cover image The Penny

The Penny

Deborah Bedford, Joyce Meyer, . . FaithWords, $21.99 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-446-57811-0

Meyer (Battlefield of the Mind), a Christian motivational speaker and bestselling nonfiction author, and inspirational fiction’s Bedford (Remember Me) are the newest inspirational one-two punch with this novel that pairs Bedford’s solid writing with Meyer’s popular ministry messages. Set in St. Louis in the racial hotbed of the mid-1950s, the story’s protagonist is the sexually abused adolescent, Jenny Blake. “All my life has been shaped by other people’s hands. Daddy slapping me, Mama never hugging me, Jean pointing a finger of criticism at me....” When Jenny picks up a penny in the street, she sets off a chain of events that results in her working for the mysterious Miss Opal Shaw, who teaches her the importance of unconditional love, grace, patience and forgiveness. Bedford has a penchant for similes, but crafts some memorable phrases, such as when Jenny’s best friend teaches her how to dance: “Move like you’re writing cursive on the wall with your backside.” The penny motif is used throughout in believable and sometimes less believable ways, as is a Grace Kelly metaphor. Meyer fans will easily recognize her themes of overcoming difficulties and shame through God’s love and positive thinking. A film version’s late 2007 release should help ensure that this book receives plenty of attention. (June)