Sunday, November 17, 2013

To Know You by Shannon Ethridge

To Know You 
by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available October 2013
Thomas Nelson
368 pages

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About the Book
Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon's time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.

But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing? 

And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? 

Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them.

But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?

My Thoughts
I knew of Shannon Ethridge as a non-fiction writer. I was intrigued by her jump to fiction and curious as to what her story-telling style might be like. Oh my! I was completely blown away by To Know You!

While the story didn't take off and have me hanging on for dear life, I was immediately drawn into the plot. I was eager to see how Julia's story would intersect with her two daughters' lives and if the author would be able to pull off telling three distinct stories with three very diverse main characters. I loved how the author used "flash backs" to tell about Julia's past (and therefore Destiny and Chloe's past as well). And while there were a few times I had trouble making the POV switch, for the most part I was able to keep up. :)

To me, the best part of the book was the way the author made the characters come alive. I felt every bit of their emotions. At various times, I wanted to hug one character or shake another one senseless. It truly seemed as though I was reading about friends rather than paper people. 

At times, parts of the plot seemed a bit unrealistic ... perhaps it was "too much" to believe that all this could happen to one individual. But that didn't keep me from loving the story. Instead, it made me empathize even more with Julia and anxious to see her get her happy ending. (No spoilers here! You'll have to read and find out for yourself!)

The author tackles a wide range of pretty serious topics, including the serious illness of a child, organ donation, adoption, and sexual relationships outside of marriage. This book is probably better suited for mature readers.

I'm happy to give two thumbs up to this incredible book. While I don't keep many books on my "keeper" shelf, this one has earned its rightful place there! Highly, highly recommend!   [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Authors
Shannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, speaker, and certified life coach with a master’s degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to college students and adults since 1989 and is the author of 21 books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman's Battle series. She is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs and mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers.)

Shannon Ethridge Online
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