Friday, February 20, 2009

"Tender Grace" Book Review and Giveaway!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tender Grace

Bethany House (February 1, 2009)


Jackina Stark


I had a hard time getting into this book. I have been blessed in the fact that I have never had a major personal loss in my life so I've never had to recover from that. I have never been thrown into the bottom of a deep, dark pit and had to scratch and claw my way back to the light. So while I am very grateful for that, it made it hard for me to connect with Audrey in the book.

Audrey has lost her husband of many years and is now struggling with any reason to live. In an effort to find herself again she goes on a cross country trip to a place she and her husband always said they would go and never did. In the process she meets people that help her and people that she helps. She reconnects with old friends and makes new ones. She misses Tom and is able to say good-bye finally. It is a beautiful story of finding hope in a dark place. It is written in a diary style that was a little hard to get into at the beginning but then becomes natural as we go. I saw another reviewer say that this book really helped them let go of a divorce they went through. I hadn't thought of it that way, but I could see this book being a real healing for people post divorce as well.


I will be doing a drawing for a copy of "Tender Grace" and if you would like to be entered please leave a comment and tell me what you need to heal from or if you know someone that would benefit from this book. I will enter you in the drawing - Good luck!


I have also spoken nationally and internationally at many retreats and seminars and enjoy running into many readers and former students. I have written frequently for both Christian Standard and Lookout, periodicals of Standard Publishing. Years ago I wrote two non-fiction books, published by College Press, but currently out of print. These days, I’m exploring fiction. My first novel, Tender Grace, will be released by Bethany House January 30, 2009, and a second, Things Worth Remembering, will be released in October, 2009. I’m working on new projects, including a third novel, as time permits. Whether speaking or writing, I love the opportunity to tell about Him whom Jesus called “Holy Father” and “the only true God.”

She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, and she spends most of her free time doing is reading and writing. That is what she usually do when she's not teaching, enjoying the children and grandchildren, or sitting on the back porch drinking a Diet Coke and watching her husband till the garden!


Audrey Eaton awakes at three in the morning and gets up to retrieve her husband, Tom, from the recliner where he has fallen asleep watching a ball game. But when she enters the living room and looks at his gentle face in the soft lamp light, she knows their time together is over. Grief attacks her until all she can think about is how much she wants her old life back. Determined to find healing, she embarks on a journey to the one place Tom and she always intended to visit but never did. Along the way, she discovers, through shared experiences with friends old and new, the meaning of the "tender graces" God provides each and every day.

I've quit reading--even bestsellers, even the newspaper, even my Bible. I've also quit listening to music. This lack of appreciation for things I once loved is beginning to define me. More mornings than I can count, I say to myself before I open my eyes, "I don't want to do this." In the days shortly following Tom's death, that made sense, but what does it mean now? That I'm in trouble? One of the best qualities of the former me was thankfulness. As I was trying to sleep last night, needing Tom to be curled up behind me, his left arm slung across me, I realized to my horror that I couldn't remember the last time I was truly thankful. I think of a line from an old hymn: "Awake, my soul, and sing." I miss Tom. I also miss me. Determined to find healing, Audrey Eaton embarks on a trip to the one place she and her husband always intended to visit but never did. When things don't go as planned, will she embrace the unexpected graces that guide her journey?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tender Grace, go HERE


MJ said...

My Mom passed away last Sunday. Even though I know she's in Heaven and healed, I'm still hurting, I could really use this book right now.

Stacie said...

My mom lost her dad this year and she would benefit from this book.

AmandaSue said...

I have had alot of loss in my life so I feel I can relate to this book and the character. My husband left me and I'm still trying to heal from that even though its been a few years. Thanks for entering me.

Lindsey said...

After seeing that MJ's mom passed away, my hurts seem small. I don't really want to put details here, but a dear friend of mine and I have had problems. Things are better now, but it's a time thing... thanks for the giveaway!

ladyufshalott at

Sherrylinn said...

A dear friend from church moved a few hours south with her family and then suddenly passed away at the tender age of 35. Several of us could use this even though we know she's in Heaven.

Thanks for the chance to win.

traveler said...

Thanks for featuring this book. It is amazing how resilent the human can be. I lost my husband who was 56 years old suddenly last summer. I have begun to put the pieces of my life back together although it hasn't been easy. I am still lonely and miserable but have a roof over my head and am a teacher. Otherwise I know that life is a struggle through which we have to strive.

Debdesk said...

This is so hard for me. I lost my brother on Dec 11th of natural causes. He was only 43 and just did not wake up that morning. There is nothing anyone can say at this point of my life to make okay.

Please include me in your drawing.


windycindy said...

I can identify with this book! If not from depression that I have dealt with for years, then when I lost my only brother and mother 4 months apart. I would like to read this book. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

darbyscloset said...

A friend of mine is recovering from an addiction and see's little life in life after her addiction. This book sounds like it would be a good book to give her hope in herself and in helping others through her experiences.
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Sarah said...

My friend lost her Dad and is having a really hard time with it right now. I would love to give this book to her.

Anonymous said...

I still need to heal from losing both parents -- and more recently, two senior dogs two years ago. *Thanks* for the giveaway!


Carole said...

This is the type of book I enjoy, so I would read it first. Then I would pass it on to my sister-in-law. We rejoiced with her when she and her husband traveled to Indonesia in 1982 and adopted a precious 3-month old baby girl. Dawn has been the light of their life for 26 years - and then she died from cancer in 2008. I believe this is a book my sister-in-law and best friend would benefit from.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

anne said...

I lost my mother suddenly and this was devastating by its unexpectedness since she was well and young. Then a week later my aunt died. Two funerals a week apart and my entire family gone. Having to cope with htis has been hard but I realize that I am blessed with great memories. Thanks.

Lora Lease said...

I have lived through a lot of really hard/dark times in my past (from early childhood up to the present). I have had victory in all of these, until one newly reopened area... my dad pretty much abandoned me and my sister when we were young children, and we've had very little to no contact with him over the years. I was thrilled to finally get a phone call from him recently, then plunged into the pit of despair when he told me he had only called to let me know he was changing his phone number & address, and they would all be unlisted... as he wanted NO contact with me and my sister- EVER again. Oh, the pain this has caused. I thought I was okay with the whole abandonment thing, but now I'm having to go through the whole grieving & healing process again. I'm spending a lot of time crying, and feel like a silly child, but I know that God is good- and am so thankful that He is my TRUE and FOREVER Father! :)

Anonymous said...

One of my best friends has had a tough, tough 13 months. Her longterm relationship ended unexpectedly, then she had a new relationship that sprang up quickly but seriously and it didn't work out in the end, either. Right now she is so depressed and having trouble believing that God still loves her. She lives several hours away so there is only so much I can do from a distance... I keep pointing her to God because it is only when she trusts Him again that she'll find healing. Maybe this book would help her! Thanks.


hippmom said...

I know God is still helping me to learn to trust people after my divorce. It is only with His love and grace that I will be able to open up my heart again. I know it will happen in His timing.

Thanks, Janna, for a chance at thsi book.

Anonymous said...

I have been lucky so far not to experience tremendous loss, but I do know people who have who would benefit! Thanks!

Jo said...

I have experienced tremendous loss in losing both of my parents on the same day 9 years apart


luv2read said...

I need to heal from broken family. spowell01(at)

Anonymous said...

I have had several major losses of people in my life over the years and books like this are so healing. I will share it with both of my girlfriends who have lost children.

Gayla Collins

Judy Gann said...

I've lost a couple of people in my life this year, as well as in previous years. I'd love a copy of this book.

Judy Gann

Abi said...

I'd love to win this book. Thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Janna said...

The winner is...


but since she did not leave an email for me the runner-up is judy gann. If traveler does not contact me by Wednesday then I will give the book to judy.