Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Test of Faith by Christa Allan

Christa Allan won me over when I first read, "Walking on Broken Glass". She didn't just touch my heart. She reached in and changed my soul. Still today that is a favorite of mine. It sits high upon my book shelf. Now, "Test of Faith", will sit next to it. 

When I realized Christa had a new release I knew I wanted to read it. She writes with passion. She takes the reader on a journey. Many times I find myself within her words, weaved into her story. Once again she has brought a novel that moves the reader. 

The cover caught my eye. A classy woman, dressed in beauty, bow and all, with a hidden photo behind her. Oh, this is so telling of the story. The characters are so realistic and their lives are transparent only to us. They are like you and me. They live in a facade. They dress so the world sees perfection. The hide the pain of the past and try to pretend it never existed. But it did. It has a lasting impact on their lives. 

Secrets that go untold will one day be revealed in such a way that will impact not only our life, but the lives of those we love so very much. Are we willing to accept the truth? With Elle we see that battle. We are up close and personal with Elle. I loved her character. I may not be able to relate to a woman on a campaign trail, but I can relate to a woman striving for perfection. Wanting to please everyone and be accepted. Her mother in law holds the bar high for her. I must admit that at first I didn't much like her mother in law, Martha. Queen of showing up just at the right time. Always wearing the perfect dress and always knowing just what to share. But later in the story we see a different side to Martha. A more gentle and compassionate woman appears. She and Elle connect in ways that Elle never expected. You gotta love when God works like that in our life. 

Elle's husband, Logan, loves her very much. His character was self absorbed to me. I see a man who gets off track and losses focus of what's truly important. To him nothing comes before the campaign and all Elle wants to do is protect him. Her love for him begins very early, but somehow she never feels that she can compete with all he desires. But in Logan we too see a change.  God has a way of doing that when our circumstances change. 

We see Elle's and Logan's marriage face a trial that shakes them to the core. This was one aspect of the story I loved. Both of these people brought into their marriage a past that neither was willing to share openly. They trusted one another, but for different reasons kept things buried deep. They wanted to protect not only themselves, but each other. I love that those things they both feared are the very things that bring them together. 

One of the characters I admired was Elle's sister, Cam. She is that sister, that friend, that every girl needs in their corner. Encouraging and always truthful. 

I struggled with liking Elle's mother. We all know someone like her. Judgmental and forever protecting the cover of the family. She and Martha, so different, but yet, in many ways alike. 

This novel flowed with ease. Once I began reading I realized this was an unputdownable read! Christa has the gift for not only keeping the novel flowing, but knowing just when to take the reader off course and on a roller coaster of emotions. 

I usually read the back cover to gain some idea of what the story is about. With this novel I didn't do that.  I let the cover speak to me. That could add to reasons why I loved it so much. Yes, this is definitely a novel to pass on into the hands of your girlfriends. 

What can I take away? Our choices are everything. Honesty is powerful and life giving. Secrets keep us in chains. And, no matter who you are or what you are doing, always be true to yourself. 

This novel was a gift from Christa Allan for sharing my review with you. This novel is published by Abingdon Press

Christa Allan is a true Southern woman who knows any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and that one never wears white after Labor Day. Christa weaves stories of unscripted grace with threads of hope, humor, and heart. The mother of five and grandmother of three, Christa just retired after more than twenty years as a high school English teacher. She and her husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana, where they play golf, dodge hurricanes, and enjoy retirement. Visit Christa online at ChristaAllan.com.


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