EMMA'S GIFT

Leisha Kelly, Author . Revell $12.99 (314p) ISBN 978-0-8007-5857-8

In her sequel to Julia's Hope, Kelly once again offers a compellingly simple tale of faith, hardship and community during the Great Depression. Using two points of view—those of Julia Wortham and her husband, Samuel—Kelly unfolds a series of events that will leave Julia with more questions about her faith than answers. As her neighbor Wilametta Hammond draws her last breaths, Julia despairs of understanding how a God of love could allow Wilametta to die. More unexpected chaos follows. With Wilametta's 10 children motherless and George Hammond deranged with grief, Julia and Samuel try to pick up the pieces, caring for the children as best they can. But, "We were all broken. Beyond repair, it seemed," muses Julia. "And about to face God's own Christmas without a reason to rejoice." God is in the details in Kelly's novel—from the depictions of how a Depression-era rural Illinois community handles death to her competent regional dialogue. Her characters are multifaceted, including a non-Christian who is particularly endearing (although an expected conversion scene promptly follows). A few didactic passages at the end of the book summarize the message for readers, rather than letting them draw their own conclusions ("I found it's not so hard to love the unlovable..."). However, Kelly's warm descriptions of how friends prop each other up in the midst of devastating circumstances strike just the right note of redemption and hope, which should endear this novel to CBA fiction fans. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-58558-623-3
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