Heaven Without Her: A Desperate Daughter’s Search for the Heart of Her Mother’s Faith by Kitty Foth-Regner.
I’ve had this memoir on my TBR list for quite a while, recommended to me by someone or another, but I couldn’t find it at the library. I put off buying a copy because I had some vague idea that the “her” of the title had been kidnapped or lost, and the daughter was searching for her. I just didn’t know if I was in the mood for that sort of a story.
It turns out that Heaven Without Her is a spiritual memoir, a conversion story, and I love a well-written conversion story.
“Kitty Foth-Regner was living the feminist dream—a successful copywriting business, the perfect live-in boyfriend, beautiful garden, and a nice house. But when her beloved developed a fatal illness, she found herself on the brink of despair with nothing but questions: Could there possibly be a God? If so, which God? And might heaven really exist?”
The book is as much a Christian apologetic as it is a memoir, but Ms. Foth-Regner’s personal story of her search for God gives shape and meaning to the academic and scientific investigation that she undertook to find out who God might be and whether He could be found in any of the major (and some minor) religions of the world. Her motivation for the search was her desire to be with her beloved Christian mother in heaven, if such a place really exists. But through that motivation, the Hound of Heaven was certainly pursuing Kitty Both-Regner “down the labyrinthine ways/Of [her] own mind; and in the mist of tears.”
The memoirist writes about the Bible and the historical and scientific reliability thereof. She includes quite a bit of information about the evolution/creation debate and presents solid evidence for both intelligent design by a Creator God and a young earth view of history. She compares the truth claims of Christianity and of other world religions, show ing that Christianity is the only belief system that has verifiable evidence supporting its dogma. Then, she goes on to tell about how she came to believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a historical fact, and that the gospel, faith in God through Christ and the receiving of His grace to cover our sins, was the only way to heaven and to Truth. (That’s in chapter 20, by the way, if you want to skip to the climax. But I’d suggest you read the book straight through.)
Heaven Without Her would be a great gift for an unbelieving friend, provided that friend was somewhat open to the gospel. Kitty Foth-Regner herself says that her efforts to share the wonderful news of her new-found faith with friends and associates met mostly with polite, but definite, disinterest, sometimes outright hostility. “Amazingly, many if not most, declined. And not always politely.” “My friendships with several hyper-feminists were among the casualties of my conversion. Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut. But I figured a friend doesn’t let a friend live without hope; a friend shares the gospel with the people she cares about.”
So, use your own judgment and the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to whether or not to give the book away to friends and neighbors, but I would say that having a copy to read yourself and another to give away if so led would be an excellent investment. It’s a book in the same category and genre with Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter, and Letters from a Skeptic by Dr. Gregory Boyd. Ms. Foth-Regner has a list of books that helped her to understand and accept the Christian worldview and that she recommends to others for the same purpose. Her list is worth the price of the book itself.
Thank to the author for sending me a copy of her memoir for possible review. I plan to keep one copy for my library and purchase another for giving away.