Title: Swimming in the Deep End
Author: Christina Suzann Nelson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Date: September 25, 2018
About the Book:
A moving novel entwining the many faces of motherly love
Jillian Cline has the perfect daughter: loving and smart, she’s an Olympic hopeful with a bright future. But when Izzy becomes pregnant, Jillian fears that future is lost. Worse, she must confront her own secret past and hope the decisions she’s made don’t drown their whole family.
Izzy can’t believe God let this happen to her. She knew the risks, but who thinks about that when they’re in love? Now she has to face the consequences–and the disappointed stares from everyone who thought she was the perfect Christian girl. At least she has the baby’s father, Travis. Nothing can tear them apart, right?
Margaret Owens had determined dreams for her son. She’s furious that Izzy’s pregnancy jeopardizes his college baseball scholarship and terrified that Travis will be trapped in a life of struggle and poverty–the life she’s tried so hard to save him from. She’ll do anything to protect him–even if it means forcing him to leave Izzy.
Stacey Frey is aching for a child of her own. But the son she was meant to adopt was taken before she could hold him in her arms. It feels like she’ll never stop mourning; even the move to this new town hasn’t distracted her from the pain. How can she and her husband find peace? Is there any hope of a family in their future?
And in the midst of all this . . . an unborn baby. Whose arms will hold him in the end?
Wow, to call this book “moving” is an understatement! Don’t attempt to read this book without some tissues handy nearby! The characters are clearly going through the trenches, and the only way this story couldn’t affect you is if you never open it up. I literally needed a few moments to compose myself before considering writing my review. This is such a powerful story and absolutely one that won’t be forgotten.
A common theme throughout this story is that of regret. No one is immune from it. While the circumstances that produce it or the way they handle it may be different, the presence is clearly felt. One line that really stuck with me was “you’ve got to learn how to give up the guilt. It’s only good when it helps you make wise decisions. You can’t change the past” (loc 3935). How often do we look at our situations in life and dwell on our desire to wish we could change the past? It won’t do us any good and yet we find ourselves stuck in a never-ending cycle. It isn’t until we are able to fully let go and let God that we can begin to find healing.
Crisis pregnancy is nothing new. Without a doubt it has the ability to rip a family to shreds and leave permanent scars on those involved. Unfortunately the world preaches abortion as if it’s the simplest, most logical solution. What they don’t tell you is that often the guilt from such a horrible procedure, can leave the mother emotionally broken for the rest of her life. And here’s where my tears start back up. Yet when a mother makes the decision to parent or place her child in adoption–that’s where love shows through. I don’t know if the ministry home that the girls lived in in this story is real or not, but I do know places like it are truly in existence. It is because of a similar ministry that I have my husband and several sibs-in-law. His birth mother loved him enough to give him what she thought was his best chance in life. It wasn’t because of a lack of love, but because of the fullness of love, that she had him placed in my in-laws arms as a newborn baby. Knowing a bit of that, you can imagine what an emotional ride this book was for me!
It’s hard to share about this story without spoiling anything. In a very real way I’m still processing it, and dealing with leaking eyes. I know there are a lot of books that I sit here and recommend, but I honestly don’t think I can recommend this enough. It’s going straight into my favorites pile. It deals with some very difficult topics, but the process to redemption is fully worth the ride. If you give it a chance, this book will not leave you unchanged. Don’t forget the tissues but absolutely pick it up.
*I received a copy of this book through the author and JustRead Publicity Tours through NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story
Without a doubt this book hits into some very deep topics. Crisis pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, abortion, PPD, adoption, rape, teen pregnancy, death, estranged families, etc are all found woven into the pages. While I actually consider this a good read for teens (considering it’s about teen pregnancy)–I also think that it should be read along with a parent or other adult to process some of the emotions that are sure to arise.