Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

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One moment, Olivia Kavanaugh is preparing to walk down the aisle and embrace her own happily ever after. The next, she learns that her fiancé, Wyatt Hammond, has been in a fatal car accident. Then comes a startling discovery: Wyatt’s car wasn’t heading toward the church. He was fifty miles away…with a baby gift in the backseat.

Her faith shaken, Olivia pores over the clues left behind, desperate to know where Wyatt was going that day and why. As she begins uncovering secrets, she also navigates a tense relationship with her judgmental mother and tries to ignore the attentions of a former boyfriend who’s moved back home. But when she starts receiving letters written by Wyatt before his death, she must confront a disturbing question: Can we ever know anyone fully, even someone we love?

When an unexpected path forward—though nothing like the life she once envisioned—offers the promise of a new beginning, will she be strong enough to let go of the past and move toward it?


I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Waterfall Press.

With a blurb like that, how could I resist this book?!

Olivia’s life has been turned upside down with Wyatt’s death, and the mystery surrounding where he was going—and why—on the morning of their wedding. She’s still in the raw, early stages of grief when she’s dealt more shocking news. Needing her family more than ever, she’s deeply hurt by her mother’s rigid attitude and lack of support at a time when she needs her mother more than ever.

Olivia’s mother is noteworthy because she is the first Christian fiction character I ever read whom I disliked intensely due to her interpretation of her faith. That’s not to say I didn’t understand how she could be the way she was, because I did. Still, it didn’t make her a very likable character, in my opinion. But maybe that was the point?

The slow reveal of what Wyatt was doing on the day he died was very well done. I liked how—through his posthumously-delivered letters to Olivia—we were able to get into his head and understand why he chose to do what he did, and why he kept it hidden from her.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this story, but I did find myself somewhat irritated with the ending. All I could think was:  Hasn’t that poor woman been through enough already?! It felt like an easy solution to a sticky faith-related topic, and I didn’t care for it. I will allow, however, that it wasn’t a situation out of the realm of possibility… it worked. But I still didn’t like it.

Author: Christa Allan

Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Published: October 11th 2016 by Waterfall Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Review: Long Time Coming by Vanessa Miller

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Deidre Clark-Morris is a faithful Christian who has everything she could dream of, except the children her heart longs for. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty all her life. She has three children by three different men and has just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. While the meeting between these two women appears accidental, it becomes their catalyst of hope. Neither woman expects the blessing that God has in store for her. While Deidre guides Kenisha on the path to eternal life with Jesus Christ, Kenisha teaches Deidre how to stand strong against the storms of life.

 

This book was heartbreaking and joyous at the same time. It was extremely well written. The struggles Deidre and Kenisha faced, and the strength they meet them with, grabs your heart and refuses to let go.

Overall, a most excellent book that is impossible to put down. I would definitely read more of this author’s work.

Author: Vanessa Miller

Title: Long Time Coming

Published: March 1, 2010 by Abingdon Press

Rating: ★★★★★

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This review was originally published on Goodreads on February 25, 2015.