It’s not too early for a Christmas story, is it? I don’t think so, especially when mom snuggles up to me to read it. Snow Angels is Cathe Swanson’s debut novel.
Lisa is a widow still locked inside a prison of grief and self-recrimination. Pete is not who he initially appears to be. She thinks he’s homeless but has potential. Pete thinks Lisa is bossy and treats him with disrespect. Never mind that he was kind of mean to her when they first met at Thanksgiving at the Community Center, or that his beard was raggedy and his clothes and smell were more like a hobo than the director he really was.
Misconceptions abound as Lisa works through her grief and finds new purpose that snowballs far beyond her original plans to help one man. She gives him a job that employs many more and he allows it because, in spite of her bossiness, she’s doing great work.
Going outside her comfort zone puts her face to face with someone else who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and who chooses to stay stuck. The mirror reflects Lisa’s own reality and as she struggles to come to grips with her past, she’s also forced to acknowledge a growing attraction to the shabbily-dressed man she’s tried to help.
As truths come to light, both Pete and Lisa have to come clean. Without using the Scripture, Cathe Swanson illustrates the concept that God washes us white as snow. It’s not always an easy process but the relationships we build on the way make the journey worthwhile.
This book is a novella -but a long one which means I got extra snuggles as she read it. It is well worth the read for a glimpse into our own misconceptions about the homeless and downtrodden as well as moving past our mistakes into a “new normal.” I applaud Ms. Swanson’s debut effort! It’s a Christmas story that goes deep to the heart of what really matters. I give it five bones, because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.
Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.
A complex and satisfying romantic suspense came out this year, by author Candace Clavert. Rescue Team makes the most, once again of Calvert’s experience as an ER nurse. She not only takes you behind the scenes at a hospital Emergency Department, but in this novel, opens up the world of Search and Rescue operations.
Kate Callison has a tragic past but it catches up to taunt her when a baby is found delivered and dead on the bathroom floor. Did the mom check in at the ER desk? Is she responsible for abandoning her baby when Safe Haven laws would have allowed her to give it up? Who is going to be held accountable for this? As Kate runs the ER it ultimately falls on her shoulders and she had even spoken to the woman in obvious distress. Should she have pushed harder to help her? If only she had known . . . But Kate is burdened with overcoming the spectre of the fabulous nurse who had been previously in charged. Much loved and murdered. How does one compete with a dead woman?
Wes Tanner specializes in finding lost people. Having once been lost himself as a young man, he has nver forgiven his mother for abandoning him before she killed herself, nor has he forgotten the feeling of being found again. Something about Kate Callison intrigues him. Her walls are up, but just who is she hiding from? She denies being lost, but is that true? Confronted with his own demons from the past, can he overcome his resentment towards his mother and love Kate in spite of her own past?
Throw in a swarmy lawyer, a repentant father, a cast of characters who are friends and Wes’ family and a flood, and you have a story that keeps you enthralled and wondering how it would ever be possible for these two lost souls to find God–and each other. When they both realize God never lost either of them, well, that’s when the magic happens.
Sex trafficking in the United States is an unlikely backdrop for a story. In Deliver Me From Evil, Kathi Macias takes the reader into the world of slave trading and gives a glimpse at the terror and pain of the victims of this crime. That would seem like a pretty dark topic to read about, but Kathi handles this with a master stroke in that she weaves together the tale with a look at various aspects of the industry from international sex slavery, to intra-national. She then adds in faith as one young man, Jonathan, is not only confronted with this evil, but his then compelled to wrestle with his role in it.
When one is confronted with unspeakable evil that one doesn’t fully recognize even exists, how does one react? Jonathan’s path is one of inner struggle and guilt over not knowing, but with the support of his family and new-found faith, results in courage unheard of in one so young.
The angle of the church is touched in here as well, the need for the faith community to take up the cause of abolition, not fear it but to enter into this battle wisely and well- informed. The reality of how few people want to engage in this ugly war is highlighted as well instead of treated as a “the church will save the world” fantasy. Oh, that it would be otherwise but Kathi Macias treats that as well with a just hand, neither excusing the church’s lack of involvement or making it something other than what it is.
I’m grateful that Kathi has helped us see beneath the staggering and mind-numbing statistics of human trafficking and does not even mention specific numbers but instead draws us into the thoughts, fears and hopelessness of those involved.
This book should be a wake-up call for all Christians. There is real evil in this world and it is a dangerous battle that is fought first and foremost on our knees and then through wise and considered action. This book does an excellent job highlighting this without bringing the reader to a point of depression. Instead, there is hope, and one life at a time we can make a difference.