My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.
Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.
Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.
This was an intricate look at a new believer's path to overcoming her fears by confronting her past. Her MO to coping with her dysfunctional childhood and choices as a youth has been a mixture of fight or flight, but when devastation results from her actions, it's easier to run to escape the pain. Her journey of redemption is not an easy one and I felt the author portrayed all the aspects of the situation in a realistic way, not shying away from the grittiness but also maintaining an overall feeling of hope. I loved that Asher sees the real Katie, and is able to support her in her trials even as she unknowingly pulls him out of a fog of bitterness and despair. Even though they are both flawed, they are wonderful examples of how God can transform us when we turn to Him and make courageous decisions to bring about change in our lives.
(Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)