cover image THE STORY JAR


Robin Lee Hatcher, THE STORY JARDeborah Bedford<. , $10.99 (368pp) ISBN 978-1-57673-699-9

Marketed as a Mother's Day title, this book offers three novellas about motherhood, hung along a single story line (the discovery of a long-lost "story jar" in a church) and peppered with short real-life tributes to mothers. Hatcher, Hunt and Bedford—all accomplished and well-established Christian writers—set out explicitly to honor and encourage mothers. Thankfully, their writing is fresh, insightful and gritty even as it comforts, usually managing to steer clear of the maudlin. The stories profile a mother of two young daughters who faces cancer just as her own mother did before her; a remarried mother working through a difficult relationship with a rebellious runaway daughter turned born-again Christian; and a couple struggling through infertility and the long path to adoption. The book is as much about spirituality and trust in God as it is about motherhood. It captures with surprising sensitivity various scenes of communion with God, and some excruciatingly exquisite moments of parental love. The book would be a far better product without the real-life tributes solicited from a wide range of sources (from well-known Christian writers like Jerry Jenkins to the daughters and grandmothers of the main authors). These are of very uneven quality and disrupt the narrative flow of the novellas. Overall, however, this is a warm, friendly book for Christian women who are trying to raise their children and face their painful problems with both faith and doubt intact. (Mar.)