Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton – Wonderful, lovely, I didn’t want the story to end!

Can I say that an author is one of my favorites after reading only one of her books, Hurricane Season?  Maybe not, but I was excited at the opportunity to read Lauren K. Denton’s newest book Glory Road.

I absolutely loved this book!  Lauren has a way of writing and helping you to see the beauty in the everyday ordinary life.  From the people to the places and the beauty of creation.

Glory Road takes place in Alabama and tells the story of Jessie who is a single mom, her 14-year-old daughter Evan and her Mom Gus.  Following her divorce, Jessie moved back home to Perry where she grew up.  Her home is next door to her Mother’s house and right next door to her garden shop the Twig on an old dirt road.  It’s summertime and Evan will be starting in high school come September.  Gus seems to be having some episodes of confusion and forgetfulness and Jessie is worried that it may be something serious.  Jessie is content with her life the way it is and she’s not looking to make changes or room for romance.  But sometimes God brings people and changes into our lives when we don’t feel ready.

What did I love about Glory Road?  I loved the characters, especially Jessie and her relationship with her daughter Evan and Mom Gus and their love, kindness and caring for one another.  I loved the relationships between Jessie and Ben and Jessie and Sumner.  I loved the relationship between Evan and Nick who takes after his father Ben.  Lauren has a way of writing that is almost poetic or lyrical.  She captures the character’s thoughts and feelings in a thought-provoking way that caused me to reflect on my own life.  She also paints lovely word pictures of the places, indoors and outdoors, that helps the reader to imagine what it looks like.  She does that without being too wordy or letting words get in the way of the reader’s imagination.  I really enjoyed the quotes on gardening at the beginning of each chapter.

On a more serious note, as someone whose parent had Alzheimer’s I appreciated the way Gus’ life and experiences were handled.  It helped me to see how scary it must be for the person experiencing forgetfulness and for the family who sees it and are unsure on how to handle it.  That part of the story rang a little too close to home.

There’s only one mention of God in the book, other than two phrases that use the name of God.  Even though God, Christianity, and faith were not specifically mentioned I had the feeling that faith undergirded the character’s lives.  I would like to have seen elements of faith as part of the storyline but greatly appreciated a clean novel.

I absolutely loved Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton.  It’s a wonderful, lovely book that leaves you wanting the story to continue on.  Lauren is on my short list of writers that when they write a new book, I want to be sure to read it.

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookLook for the opportunity the read Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

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Five Minute Friday – What’s in a Name?

I’m participating in this week’s Five Minute Friday writing challenge.  If you like to write or need some inspiration and encouragement be sure to check it out.

Today word prompt:  Name

For the first 3 months of my life I didn’t have a name because I was given up for adoption at birth.  On my original birth certificate, it only recorded my birth mother’s last name.  Legal paperwork recorded my name as Baby Girl Dawson.

Three months later, my parents Frank and Gayle Bunts adopted me and I was given the name Susan Harriett Bunts.  From that day on, I was someone’s daughter and sister to my brothers Michael and Patrick.

My first name was given by my brother Michael.  He had a girlfriend named Susan and later he had a cow that he named Suzy.  The name Susan means lily and is of Hebrew origins.  When I think of a lily, I think of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The name Harriett was the name of my father’s mother whom he loved greatly.  Harriett is French and means home ruler which is kind of appropriate because I love being home.  “There’s no place like home.”

At the age of 49, I was given a new last name when I married Christopher Wachtel and I was welcomed into the Wachtel family.  I wish I had the opportunity to meet my in-law Leo and Ruth Wachtel.  I look forward to meeting them in heaven.  In the mean time I am blessed to know the rest of the Wachtel family.

Even though I’ve lived with those names for many years, the name I value most is Christian.  At the age of 32, I finally recognized that I was a sinner and repented of my sin.  I recognized that there is a God to whom I will give an account and that He is the God of the Bible.  He made a way for me to be forgiven through His Son Jesus Christ and His sacrificial atoning death on the cross.  Christ’s death paid the penalty for my sin and for all who repent believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin.

God assures believers that He has called us by name.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
Isaiah 43:1 c-d

Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

Isaiah 43:7

Though I didn’t have a name for the first three months of my life, God knew me and He called me by name.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

Before God laid the foundations of the world, He knew and called me.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:3-6

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Romans 8:28-30

Though I did not have a name for the first three months of my life, God knew me, He knew my name and He called me to salvation through Jesus Christ.

Though I may have been considered an accident by my birth mother, God planned my life before He laid the foundations of the world.

When I think about who I am, first and foremost I think of myself as a Christian and that truth overshadows everything else in my life.