About the Author: KATIE GANSHERT is the author of several novels and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner, The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family.
Genre: Woman's Fiction, Spiritual Fiction
Synopsis: When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?
I'm already a fan of anything by Jodi Piccoult, so books that are heavy and touch on sensitive topics are typically books that I enjoy. I also enjoy books told in multiple POV. This book touches on race, bias, social awareness, adoption, marital problems, and other issues. However, it does such with empathy and grace - something the author also highlights in her Author Note at the end of the book.
This book definitely surprised me in more ways than one. For instance, I didn't know this was a "Christian book" until I started reading it. However, the author wasn't pushy. She talked about faith and God, but never to the point where it felt preachy. She also did an excellent job balancing the multiple POVs. I felt like each woman was well developed and interesting. I also love that she played the Devil's advocate. I don't believe only one character was "right" in this novel. I got to see each character's side: their struggles, their triumphs, their weaknesses, and ultimately their growth.
If I had to pick a favorite character, I would have to go with Jen, and her husband, Nick. Their story involves international adoption, and as someone who hopes to adopt a child one day, Jen's struggles really resonated with me.
I also feel like that author pulled off the prologue well. As a reader, you know what's coming, but it's interesting to see what led to that point. However, because most of the action occurs in the prologue, and at the end of the book, the middle may not be as exciting for some people. I read this book over the course of several days, whereas I've read other books in one night.
*I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.
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