cover image RIBBON OF YEARS


Robin Lee Hatcher, . . Tyndale, $19.99 (312pp) ISBN 978-0-8423-4009-0

In her 39th novel, the award-winning Hatcher ambitiously alternates between the past seven decades and the current one to show how the influence of a life of faith can shape the destiny of others. Juliana is 44, and wishing she could start over with a clean slate. When, at an estate sale, she happens across a box of old trinkets marked "My Life,", she hears firsthand the saga of Miriam, the owner of the box, from those who loved her best. The author is reasonably successful in employing the same device Patricia Sprinkle used in The Remember Box , where mementos become cues for the tale. Hatcher progresses through Miriam's escapades as a teenager to her eventual death, interrupting her life story with the present-day reflections of Juliana, who comes to grips with her need for God. The writing is smooth, there's some nice historical detail and Hatcher manages the time switches with aplomb. God often speaks in all capitals internally to Miriam, as when she hears, "BEHOLD, SATAN DEMANDED TO HAVE YOU, THAT HE MIGHT SIFT YOU LIKE WHEAT." Needless to say, this kind of thing is a bit startling on the page. Although the characters of Miriam and her childhood friend Jacob are satisfactorily developed, others are mostly props, likely the result of chronicling such a broad sweep of history in less than 300 pages. However, this novel should prove a satisfactory diversion for Hatcher's fans. (July)

Forecast:Hatcher, a past president of the Romance Writers of America, won a Christy Award last year for her novel Whispers of Yesterday. With five million books in print, she has built a loyal following among fans in both the Christian and romance markets, which will spur sales of this title.