September brings cooler, crisper air to revive our senses, and these three inspirational works are sure to revive our souls. From Mitford to Paris, Oregon to England, these novels explore the calming nature of faith.
Jennie Pickett, an Oregon frontier woman balancing her family and a dream, stands tall as the heroine of Jane Kirkpatrick’s All She Left Behind. Bestselling author of more than 30 books, Kirkpatrick masterfully weaves the ups and downs of Jennie’s life with real events in the late 19th century, creating a story that inspires us while we travel with Jennie down a trail filled with difficulties, decisions and desires.
Gifted in homeopathic remedies, Jennie knows that God has called her to do more with her gift; however, women have limited rights in the 1870s, and Jennie has learning difficulties. She’ll need her faith and ferocity as she handles each obstacle in her way.
Kirkpatrick captivates with a straightforward perspective of the traumatic effects of addiction on a family. Jennie deals with her first husband’s decline into alcohol and drug abuse, doing her best to salvage their marriage and understand her husband’s demons. When the marriage ends in disaster, Jennie rises above her circumstances to begin a new life.
Jennie’s second marriage to a prominent pastor propels her into a journey of self-healing as she works toward her dream of healing others. Kirkpatrick powerfully connects her 19th-century heroine to women of today through descriptions of Jennie’s struggles to find time for both family and career, and the way in which she ultimately finds peace through the power of faith and healing.
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
In her latest novel, The Space Between Words, Michèle Phoenix beautifully entwines the lives of Jessica, a survivor of the 2015 Paris terror attacks, and Adeline, a victim of Protestant persecution in 17th-century France.
Jessica’s trip to visit her best friend, Patrick, leaves her hollow after she watches dozens of concertgoers suffer and die during the horrific shooting. After, she no longer finds joy in her life—only fear. Patrick, never fearful or lacking enthusiasm, encourages her to move past the terror and begin their planned antique treasure hunt in the French countryside.
The journey of healing begins when Jessica finds an antique sewing box—or the box finds her—and she follows centuries-old clues to determine the fate of Adeline’s family. Along the way, Jessica struggles to understand how anyone, at any time in history, can find God in their lives while mired in terror. Mysterious pages from an old Bible keep readers connecting clues from beginning to end, and the depth of Jessica’s despair keeps us rallying for her recovery.
Phoenix’s vivid descriptions of the brutality against French Protestants in the 17th century, as well as Jessica’s recollection of the bloodshed she witnessed at the theater, rivet us with a visceral understanding of the evil inflicted upon innocents during both eras. Until she can make sense of Adeline’s story, courage, wisdom and faith flutter just beyond Jessica’s grasp, weakening her ability to mend her own brokenness.
OUR FAVORITE FAMILY
Jan Karon never disappoints, and readers will devour the 14th book in the bestselling author’s heartwarming Mitford series. To Be Where You Are cheerfully takes us back to mingle with the Kavanagh family and the other residents of Mitford, a small Southern town with its share of troubles—which are always manageable through a little love and lots of prayer.
Father Tim Kavanagh—retired, quick-witted prayer partner to Mitford’s residents—and his wife, Cynthia, guide three generations of their family in this inspirational collection of events, all filled with Karon’s loving attention to detail.
Between these pages, Father Kavanagh steps into a new career; the newspaper editor struggles to revive the romance in his marriage; and plans for the Christmas parade, held on a nontraditional date, prove alarming. Dooley and Lace—newlyweds now handling Meadowgate Farm, a vet practice and their 4-year-old—keep us cheering them on despite the ripple effects of a lost cell phone, stressful emergencies with animals and a building crisis, all while they plan a party to end all parties for their son.
Karon satiates her fans’ craving for more Mitford with these stories of grace and compassion, all told with a dose of humor and humility.