"Need You Now" by Beth Wiseman
We all count on the support of those around us when times are tough, but what do we do when those we depend on the most are suddenly gone? How do we cope when life has pulled the rug out from under us and left us with nothing and no one to hold on to? To whom can we turn when it seems no one, not even God, is there? These are the questions best-selling author Beth Wiseman addresses in her first contemporary novel, Need You Now (Thomas Nelson).
After the safety of one of their children is threatened, Darlene Henderson and her husband Brad choose to move their family from Houston to the dot-in-the-road town of Round Top, Texas, moving into the old fixer-upper farm left to Darlene by her grandparents. Adjusting to the change is more difficult than any of them imagined, especially for the middle child, 15-year-old Grace, who becomes a cutter, using a dangerous and particularly self-damaging way of coping with stress.
The move also begins to take a toll on the couple’s marriage when Darlene decides to take a job outside the home in an effort to make new friends in the community. As the domestic tension rises, both begin to wonder if the same shared faith that has carried them through difficult times in the past will be strong enough to help them now.
To make matters worse, Darlene begins receiving inappropriate attention from the widowed father of the autistic young girl she is assigned to work with at the school for special needs children where she is employed. Unfortunately, this new attention comes just when she is most vulnerable. If there has ever been a time in her life when she needed God, it is now. But will she allow arising feelings of unworthiness to keep her from seeking Him?
This was my first Beth Wiseman book and I enjoyed it. While up until now she has written Amish fiction, this book was a contemporary story about a family in crisis. The base premise of the story was really good... who do you turn to when everything in your world is falling down around you? When even God seems far away? When confusion and fear starts to color all your perspective and decision making process? There was lots of tough issues tackled in this book, some really well and some only touched upon. Because it is a book about a family, there is five characters each dealing with something in their own individual lives and yet affecting the family unit as a whole. Throw in a handful of secondary characters and that is a lot of issue and character juggling. But I thought the author chose which of the issues should come to the forefront and carried it through to the end of the story. I'm actually hoping that there is a second book in the works so that those issues and characters that were pushed to the background can be explored.
I was very curious how the author would delve into the huge issue of teenage cutting as my daughter used to have a friend who was battling this. And it is scary! I was afraid that the issue would be over simplified with simple, wrapped up in a bow solutions because in real life it is not. The author, I thought, did as good a job as one can do within a novel of normal length. The story gave me a better understanding of the struggle faced by these kids who cut.
**POSSIBLE SPOILER HERE** There is one part of the story dealing with the main character, mom Darlene, that did start to delve into uncomfortable territory for me. With the distance widening between her and her husband, Darlene also had to face the temptation of succumbing to the attentions of another man. The storyline culminated in a point that, for me, was a cringe worthy moment. But as I thought about it for this review, I realized that isn't it like that in real life? Just when we are at our most vulnerable, satan attacks with all the forces of hell and throws every temptation he can to brings us to the bottom. The character faced this and had to look deep into her heart to find what she really believed. **END OF SPOILER**
All in all I enjoyed this modern story of the trials and struggles of a Christian mom who finds herself confronted with what she really believes.
Thanks to the B & B Media Group for providing the book free for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
"Need You Now" can be purchased here and here.