In these three inspirational novels, characters return home to face their past, seek forgiveness and renew hope for the future. Sometimes going back is the only way to move forward.
HEALING IN THE PAST AND PRESENT
In bestselling author Rachel Hauck’s latest novel, The Wedding Shop, veteran Haley Morgan returns home to Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, to heal after her deployment and the end of a destructive relationship. There, she rediscovers a local wedding shop, a place she and her best friend, Tammy, dreamed of restoring to its former glory. Haley decides to fulfill that childhood dream. Her story alternates with one set in the early 1930s, when Cora Scott, the original owner of The Wedding Shop, finds purpose as a working woman. Though Cora longs for a happy ending, she may be overlooking a love that’s right in front of her.
Haley’s trust in God is encouraging and uplifting, and Hauck gives Heart’s Bend an authentic history, providing a charming setting. Hauck switches easily between past and present, bringing two heartfelt journeys to a poignant culmination.
NEVER TOO FAR GONE
In his 12th novel, Long Way Gone, Charles Martin deftly retells the story of the prodigal son. From the remote Colorado mountains to the music-obsessed streets of Nashville, Cooper O’Connor carries his father’s words in his heart and a beloved six-string guitar in his hands.
After reaching Nashville, Cooper realizes that stardom is not readily achieved. Once he hits rock bottom, Cooper looks back to his father’s words and up to God, both cast aside in his bid for stardom.
Whether portraying a soul-shattering betrayal or a bittersweet reunion between lovers, Martin sustains a realistic yet hopeful atmosphere. Best of all is the heart-wrenching relationship between Cooper and his father.
A PROMISE OF HOME
What at first appears to be a story of childhood love is actually a tale of secrecy, sacrifice and family. Chris Fabry’s The Promise of Jesse Woods details a life-changing summer. In 1972, new to the town of Dogwood, West Virginia, pastor’s son Matt finds common ground with two other outcasts: Jesse Woods, a girl from a poor family, and Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy. Matt forms a particularly quick bond with Jesse, whom he is determined to protect, no matter the personal cost. A serious trauma severs Matt and Jesse’s friendship, and after years of silence, he must return to understand what else was lost that summer.
Matt’s strong voice is rivaled only by Jesse’s resolve, and readers will cheer her fortitude. This poignant story is worth the heartache: Complex and layered, The Promise of Jesse Woods goes beyond a youthful promise to center on a bond renewed by a desire for truth.