Ginny L Yttrup
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books; Original edition (February 15, 2012)
It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law’s wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it?
Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There’s also a special man in her life—Jenna’s brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee’s contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it?
Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.
I’ve not read Ginny Yttrup before. Her book, Words, ended up on a lot of favorite lists and I looked forward to what I would find in Lost and Found.
Lost and Found revolves around two wine families and a financial guru, Andee, connected to those families. Jenna's brother dates Andee, Jenna connected both families when she married the much older son of the Bouvier family. It had been an easy marriage as Jenna had adopted her future mother-in-law as a substitute mother figure after her own mother died. Unfortunately, the adopted mother figure was a rigid controller who set her eyes on Jenna to groom her into her position. Jenna’s father was too grief stricken to notice the damage being done to his young daughter. In Jenna’s youthful innocence she followed her future mother-in-law’s plan beautifully.
The story opens years later with Jenna fighting a chronic infection, struggling with her faith, facing infertility, and trying to please her domineering mother-in-law. The novel is a late-bloomer coming of age story as Jenna’s unhappiness forces her to face growth. But her weakness, and her mother-in-law fight her every step of the way.
Yttrup's strengths are many. Her writing is solid and full of senses. The book is a page turner, full of tension and unfurling plotlines that demand that the reader keep going, just one more chapter. Lost and Found Is written in several points of view, three first person and third person perspectives, which Yttrup juggled impressively. Each of the characters come alive and are a decent mix of brokenness and hopeful expectation. The subject matter is dealt with honestly and with respect for the process of letting go and letting God take control of lives and relationships. Emotional abuse and rigid control plays out in this novel. I found myself wanting to shake the abusive character who’s motivation was anything but love. Other elements play out as well, a buried horrific abuse in a character’s past is revealed, drinking and alcoholism become issues as does the emptiness of materialism and chasing after money.
I struggled and grew frustrated with some of the characters. But that said, they were definitely three dimensional. I also didn’t love the summary ending. After immersion into the characters’ lives during some heavy trials, the ending takes place after some dust has settled months after an explosion point. This isn’t a light read and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is sensitive to rawness and intense emotion and the reality that people are a mess. There is a heavier spirituality that may ruffle a few feathers for readers who love a simple salvation plan. And those who don’t want God in their fiction will want to avoid it, because He is a key character.
I will read Yttrup again.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer