Christian fiction's author captures the tangled skeins of family perfectly
Apr 13, 2009
<br/>Sweetwater Gap by Denise Hunter is a powerful story about redemption and God's love for us. Josie Mitchell is forced to return home to save the family apple orchard. Her sister is pregnant with twins and can't do the heavy work that needs to be done to keep the business going. Orchard manager Grady MacKenzie isn't happy to see Josie who he views as a flighty, city girl with no business butting into his life. While this sounds like a normal set up for lots of Christian romances books, this book is anything but typical. Josie has been diagnosed with an illness that leaves her future up in the air, and the choices she's made are ones that will make the readers want to cry and tear their hair out. Josie is an extremely frustrating character at first, but when Hunter reveals the truth behind her self-loathing and despair, I was moved to tears. The scene in the cemetery was one of the most moving I've ever read, and I could hardly breathe around the lump in my throat. Who hasn't felt unworthy of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross? Anyone who has ever felt this way will ache for Josie. Grady is a great romantic hero, but it's his faith that makes him stand out (and Hunter describes his appearance as a bit like Sawyer from Lost). This is the rare novel that will stick with you long after you've put it down.