Tag: adoption

Before We Were Yours Book Review

Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours has been on my To Be Read list for over a year. In fact, the book resided on a coffee table much of that time. Each time I passed by I thought, I really need to start that one next.

I finally did. I am sorry I waited so long. Before We Were Yours belongs on my top books of the year list I released last week.

Past and Present

Wingate uses the tough to write but a joy to read when done right technique of rotating between the past and the present. The current storyline revolves around Avery Stafford. She is a lawyer and dutiful daughter of South Carolina Senator Stafford who is battling cancer.

A further contemporary story line involves her paternal grandmother who has recently been placed in a senior care center due to her dementia. Both aspects of the present day story appealed to me. They hit close to home.

Avery runs into May Crandall, a ninety-year old at another facility for seniors and Wingate begins to dovetail the past history of Crandall into the present. Crandall’s past is not pretty as she was a victim of the scandalous Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Even though the story is fictional, the TCHS existed for several decades.

Lisa Wingate

The author is outstanding on multiple levels. The writing is crisp. Plot lines are so believable it is hard to remember this is fiction. Finally, the characters tug at your heart strings. For those prone to tears, you will shed some.

Before We Were Yours is another winner by Wingate. The novel is well-researched. But what most impressed me was the way this reader was invested in both story lines. The transition between Avery’s story and May’s flowed smoothly. Each time one chapter ended and the other began, I readily switched back to the other story line. There was not a favorite, one story did not outweigh the other-at least in my mind.

Before We Were Yours

The historical aspect of Before We Were Yours begets many questions. Did orphanages fall by the wayside because of this scandal? Is this how the Foster Care system began, a better alternative? Or just a different option, fraught with different problems? Furthermore, a Pandora’s Box of questions could apply to modern day solutions of unwanted childlessness.

Before We Were Yours deserves a place in any library, public or private. It is entertaining and informational. I highly recommend this book.


The Noel Diary Book Review

Jacob Christian Churcher

One of the best things about reading books for the Friday book reviews is discovering writers new to me. Richard Paul Evans fits this description. The Noel Diary is his latest Christmas novel. Apparently, he is well-known for setting stories at Christmas time. He also manages to release those books in time to place under the tree.

The lead character in The Noel Diary is novelist J. Churcher. The J stands for Jacob. Actually his full name is Jacob Christian (JC) Churcher and thus you have the first of many layers in the story.

Churcher comes from a home broken in many ways. The breakdown occurs after a family tragedy. This background provides the basis for the theme of the book. Families unable to cope with the hardships life throws at them. Fortunately for Churcher, he found support from outside sources, hence his success.

The thrust of the story is about forgiveness and grace and reconciliation. After learning of the death of his estranged mother, Jacob returns to Salt Lake City to settle the estate and clean out the house he spent his first sixteen years in. An old neighbor, Elyse, reaches out to him and guides him in the direction of grace.

The Noel Diary

But the story is also a romance. Churcher’s character even explains the difference between romance and love stories. Jacob falls in love with Rachel, an adoptee looking for her birth mother. Her only clue was that her mother lived with the Churcher family prior to giving birth. They find a diary written by Noel while cleaning out the house.

The diary helps Jacob vaguely remember Noel. But he was only four when all the events took place. In order to find answer’s for Rachel, Jacob attempts to reconcile with his father.

Reconciliation can be difficult. However, the Christmas season is the perfect time for this. Forgiveness and grace are key ingredients in a successful reconciliation. Honesty with one’s own faults is also an important ingredient.

I concluded from looking at Richard Paul Evans’ website’ website that he is a prolific writer. My belief is his success stems from the ability to write entertaining stories while sharing the important keys of humanity. The Noel Diary is both a romance and a love story, but it is so much more. Evans uses many parallels and allegories in his writing. My interpretation of the story is one of love regardless of past mistakes. Forgiveness is the key to finding grace.Book Noel Diary with nativity as backdrop