Striving to create a home strong in the foundations of love, respect, and God's truths ...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"To Know You" by Shannon Etheridge and Kathryn Mackel

 Julia Whittaker's rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker's son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds---and his liver---crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a "living liver" transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon's time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.

But can Julia ask a young woman---someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with---to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she's never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?
And what if she discovers in her own daughters' lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she's probably embarking on a fool's errand---searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?

In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.

To Know You breaks the stereotypes of most adoption-redemption stories in a fantastic way.  I've always thought of adoption reunions as happy but stressful times.  You know, with everyone crying and shouting and rehashing all the reasons why things had to be the way they did, and with people being angry about the separation but secretly happy to be reuniting.

It doesn't work out that way in this book.

While the daughters are rebellious and everyone is happy, at least in some way, Julia takes her sweet time about sharing her story with her daughters.  I understand that it's very painful for her and probably not a picnic for them to hear, but I think that kind of information is what I'd be wanting to share and/or know first.  I'd want the story.

Yet that slow, steady dispersal of information is what keeps the interest level in this story white-hot.  You know from the very beginning that Julia has not always been a paragon of virtue, but for much of the book the authors share tantalizing glimpses of her seedy past.  The way that they hop back and forth through time while telling her story is both suspenseful and logical.  It makes it very easy to understand why Julia made the choices that she did, right or not.

Which makes it easy to understand how she's able to embrace the messiness in her daughters' own lives.  She digs in her heels and helps when she's needed, even when it complicates her own life to do so, which made my opinion of of her rise even as her past came to light.

The characters of the other ... well, characters .... are just as complicated - and realistic.  They are human: they sin, they have struggles, they're messy, but they're learning and growing and changing with each new obstacle that they tackle.  There are lessons within these pages for the readers to take away, as well.

All told, To Know You is a fascinating story.  There's a surprise around every page and another complication stirring the pot at each turn.  The ending, though it caught me off guard, left me feeling quite satisfied with both the story's resolution - almost as though I'd eaten a chocolate-y truffle at the end of a gourmet dinner.

That is the best kind of story.

Click here to purchase your own copy or go here to read more reviews in this blog hop.

Shannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, speaker, and certified life coach with a master's degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to college students and adults since 1989 and is the author of 21 books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman's Battle series. She is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs and mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers.)

Learn more about Shannon:

Kathryn Mackel is a best-selling author and acclaimed screenwriter for Disney and Fox. She was on the screenwriting team for Left Behind: The Movie, and Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse. She is the acclaimed author of "The Surrogate", "The Departed", and "The Hidden" and resides in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband.

Learn more about Kathryn:

I received a free copy of To Know You from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment