Monday, April 15, 2019

Grace in the Shadows

Grace in the Shadows, Christine Dillon

The excellent second instalment of Dillon’s planned trilogy was published last year and picks up where Grace in Strange Disguise finished.

Esther is back at work and living with Naomi. She has continued going to a smaller, bible teaching church, attending with good friend Gina. She regularly sees her mother, although they don’t talk much at depth. She occasionally sees her father, who wants her to return to Victory church. She still longs to have gospel conversations with those around her, and many of the characters of the previous book, including her doctor and other patients, are here as well.

In a separate story line, Rachel is almost 40 and works in the cosmetics department in David Jones. Her days are centred around maintaining her fitness and appearance, as well as pleasing the current man in her life. Yet Rachel feels empty. Nothing is quite as satisfying as she feels it should be. She keeps friends at arm’s length and makes sure she is never too vulnerable with anyone. Having rejected God many years before, she is frustrated to find herself constantly coming into contact with Christians, even though they are generous and kind.

I don’t want reveal any more as it would be a spoiler for how the book develops, but there is real depth to this story. In Grace in Strange Disguise, the main truth learnt was that God does not promise a perfect, easy life. In fact, his grace is truly found through the challenges that make us rely on him alone. In this book, the main message is that God does not condemn us and there is nothing that can separate from his love, no matter how many regrets we have about the way we have lived and the choices we have made.

Dillon uses the story telling method of telling bible truths again in this book, and there are great examples for believers of how this could be used well in sharing with unbelievers who are interested.

We were graciously given this second book by a family member, and both Mr 16 and Ms 14 were very keen to read it as soon as they saw it, having so enjoyed the first one. In fact, Mr 16 grabbed it and read it the whole way home on the flight. Like the first, this one is also suitable for teenagers, and although it covers some challenging topics, it’s done in a way that is honest, but not too descriptive.

My only thought is that like the first book, this one is very female-centric. There is one positive Christian male character, but overall those who have a strong faith or who return to faith are women. My gut feeling is that this could well change in the third book, but we’ll have to wait and see!

We were all very pleased to read this second book and look forward to the third.

No comments: