Monday, January 05, 2009
Denise Hunter's Sweetwater Gap ~ Reviewed
by Denise Hunter
Published by Thomas Nelson
A story of love and second chances. She wished she could go back and change things...but life doesn't give you do-overs. Could anything but good-byes be waiting on the other side of Sweetwater gap?
Josie Mitchell's sister, Laurel, thinks she's come home to pitch in with the apple harvest and save the family orchard. Her brother-in-law, Nate, thinks she's there to talk the overworked, very pregnant Laurel into finally selling the family business. The orchards new manager, Grady Mackenzie, just thinks she's trouble with a capital "T". They're all right...and all wrong. Because no one really knows what drove Josie from home in the first place. Why she's never come home before, even for her own father's funeral. Why she pushes herself so hard...and surprising new fruit she'll find on her last trip home.
Vows we make as children will run our lives if we let it. It's hard as a child to grasp the bigger things in life and not blame ourselves for things we don't fully understand. Denise Hunter takes a look at guilt. She says, "Guilt is a complicated emotion that can affect the things we do and our relationships with those we love." Christ wants to give us peace and set us free from our guilt. Through Christ we can be redeemed.
Josie reluctantly goes to help her very pregnant sister, Laurel, and Nate, her brother-in-law, to pick the apple harvest one last time. She hasn't been home in a long time. Not since the accident. Here sister Laurel was having complications with the pregnancy and needed to take care of herself; that was the only reason she was there. As soon as the harvest was over and Laurel's baby was born, she was gone. There were too many bad memories and more guilt than she could stand in this place. Then she met Grady. That guy just grated on her nerves. She was going to avoid him at all costs. She didn't need a guy to complicate her life. She was doing just fine, thank you very much! Who was she kidding? She had hoped everyone was buying this act of hers. Problem was, even she was having a hard time keeping up this front. PEACE!?! Grady says that God wants to love her through all her bad times - that He wants her to find peace!! Josie doesn't think she deserves peace. Could she stop fighting herself and surrender? What was the worst thing that could happen to her? What she has been doing lately really wasn't working and everyone was beginning to notice.
I really was drawn into the way Denise Hunter tackled the subject of guilt and self-worth in this story. Also, the fact that we don't have to be worthy to receive the greatest gift of all - God's love. Hunter takes us on Josie's journey as she realizes that she is ready to receive the love that God wants to give her. This is a story that will definitely touch your heart and give you hope.
I haven't read anything else by Denise Hunter, but I'm definitely going to check out her other stories, Surrender Bay and The Convenient Groom.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent - Book Club Servant Leader