Title: Grace in Strange Disguise
Author: Christine Dillon
Series: Grace #1
Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Date: October 1, 2017
About the Book:
Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her.
After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations.
Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart?
Take a moment and just think about the first line before continuing: “You have cancer.”
Try imagining how you would react if you heard those words! On Friday I featured this story for my First Line Friday post. I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I was able to pick the book up a few days later.
Esther’s father William is the father of Victory Church (in Australia), and her fiancee is the youth pastor and expected successor of her father. It’s your typical “Health and Wealth Megachurch.” It’s not until Esther is diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, that she begins to realize that she hasn’t seen the full picture of what true Christianity is, and what the real cost is of being a follower of Christ.
It’s in the hospital that she meets a cleaning lady named Joy who points her to the real Christ. While thinking aloud “Why God? Why have you allowed this? Why haven’t you healed me as you’ve promised?” She then hears “do you think God promised to heal everyone?” Joy then shares a few stories from the Bible that show the error of that type of thinking. I don’t want to share too much about this because I feel it’s important to read it as you dig into the story, but just know that I personally found Joy to be my favorite character in the story. Her testimony she shares is remarkable and gives a life to the story that wouldn’t exist if she wasn’t developed to be exactly who she was.
Even though the main character has cancer and is dealing with some very heavy stuff, I wouldn’t label this a “tear-jerker.” Instead, the book is more about Esther questioning the depth of her faith while in times of struggle. It’s about her getting to know the real Jesus, and sharing that knowledge with others.
Believe it or not the hardest part of sharing about this book is not giving too much away. This book really digs to the core of a person’s faith and challenges them to seek the truth of God’s Word for themselves and not blindly follow men who believe they have all the answers. One of the most dangerous things a church can do is spread false teaching by twisting the scriptures and teaching them out of context. Why? Because the Bible is a whole picture. It’s either all good and true, or it’s all rubbish. You can’t pick and choose what you want to believe and what you don’t. Either God is who He says He is, or He isn’t. Jesus didn’t promise a prosperous and pain-free life. Instead he tells us to expect suffering and persecution if we are believers.
A lot can be learned from this book. I highly recommend it for book clubs as I believe it can spark some very good conversation. It’s one of the books that leaves you in the “book fog,” needing to take time to process everything. There were numerous quotes that I highlighted throughout the entire book. Christine has a real way with words!
This book is absolutely being added to my favorites pile. I really can’t say enough good things about it or recommend it enough. If you haven’t read it yet, you should! This was the first book I’ve read by Christine Dillon, but I certainly hope to read more in the future!
*I was given a free copy of the book from the author in hopes of an honest review. I was not obligated to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness: This book is written for adults, but could also be read by younger readers. It does talk about some difficult topics though, so I recommend parents be aware of maturity. The book is more difficult because of the emotions it brings out, not necessarily the content itself. It’s probably best recommended for 15 and up.