Well, not so much a review of the book (the blurb is already a great summary of what kind of story you'll get should you purchase this novel) but an overall impression of the series as a whole.
Book Three of Grant Us Grace Series
Published by HopeSprings Books
Contemporary Christian Romance
Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There's been too much pain in her life for her to accept that God is anything other than, at best, disinterested or, at worst, sadistic. Until she meets Jason Garcia. After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him. As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they'll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other.
Author Elizabeth Maddrey's best writing yet. Not as multilayered (or emotionally intense) as her first two books in the series, but Serenity is a well developed, consistently told, and, of course, comfortingly romantic story. Quite enjoyable, especially if one's purpose in reading is to get to know the characters as they face some of the relational struggles and successes that mirror our own.
One of Maddrey's strengths is weaving the thematic realities of Christian living (with all of its foibles and virtues) into the pages of an engaging novel. Her well established characters help draw the reader in to where one is fully invested in their relational and emotional outcome. One need not have read Wisdom to Know or Courage to Change to settle in with this group of friends, but understanding their backstories as the series progresses is what makes such inspirational novels worth reading.
Another strength is that the author doesn't whitewash sin. This is a Christian novel, no doubt, but not the 'pollyanna trust Jesus and smile' kind of fiction that one can sometimes find in the faith-inspired section of the bookstore. But neither is this an agenda-driven book. Though Maddrey explores a number "touchstone issues" in her series (like abortion, adoption, abuse, and sexual purity) these key plot themes simply serve as true-to-life examples of the kinds of sin God's great love can conquer.
So I guess there is an agenda, and that is to show that real Christians deal with real issues that can be solved by a real God. Wrap that up in a cast of dynamic characters and vivid writing and you have a captivating novel to enjoy over the weekend.
(Note: I received an advance review copy from the publisher and know the author personally. I gave her first two books 4 stars, which for me means solid reads.)
For more reviews, see Goodreads or Amazon.
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