About the Book
When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.
Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.
4 out of 5
This book took some time for me to get into but once I did, it was amazing.
Tandi was a wounded woman who had recently broken free to become independent. At first I found myself upset with her because I expected more from her as a mother. But as the story went on, I discovered the root of her vulnerability—this was her first time being independent and she was trying to find her footing. She eventually grew into a strong, admirable woman, beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. I applaud Lisa in the manner she paced Tandi’s personality development. Her emotional responses were duely appropriate for each circumstance as the story went along.
What I loved most about this story was the manner Lisa crafted Paul. He had no dramatic entrance into the story (or Tandi’s life), and he was no typical hero—tall, dark and handsome. His sense of fashion always made me laugh. There was nothing drop-dead-gorgeous about it. The best part is, all these didn’t stop his sweet, nice and generous character from shining through the pages. I thought that was excellent craftmanship.
The plot was great and the story structure was solid. Secondary characters were introduced at just the right time, and none unnecessarily littered any scenes.
Something I found pleasantly unique about this story was how Iola’s left-behind letters were such a blessing and source of healing to not only Tandi and her family, but also her entire community, despite what they thought of her. This story drew out these classic lessons:
1. It doesn’t matter how silent you believe your life may be. Even after you’re gone God can still use you to have great impact.
2. Do not worry about what people think of you. Trust God’s way and His Truth because in the end, His Truth will always vindicate you, either in this life or in the next.
3. The worst thing you could ever do to yourself is to pay attention to rumors. Never ever judge a matter from a distance.
I must say this: this story is not so much about romance. The author was probably more interested in showing healing and growth in a broken person, and how God restored self-worth and other good things to that person, even making her a blessing to her community. It is a sweet story and will most likely leave you reflective. I recommend it.
*Although I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My thanks to Tyndale Publishing House and JK Communications for a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
About the Author
Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty mainstream fiction novels, including the national bestseller, Tending Roses, now in its nineteenth printing. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her novel, Blue Moon Bay, was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. More information about Lisa’s novels can be found at www.Lisawingate.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/LisaWingateAuthorPage?fref=ts