I don’t often pick up diary-style fiction, but this book drew me in right away through Audrey’s real, heartfelt voice. Her grief and “stuckness” were so real, but so was her longing to change. This was a gentle, beautiful, real-life story of moving on, growing in grace, and letting the word of God do its life-changing work.
The strength of the story, for me, lay in the very relatable and realistic feel of the narrative. We may not have all lost our husbands early, but we’ve all experienced grief or loss in some way, and it was encouraging to see the way Audrey turned toward the light and strived to return to a spirit of gratitude. We may not all have set out alone on a road trip with no destination in mind, but we’ve all met people we wished we could help, seen moments of God’s goodness and splendor, tried to do the right thing and failed, and faced challenges that required a choice between grace and anger.
But my very favorite element of this story was Audrey’s faith walk. I had a small qualm about her love for a sculpture of a Native American appealing to the Great Spirit, given that God and the Great Spirit are not the same, but it served as a challenge to her own walk with God, and that’s a challenge I have often needed as well. Mostly, however, I loved that Audrey turned to the word of God and that it so clearly changed her. I’ve read some Christian fiction where little to no scripture is included in the character’s growth. Not so with this book! The word of God has the power to change us from the inside out, and it was beautiful to see that so definitely woven into Audrey’s growth. God drew her to himself through his word, and she in turn wanted more of it, and it in turn changed her even more. Beautiful.
What threads of romance existed were very light and gentle, in keeping with the rest of the story. The story did not veer into rekindling-the-old-flame territory where I temporarily feared it might end up, and the few light remembrances of married intimacy were appropriate to the story. The supporting characters were realistic (we all need friends who use too many exclamation points but never stop supporting us), and although it’s not a fast-paced plot due to the diary style and real-life feel of the narrative, Audrey’s emotional and spiritual quest kept me turning pages.
All in all, this is a lovely and gentle read, a story of a slow stretch toward the light and a journey from grief to gratitude, from loss to life, from heartache to hope.