I'm not a huge fan of the trend of blending fiction and counseling that I'm noticing. First, it was Gary Smalley teaming up with Karen Kingsbury (fans of Karen: put down those tomatoes:-). Then, it was Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer. Something I've tagged, "life lesson lit".
So, when I saw this new series by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn, I was skeptical and almost said, "Pass."
What a HUGE mistake that would have been!
Fortunately for me, and for you, I've been a huge fan of Nancy Rue's writing for some time (if you haven't read "Pascal's Wager" or "Tristan's Gap", get thee to a Christian bookstore NOW!). And I've loved Steve Arterburn ever since hearing him speak at a Women of Faith event I attended with my mom and my sister years ago (I think my mom fell in love with him---I mean, his wise counsel!).
So, I grabbed up a copy of "Healing Stones" and settled in for a life lesson couched in fiction. Instead, I met a family in pain that melded to my heart and had me in tears and in prayer, thinking of people I know whose lives are torn apart by sin and how I can offer them Jesus' gift of forgiveness instead of the enemy's condemnation.
In one instant, Demitria Costanas has everything in her life ripped from her: her job, her marriage, her family and her self-respect--leaving her torn, ravaged and bleeding. A supposed seed of momentary pleasure and worth has left her reaping a crop of destruction that seems neverending
She becomes a modern day Hester Prynne, wearing the scarlet letter "A" for all to see (read "The Scarlet Letter"--or ask a friend). But unorthodox psychologist Sullivan Crisp begins the healing process in her life...and ultimately finds his own much needed healing in the process.
Still, questions remain. Who was behind Demi's secret coming to light? Will her husband ever forgive, or never forget? What is Christopher's problem (oh, how I wanted to smack him!), and how has this affected her precious baby girl, Jayne? Can ANYONE in this novel learn to put down their stones and forgive?
With unforgettable characters and true to life situations, this powerful novel grips you from the first page and doesn't release it's hold until the final climatic scene. And do NOT make the assumption you have all the pieces in place...this duo knows how to write, and they aren't afraid to toss a curve ball in now and then--and they all are very nicely done, I might add!
Ultimately, Nancy and Stephen perfectly blend story and counsel to remind us what it is to truly be forgiven, and what it is to truly forgive. The story is so engaging and page-turning you simply forget you're getting counseling as an added bonus:-)
Even more exciting...this is going to be a series with Dr. Sullivan Crisp, and I just love that guy! His unique brand of counseling adds humor and wit--I only wish we had more psychologists like Sully around.
So, I'm giving "Healing Stones" six out of five bookmarks, with a firefighter's helmet as a charm...in honor of those who sacrificed on 9/11 and those who continue on in the face of great loss. In fact, I'm voting "Healing Stones" the "Best Life Lesson Lit of 2008"!!
Oh, I almost forgot....want to win a copy? Leave me a comment and I just might draw your name...I'll pick a winner next Tuesday (hopefully, I'll remember:-)