Ganshert (Life After) probes questions of class, race, and faith in this riveting novel of a forced school merger. The small, affluent Missouri school district of Crystal Ridge has been ordered by the state to accept students from a poor neighboring district that lost its accreditation. The merging of these racially, economically, and socially different schools brings together three women representative of the communities: Camille, PTA member and involved mother, who organizes the annual 5K run; struggling adoptive mom Jen who would rather go back to being a full-time nurse; and Anaya, the young first-time teacher at the school trying to bridge the divide between the old and new students. Each woman faces personal and professional shocks as the rocky school year begins and the two separate student bodies fail to get along. Faith plays a subtle but vital role in how the characters react to events and engage with one another during the tumultuous school year that culminates in dramatic fashion. After a shocking moment of violence at the 5K run, each woman is forced to look at herself honestly and search for the power to heal and forgive. Ganshert’s smart use of flashback creates tension from the beginning. Her nuanced exploration of racial issues, generational bigotry, and sexual harassment bring to life complex characters who challenge each other and the reader to open their minds and consider the value of truth and grace. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/12/2018 Release date: 04/03/2018 Genre: Fiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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