Grace in the Desert, by Christine Dillon (Links in the Chain Press, 2020)
Everyone else has forgiven her father, but Rachel can’t. Or won’t, despite her grandmother’s pleas. But what if that’s the very thing keeping her from forgiving herself?
Pete, the other key character, is slowly finding his way after a devastating loss. He finds himself still battling perceptions and ideas that would lock him in his pain.
A fun secondary character in the novel is Josh, a young man with Down Syndrome who works at the plant nursery with Rachel and Pete. His gentle heart makes him a good friend to them both, and I appreciated the way readers are given the chance to learn a bit about the struggles a real-life person like Josh would face.
Readers will also enjoy some vicarious travel in Australia—always a bonus!
Each novel in the Grace series has encouraged my faith life, and Grace in the Desert is no exception. I actually felt the delivery wasn’t as engaging in this one, with more talking and describing than action. I’d have preferred to read a few events, like Pete’s hospital conversation, as they happened in the novel’s timeline instead of as told later by the characters.
Readers will find a few possible takeaways with this story. What impacted me most was one character’s challenge not to feel sorry for himself or frustrated about a particular situation but instead to ask how God might want to work through him there.
Author Christine Dillon has released a companion nonfiction book to further address one of the other issues raised in this story. Sword Fighting: Applying God’s Word to Win the Battle for Our Mind takes a deeper, practical look at how Christians can use biblical truths to defeat the lies that often bind us.
There are now five books in the Grace series. For more about Christine Dillon, this series, and her other work, visit storytellerchristine.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]