchard, she begins to appreciate his devotion and quiet faith. She senses a vulnerability in him that makes her want to delve deeper, but there's no point letting her heart have its way-he's tied to the orchard, and she could never stay there.

A brush with death tears down Josephine's defenses and for the first time in her life, she feels freedom-freedom from the heavy burden of guilt, freedom to live her life the way it was intended, with a heart full of love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sweetwater Gap, go HERE

REVIEW BY GUEST BLOGGER VICKI:(my sweet mother-in-law!)

Sweetwater Gap is a story that compels the reader to experience every meaning of the word poignant. The main character, Josie Mitchell, is asked to come home to help with her family’s North Carolina apple orchard. She willingly comes to assist her sister, but knows she will have to confront the memory of an accident she caused as a teenager.

Throughout the book, we vicariously feel her guilt, we learn why she thinks she has never been “good enough” and worthy, and we hurt along with her when she faces a life-threatening disease. In Chapter 14, she sees this sickness as “penance that is easier to bear than the weight of guilt”. Josie makes herself believe there is a “rightness” or “justice” to her diagnosis, and that she has finally been caught and must pay a price. She even denies herself the benefit of her medications because she convinced herself she did not have the right to life and happiness, when she had deprived someone else of it. And even though she grew up in a Christian home, she has given up on God.

Upon arrival home, she meets the orchard manager, Grady Mackenzie, who has his own issues to work through. He has a strong relationship with Christ, and he reluctantly develops a relationship with Josie, especially when there are many misgivings to overcome. Once she confides in him, Grady understands that she has no one to talk to about her illness, because she doesn’t want to burden family. In the end, he persuades her to let her family know so they can care for her and give her support. She begins to accept his attentions, and feels a security she never had from her father.

Grady tells Josie how Christ gave His life for her, just as her friend did. When Josie questions how she can be worthy of Christ’s sacrifice, she learns she does not have to worry about being worthy, or have to earn it. She comes to realize that God is not punishing her, but wants her to find His love and peace.

I recommend this book because we all have burdens we need to bring to Our Father. This wonderful story just reiterates that truth.

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