The "Writing Sisters," Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, penned The Shepherd's Song, scheduled to release March 11th, around a prayer drenched Psalm from the Old Testament. It's an inspirational narrative of chance and change that "links lives and hearts with it's simple but beautiful message."
The story begins with Kate McConnell, a wife and mother who regains consciousness to hear the ambulance medic give a "critical assessment" of her vital signs to the emergency room doctors. In coming days newspapers would report Kate was part of the "worst traffic accident ever on I-95 between Washington D.C. and Baltimore," that involved "twenty-five cars, six semis and one bus."
Kate's last memory was "the sounds of breaking glass and crunching metal" then a "crushing pain in her chest and down her right leg" before she lost consciousness. When she came to in the ambulance she felt restraints on her wrists as blood pooled beneath her. The medic's calm transmission of vital signs made her wonder if she was going to die and she prayed, "Please, let my life count."
While the ambulance sped toward the hospital Kate remembered carefully copying Psalm 23 onto the scrap of paper she slipped into her son Matt's coat pocket, hoping he would read it. She had prayed long "over each phrase" she wrote, then had forgotten to take the paper from Matt's coat pocket when she left the coat to be cleaned.
That's what prompted her to go back. Kate couldn't know how God would use her carefully, prayerfully scripted words in the weeks ahead. Thus begins a story within stories of lives forever changed as Kate's handwritten scrap of paper travels around the globe. Through a narrative that begins with Kate and ends with Kate, her son Matt and husband, John among other brief narratives sandwiched in between.
Readers meet Chris, an employee of the cleaners who emptied Matt’s coat pocket and read the first verse of Psalm 23—I shall not want that brought the unexpected into his life. Then there's Private Johnson, a veteran in therapy with Doctor Mitchell, who's frozen in a life-changing moment of combat who reads the words from verse two—He makes me lie down in green pastures.
Or Nadia in Turkey, whose brother translated the Psalm as their family ran from the "horror of war." While the Haboob, a stinging sandstorm, adding meaning to verse three—He leads me beside still waters. These and many more richly drawn narratives reveal people powerfully changed by Kate's prayer filled words from the most beloved Psalm in the Bible.
Although the book is a quick read, the stories important message teaches God uses what might be considered our most insignificant words, gestures and actions to affect the lives of others. It might be as simple as smiling at a stranger, giving a tip of the hat or the wink of an eye. Or taking the time to make that phone call, fix a meal for someone or sending a card just to say, "I'm thinking of you." If you, like Kate, wonder whether your life has meaning "The Shepherd's Song" is a must read.
***Check the list for more excellent spring 2014 titles***
'The Shepherd's Song: A Story of Second Chances' by Betsy Duffey & Laurie Myers, Howard Books, Hardback, March 11, 2014, 240 Pages, 978-1476738208, $19.99
Shortly before suffering a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote the simple but powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper to give to her wayward and confused son. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. . . . As she loses consciousness from her injuries, she wonders if she’s done enough with her life.
When a lonely dry-cleaning employee finds Kate’s humble, handwritten copy of the psalm, it begins an incredible journey around the world, forever changing the lives of twelve very different people. From a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing with her family to Turkey, to a Kenyan runner about to begin the Rome Invitational Marathon, the power of the ancient words begins to take shape in various ways, drawing us into these stories inexplicably linked by the passing of the psalm from one recipient to the next.
Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God moves and changes lives through even our smallest actions.
Test of Faith, by Christa Allen
Elle Butler has managed to hold on to her politically-driven husband and her secrets until the unexpected happens. When one phone call rips her world apart, Elle will have to decide if the truth is worth the consequences. Especially when it threatens to destroy the world she's so carefully built around her life and her marriage.
The Wedding Dress, by Rachael Hauck
Four brides. One Dress.
A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?
Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new—shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”
Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history—and its new bride—begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.
“The story of four loveable women, miraculously bound by one gown, whose lives span a century . . . will take your breath away.” —Beth Webb Hart, bestselling author of Love, Charleston
Bridge to Haven, by Francine Rivers
To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.
To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.
In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.
Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked, by Lynn Austin
The opportunity to tour Israel came at a good time. For months, my life has been a mindless plodding through necessary routine, as monotonous as an all-night shift on an assembly line. Life gets that way sometimes, when nothing specific is wrong but the world around us seems drained of color. Even my weekly worship experiences and daily quiet times with God have felt as dry and stale as last year's crackers. I'm ashamed to confess the malaise I've felt. I have been given so much. Shouldn't a Christian's life be an abundant one, as exciting as Christmas morning, as joyful as Easter Sunday?
With gripping honesty, Lynn Austin pens her struggles with spiritual dryness in a season of loss and unwanted change. Tracing her travels throughout Israel, Austin seamlessly weaves events and insights from the Word . . . and in doing so finds a renewed passion for prayer and encouragement for her spirit, now full of life and hope.
What Follows After: A Novel, by Dan Walsh
In October 1962, Colt Harrison and his little brother, Timmy, hatched a plan. They would run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt's house in Savannah, Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents got back together. But things go terribly, terribly wrong. Colt's mother and father must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their broken marriage.
In this emotional story, Dan Walsh takes readers on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life--love, truth, and family.
Dance, The: A Novel (The Restoration Series 1), by Gary Smalley & Dan Walsh
Jim Anderson is a successful businessman, and his wife, Marilyn, is the perfect wife. And why wouldn't she be? He gives her everything she needs. That's why Jim never expected to come home one day and find Marilyn gone.
After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn has had enough of feeling unloved and neglected. She wants to experience some measure of happiness before she's too old to enjoy it, even signing up for dance lessons, something Jim would never do. What will it take for Jim to finally become the man Marilyn needs him to be?
Combining the literary talents of bestselling author Dan Walsh and the relationship expertise of bestselling author Gary Smalley, The Dance is the first novel in The Restoration Series. Readers will get caught up in these flawed but sincere members of the Anderson family as they rediscover genuine love and start a transformation that ultimately affects all of them.
Promise, The: A Novel (The Restoration Series 2) by Gary Smalley & Dan Walsh
For the last five months, Tom Anderson has been without a job, a fact he's been hiding from his wife Jean--and everyone else. He leaves each morning, pretending nothing has changed, and spends his disheartening day rotating through two coffee shops and the library, using their wi-fi to search for a job on the internet. The stress of keeping this secret is beginning to put serious strain on his marriage and it looks like the legacy that began with his father is still at work, slowly destroying the bond between Tom and Jean. Can their mutual trust--and love--be restored?
Combining the literary talents of Dan Walsh and the relationship expertise of Gary Smalley, The Restoration Series pulls back the curtain of a family that has laid their foundation on shifting sand, but is slowly rediscovering genuine love and the power of forgiveness.
The Reunion, by Dan Walsh
There are people in this world we pass right by without giving a second thought. They are almost invisible. Yet some of them have amazing stories to tell, if we'd only take the time to listen . . .
Aaron Miller was an old, worn-out Vietnam vet, a handyman in a trailer park. Forty years prior, he saved the lives of three young men in the field only to come home from the war and lose everything. But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life. Aaron is about to be found. And the one who finds him just might find the love of his life as well.
Expert storyteller Dan Walsh pens a new tale filled with the things his fans have come to love--forgiveness, redemption, love, and that certain bittersweet quality that few authors ever truly master. Fans old and new will find themselves drawn into this latest story about how God cares for everyone.