by Jackina Stark
There are certain books out there that no matter what the writing is like you just love it for the story. I've heard this over and over again about Harry Potter and the Twilight series(I wouldn't know as I haven't read either of them). Tender Grace is that for me. There's not much to the book but it was refreshing and I liked it despite its little imperfections.
This is the story of Audrey Eaton. Fifteen months earlier her husband of 30 years died and she has still not recovered. Depressed and unmotivated to do anything but watch TV all day long, Audrey decides she needs something to snap herself out of this "living death" she is going through. So she packs her bags and her husband's old Bible and takes a road trip from Missouri to northern CA; no plans, no agenda, just an unrushed trip to see what there is to see. As she slowly sheds her grief she comes to realise a truth she had forgotten, that God is there with her during her hardest struggles and will bring her through even this.
The writing is not spectacular and the characters are a bit too perfect but I really liked this story. I said it once already but the word that keeps coming to mind is "refreshing." Of the four books I've read so far this year this is the third one dealing with death and grief but it was the most pleasant one. As Audrey writes in her diary daily she slowly reveals what she misses about her old life with Tom and why she finds it so hard to move on but as she meets new people and experiences life without her beloved husband she sort of remembers what it was like to be just Audrey without being attached to anyone else.
As Audrey makes this journey she reads from Tom's old Bible. When he died he was going through the gospel of John so Audrey goes through it too a little each day, stretching it out over her 6 week trip. She reflects on the holy words of God and they end up corresponding with her experiences. As a Christian woman I appreciated seeing Scripture handled tenderly and not mutilated to fit an agenda. While the book is non judgemental it's definitely intended for a Christian audience.
So if you are having a rough time of it, like I was today, you might try this one. From the title to the cover art to the content, I really enjoyed it and can recommend it as a non offensive, light hearted, peaceful read.