cover image Straight Up

Straight Up

Lisa Samson, . . WaterBrook, $13.99 (285pp) ISBN 978-1-57856-886-4

Georgia Ella Bishop's life screams "wasted potential." The daughter of a great jazz pianist and a famous news correspondent, she has what it takes to combine her mother's talent and her father's celebrity into one extraordinary life. Her alcoholism, however, thwarts these ambitions even before she can imagine them, and by the time she reaches her mid-30s, all of her chances seem to be used up. When Georgia moves from Baltimore to Lexington, Ky., to make one last attempt to straighten out her life, her social justice–obsessed uncle, her fashion-obsessed cousin and her loving but estranged husband are there to help. Samson, author of the Christy Award–winning Songbird and several other faith-based novels, pulls few punches in this sobering yet sanguine account of God's patience, mercy and eternal optimism in the face of human folly. Samson's writing is characteristically crisp and vibrant—cutting quickly to the heart of her characters and their crises with prose that is emotionally resonant but rarely sentimental. Readers may find events in Georgia's life, particularly her astoundingly bad choices and the surprising consequences she experiences, hard to believe. Still, despite the extremes to which Georgia goes, in Samson's capable hands she becomes an everywoman in whom readers are likely to see at least a glimpse of themselves. (Sept. 19)