By Wendy Oleston
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Life is hard for Mara Shaw. One bad relationship after another has left her a single mother with no faith in anything. She is unable to trust in anyone . . . including herself. She decides to start afresh, and never allow herself to be hurt again. Graydon Davidson walks into her life and begins to show her the truth. While the truth is hard to accept, it is also the key to her freedom. Is this gorgeous and compassionate stranger the answer to all her dreams? Or will specters from her past which emerge to haunt her take over? Mara is faced with a choice that will change her life forever.
For Christians, if you’ve ever tried to picture being the bride of Christ, Oleston puts a whole new spin on the subject in her new book.
We all have issues to deal with. Mara has a boatload of them, from being in denial of alcoholism to not knowing how to love or to receive love. A single mom in danger of losing her child, she agrees reluctantly to counseling. The reader is invited along as this woman walks through her despair to finally reach the lowest point and so be able to climb back out of the abyss, holding the hand of the only one we can truly count on.
On the way to her first counseling session, Mara meets a mysterious young man, Graydon, and they are instantly infatuated. Months pass during which they develop a platonic relationship and slowly learn each other’s story. Mara is constantly torn by her struggle to become a mom worthy of her son, a woman worthy of true love, and a person who can love wholly. It’s Graydon every bit as much as her counselor who forces Mara to face the ugly things in her life. Countless times Mara attempts to shove away those who want to help her. Graydon never lets her know he’s had enough. He always comes back, is always there when she needs someone, always knows what to say, acts as her conscious, and leads her gently through the valley of the shadow of death.
The reader is encouraged to conjecture about Graydon’s identity until Mara is able to come clean and accept the forgiveness she’s been offered all along. This story is definitely thought-provoking on many levels, and one that will show you the unyielding love of God. I have to offer this caveat, however, in that unfortunately vulgar language permeates the entire story. While I understand that cursing has become almost normal in society and I realize certain characters will swear as part of their makeup, I also don’t believe that it is natural for believers to continue to do so thoughtlessly once they develop a personal relationship with the Lord. It seems like a light thing to address in light of the enormous issues Mara overcame, but it was jarring and disappointing for all the care the author used in this intriguing story of second chances. Told in third person from Mara’s point of view, this is a story you’ll be thinking about for a long while.