Title: Grace in the Shadows
Author: Christine Dillon
Series: Grace #2
Genre: Christian Fiction
Publishing Date: July 31, 2018
About the Book:
Physiotherapist Esther has survived cancer, but wounds within her family remain unhealed. Is her revived faith the reason for the rift or could a simmering secret be the root cause?
Cosmetics consultant Rachel buried her past – and her father’s God – but the past refuses to stay buried. Will she continue to run or is confronting her pain the way to freedom?
Two women. Two different lives.
One collision course with light and truth.
Can God’s grace shine even in the darkest shadows?
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so I was quite excited for the chance to get my hands on the second. Some of the moments that struck me the most are unfortunately ones you will need to read for yourself to discover because I would be spoiling if I did. I will do my best to share from what is safe to reveal.
I was honestly curious where Christine would take Esther’s character in this continuation. In Grace in Strange Disguise, Esther learns the hard way that the ‘Health and Wealth” teachings she’d heard her whole life, are not what the Bible reveals. In fact, we are actually informed to be prepared for suffering in this life for Christ’s sake. Her faith goes through some heavy testing in the first book, and she comes out with a more pure and realistic understanding of who God is. As this (the second) book starts out, Esther is in remission from her cancer, but is still struggling with conflict with her family. Her father appears to only be interested in her return to Victory church, while her mother is struggling with guilt over her life decisions and is hoping for peace. Esther hopes that her family can reconcile not only with her, but with the true God of the Bible.
Oftentimes in church, stories from the Old Testament are much less common to hear from than those of the New Testament. Sure, we’ve all heard the stories of Jonah and the whale and Daniel in the lion’s den as kids in Sunday school, but do we look at those stories as adults to gleam from them all that God has revealed to us? Do we think to study about not only what happened, but how or why it happened or what we can learn from it? In this series, Christine weaves stories from the Bible into the conversations of the story so that as the characters are processing what God reveals to them, the reader is able to get a fuller, deeper understanding as well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another author weave the Bible stories into their own in such a way, but I love how it was done. Esther’s character (along with others), is so saturated with God’s Word, that it pours out of her in every situation she faces. This is something that is so encouraging to see.
Rachel is a new character to the story. She has spent most of her life running while never feeling at rest. She is haunted by her past and she is fearful of her future. Growing up she was reminded constantly of her inability to be the perfect Proverbs 31 woman. As an adult she still struggles with the feelings that she doesn’t measure up to what she’s supposed to. She feels unwanted and unworthy. My heart really broke for her. In some ways though, I could see every other woman in her eyes. How often do we ourselves hear about the Proverbs 31 woman and punish ourselves for not measuring up? Whether it’s from others or self-imposed, we feel this constant need like we are supposed to be perfect in this life, and any flaw makes us the worst. It leaves us crippled to share when we need help or even just a shoulder to cry on momentarily. It divides us when we desperately need fellowship. Even if we can’t relate to Rachel specifically, I think we can all relate to the root of her feelings on a heart level.
As with the first book in this series, Grace in the Shadows did not disappoint. I would encourage you to get your hands on a copy of your own if you haven’t already. I highly suggest reading Grace in Strange Disguise first, as this is not a series that should be read as a stand-alone. Happy reading!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Awareness: As with the first book in this series, I would recommend for ages 15 and up. It touches on some difficult topics parents might want to be aware of. One character describes and is suffering from the guilt of an abortion. Considering the topic of cancer, there is quite a bit of discussion of life and death.