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Tender Grace by Jackina Stark

Posted by Sherry on 4/22/2009 in Adult Fiction, General |

Audrey Eaton is stuck. She’s quit reading, quit listening to music, lost interest in almost everything that once brought her joy. It’s been a year and three months since her husband, Tom, died peacefully in his recliner at the age of 58. Audrey can’t find a way to get over his death or a reason to resume living.

Tender Grace is Christian fiction. Unbelievers will find it unbelievably “religious,” not preachy or offensive or even poorly written, but bathed in Christianity and Biblical thought and prayer and possibly annoying. I, on the other hand enjoyed the book, maybe because the death of a loved one (not my husband, thank the Lord) has recently been a part of my own journey. And although I’ve not been stuck in grief and joylessness, I can identify with Audrey in some ways. I can imagine how difficult it would be if I did lose Engineer Husband and how without losing my faith, I might very well still be tempted to or led into acedia and depression.

As the book proceeds, Audrey Eaton goes on a journey, both metaphorical and actual. She summons up the courage and determination to take a road trip, and as she travels, she finds the grace of God in unexpected places and unusual ways.

Again, I think Christians, especially those dealing with grief and loss, will find this book to be encouraging and real at the same time. Others enter at your own risk. I do find it odd, and at the same time serendipitous, that the last two books I’ve read have both been about death and about what may or may not come after death, both for the deceased and for the survivors. I didn’t choose these books because I knew what they were about. Tender Grace was a review copy that someone at Bethany House very kindly shared with me. The other death book, Passage by Connie WIllis, I read because I’ve become a fan of Ms. WIllis’s writing. However, I had no idea what the book was about until I actually started reading. More about Ms. Willis and my delight in discovering her books tomorrow.

One could almost believe that there was some sort of plan to the universe . . . or something.

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