The Reason, by William Sirls

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Welcome to southeast Michigan and the small town of Carlson where faith, hope, and struggle are defined by the different faces of those who live there.

An addict that sits at a bar to forget. A mother whose five-year-old boy has leukemia. Two doctors. An atheist haunted by his past and a brilliant young oncologist that places all her hope in the power of modern medicine. A blind pastor whose son hasn’t spoken a single word in thirty-eight years.

But the minister sees by faith. He knows there are answers and believes that someone who cares is watching—someone with a greater purpose. Yet there is something he doesn’t know… that none of them know.

In the midst of the ordinary and the devastating, there is a reason these lives will be changed forever.

Lightning is about to strike.

The Reason opens with a thunderbolt and never lets up as it introduces us to everyday characters who are wrestling with questions: Where is God when bad things happen? Does God ignore the prayers of the faithful? The answer each character receives will astound readers while offering an unforgettable call to hope, to change, and to believe.

My Take:

Once upon a time I reviewed William Sirls’ amazing debut novel and shared a small bit of its road to publication. Fast forward to 2016: The Reason has been turned into a movie starring Louis Gossett, Jr. and will be released next year. Consequently, Sirls has revised his novel and it’s this version I’m now reviewing.

If you’ve already read The Reason, you’ll want to read this new edition. There are changes, some of which are small and some of which are… not. I prefer the original cover because I think it’s more dramatic, even though I understand why this copy has an apple on it. As much as I loved The Reason back in 2012, I’d not read it since so it wasn’t just the cover that made it feel like I was reading a new book.

The Reason is a powerful read about what happens when God’s plans collide with our hopes and dreams. We’re taught that He wants the best for us, but we wonder how that can be when bad things happen in our lives. Why must we endure our loved ones battle with cancer? Why does He heal some people but not others? What is the definition of healing, anyway? Readers will fall in love with the characters and, as a result, your heartstrings will be tugged with what happens in the course of the story. You’ll find familiarity in the questions they ask of the mysterious carpenter who shows up to assist on a volunteer project. The clues are there, if you know how to look for them, but you have to read almost to the very end to get the answer. You’ll need the Kleenex box in the meantime.

As I mentioned at the start of this review, the movie comes out in 2017. If you pre-order The Reason novel (it comes out on 12 July), you can enter to win an all-expenses paid trip to the movie’s premiere. Details are on The Reason website.

Thank you to William Sirls for my complimentary Advanced Reader Copy of The Reason, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Excerpt

Publisher: BroadStreet Publishing

Publication Date: 12 July 2016

Page Count: 416

Read more on:   Author’s Website   The Reason Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Undaunted Hope, by Jody Hedlund

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

1871
Eagle Harbor, Michigan

In a Town Mired in Darkness,
She May Shine the Light They Need

Running from the mistakes of her past, Tessa Taylor heads to the uppermost reaches of Michigan, planning to serve as the new teacher to the children of miners. She quickly learns the town had requested a male teacher, but Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since it’s too late to replace her. Tessa can’t help but thank him and say she is in his debt.

Determined to make herself irreplaceable once spring thaw arrives, Tessa throws herself into her work, and soon two students have decided Miss Taylor is the right match for their grieving father. At the same time, charming assistant lightkeeper Alex Bjorklund makes his interest known, surprising Tessa, who has never had men fight for her hand before. But not all is well as she feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.

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Hearts Made Whole, by Jody Hedlund

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Can She Forgive the Hurting Man Who Costs Her the Role She Loves?

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

Continue reading for my review, an excerpt from Hearts Made Whole, and information about a great giveaway! Continue reading