Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book: Tender Grace

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tender Grace

Bethany House (February 1, 2009)


Jackina Stark


Jackina Stark retired from teaching English at Ozark Christian College after 28 years so she could spend more time writing and speaking. While Tender Grace is her first novel she has written two non-fiction books and published many articles in Christian Standard and Lookout. Her second novel, Things Worth Remembering, is due out this fall.

Jackina has lived in Joplin, Missouri for many years with her husband, Tony, and has 2 grown daughters and 6 grandchildren. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, enjoying her grandchildren, or sitting on the back porch drinking a Diet Coke and watching her husband till the garden!


Audrey Eaton awakes at three in the morning and gets up to retrieve her husband, Tom, from the recliner where he has fallen asleep watching a ball game. But when she enters the living room and looks at his gentle face in the soft lamp light, she knows their time together is over. Grief attacks her until all she can think about is how much she wants her old life back. Determined to find healing, she embarks on a journey to the one place Tom and she always intended to visit but never did. Along the way, she discovers, through shared experiences with friends old and new, the meaning of the "tender graces" God provides each and every day.

I've quit reading--even bestsellers, even the newspaper, even my Bible. I've also quit listening to music. This lack of appreciation for things I once loved is beginning to define me. More mornings than I can count, I say to myself before I open my eyes, "I don't want to do this." In the days shortly following Tom's death, that made sense, but what does it mean now? That I'm in trouble? One of the best qualities of the former me was thankfulness. As I was trying to sleep last night, needing Tom to be curled up behind me, his left arm slung across me, I realized to my horror that I couldn't remember the last time I was truly thankful. I think of a line from an old hymn: "Awake, my soul, and sing." I miss Tom. I also miss me. Determined to find healing, Audrey Eaton embarks on a trip to the one place she and her husband always intended to visit but never did. When things don't go as planned, will she embrace the unexpected graces that guide her journey?


While this is not exactly a happy story, especially in the beginning, I think it's one of the better books I've read. It doesn't shy away from the grief that Audrey still feels, even 15 months after her husband's death and that makes it more real.

The story is written in journal form, but there are enough details that you aren't lost in someone's inner ramblings. There was also a small element of suspense in the form of a person from Audrey's past that is not resolved until the very end.

I highly recommend this book. It's the perfect length and a really good read!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tender Grace, go HERE

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Hey Christian fiction is stepping into the realm of Literary Fiction. That's great. I personally detest literary fiction, but I think that it is important for the CBA to start stretching and producing stories in that genre! Go Jackina!

    We're going to the 4:00 showing at Icicle junction. It's the last day before the theater switches movies. My hubby actually canceled on your hubby for a game nite tonight so that I could go. He gave the vague excuse of "Family gathering activities" So proceed with caution if you think your hubby will cry over his defection. Hope you can make it!
    Boo Boo


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