I was given a copy of the book by the author’s publicist. If you dismiss Christian fiction as sappy or shallow or “chick lit,” you’ll miss really fine books like this one. It isn’t really a romance. It’s certainly not women’s fiction. Several male characters get a lot of ink, men flawed, fine, and being refined.
It’s mostly about loss. Lizzie and Jeffrey have each lost something. As they deal with their losses they either create storms or calm them. There are real, physical storms in the book (it takes place in Florida during hurricane season). But the storms and calms in people’s lives will keep readers guessing, about who will stir one up or calm one down next.
Lizzie is a wonderful character. She bakes cookies, dozens of them at a time. She stands up to selfish, irrational people on a daily basis and helps and comforts helpless ones at times. She works hard cleaning up some big messes, physical and spiritual. Her story reminded me of how God works to draw people to Himself and to clean them up. Lizzie has to deal with serious setbacks in the process, and so does God. She also has to just buckle down and ride out storms sometimes.
The author clearly loves creating characters, and if there’s a flaw in the story, it’s that some people detract a little from the main plot when they don’t seem that important. But it’s not confusing, not stuffed with characters a reader can’t begin to keep up with. There are some typos and homophone errors but they don’t detract that much.
There is a romantic aspect to the story and it was quite a surprise to me. Nobody goes through the book on a seesaw of attraction and repulsion. That is a big plus. I can’t stress enough that it’s not just a book for women. The portrayal of men is very different from the common “men are scum” or just plain weak or overly emotional. Strong men, good examples, men who love their wives are all here. So are men who are willing to learn and grow.