Wednesday, March 3, 2021

FACING THE DAWN by Cynthia Ruchti, Reviewed by Paula and Rebecca

“When life falls apart, God’s plan hasn’t. It’s still active but adds a soul-healing component.”
What happens when Mara Jacobs whole world collapses? “Hard doesn’t mean unsurvivable. Mistakes don’t automatically dictate a future. And regrets have an antidote. God’s love and peace.”
Through the blows she has been dealt, Mara tries to hold it together. Her forever friend Ashlee moves back into town and helps her discover her inner strength by being a true friend.
Instead of this story being a downer, the author insinuates a lighter note by Mara’s snarky internal comments. Was she always this way or is it a defense mechanism?
There are moments of sorrow and pain but also a light that shines and levity. In other words- believably human reactions.
Mara learns that her name not only means *bitter* but *strong*. My emotions ran the gamut right along with Mara.
Superb writing by an author that I will read again. One of my top picks of the year.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Revell Reads Program. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *5stars and a solid faith thread.
"When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O, Lord have mercy on me."

Water. Mara Jacobs is not afraid of water . . . only what it represents. "Clean water took Liam's heart to Africa. Muddy water took his health. Lack of water took . . . . ". Yes, it took her husband away from her. Liam Jacobs dedicated his life to providing clean drinking water for those who needed it the most, deep in the heart of Uganda. Having served three of his four years under contract with Deep Wells, Inc. the news that Mara received was shocking. She wasn't prepared. The irony of it all. Hadn't she been the one continually assuring Liam that she was prepared . . . for anything, but this.

Plunged into the depth of colorless days and endless nights, Mara struggles to find her footing; goodness, even getting out of bed takes more energy that she can manage to find or admit. Her three teen children, typically challenging her sanity with their usual pushbacks against her authority(while making it perfectly clear that she is not the "fun" parent), are now reeling from the news that has rocked their world to the core. As if hitting rock bottom isn't enough, the unthinkable occurs, and Mara finds herself being sucked further into oblivion, her already delicate soul suffering relentless waves of hopelessness and despair.

When life becomes absolutely silent, God's still small voice faithfully carries His message; "guard the dawn". With the help of her forever friend Ashlee, and a surprising new acquaintance Sol, Mara begins the agonizing journey towards the light of life.

What a tough and tender approach to loss.
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

BackCover Blurb:
While her humanitarian husband Liam has been digging wells in Africa, Mara Jacobs has been struggling. She knows she's supposed to feel a warm glow that her husband is nine time zones away, caring for widows and orphans. But the reality is that she is exhausted, working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage their three detention-prone kids, failing at her to-repair list, and fading like a garment left too long in the sun.

Then Liam's three-year absence turns into something more, changing everything and plunging her into a sunless grief. As Mara struggles to find her footing, she discovers that even when hope is tenuous, faith is fragile, and the future is unknown, we can be sure we are not forgotten . . . or unloved.

With emotionally evocative prose that tackles tough topics with tenderness and hope, award-winning author Cynthia Ruchti invites you on a journey of the heart you won't soon forget.
Revell Publishing, March 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:

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