Book Recommendation: Reinventing Rachel by Alison Strobel

Reinventing Rachel

Back Cover blurb:

God let Rachel Westing down. For twenty-six years she’s done everything by the book; she figures He should have her back. But then she learns her fiancé is cheating on her. Her parents are getting a divorce. And her Christian mentor has a pill addiction. Where is God in all this? Nowhere, as far as Rachel can see. Wounded, bitter, and with a shattered faith, she quits her job and goes across the country to live with Daphne—her childhood best friend whose soul Rachel once thought she was meant to save.

Confident, successful, fun-loving Daphne sets about helping Rachel reinvent herself, and for a while it’s exciting. But when another tragedy shakes Rachel to the core, what little bit of self-possession she has left begins to unravel. A true-to-life story that will draw you in and keep you biting your nails until the end.

Narelle: I enjoyed reading this book despite not particularly liking the main character. At the start of the story Rachel comes across as shallow and naive. She views the non-church attending people in her life as potential ‘projects’ to convert rather than potential friends. Her world falls apart and her faith is shaken because God hasn’t given her a perfect life.

I struggled to identify with Rachel during the first few chapters because she acted like a spoilt princess and seemed to lack an understanding of how suffering is part of the Christian journey. I nearly put the book down but I was intrigued by the story premise. I’m glad I kept reading.

We journey with Rachel as she turns her back on her childhood faith. She explores a different world in Chicago that is foreign to her previously sheltered life experiences in California. Without her faith to define her decisions, Rachel struggles to build a meaningful new life. Tragedy strikes and Rachel is forced to evaluate the direction of her life. I recommend this book to those interested in reading a story that shows what could happen to young believers who fall away from a childhood faith that hasn’t prepared them to face real world challenges.

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The Agony of Lies (plus book giveaway)

by Laura O’Connell

I’m delighted to be here as your guest blogger today, Narelle. Thanks for having me.

‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive.’

This quote from Marmion, the poem of Scottish author and poet, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)  reminds us humans have lied ever since Adam and Eve walked upon the earth.

Lies lurk at the core of human dysfunction. The spidery trails of a lie start out as well-intentioned comments meant to spare the recipient’s feelings. We hide behind the whispers, ‘No one will know.’; ‘We’ll keep it quiet.’; ‘We’re doing this to keep everyone safe’. The lies continue, weaving and crossing over, getting bigger and gaining momentum until they impact innocent lives.

The lies we tell are flimsier than the spider web which, for their makeup and design, can tolerate an enormous amount of pressure, but lies aren’t so resilient. So, what’s the point of lying? We tell harmless lies every day to make people feel good. ‘You look good in that dress’. We’re trying to lift their self-esteem. When a woman feels she’s having a bad hair day, her husband may tell her she ‘looks beautiful’ to give her a confidence boost.

But the darker lies go deep into our minds, controlling our thoughts and actions, manipulating every part of our lives. They sit just below the surface of our consciousness waiting to be triggered and released by a thoughtless choice of words. When we’re tripped by lies that affect us in a negative way, we act irrationally and our lives begin to unravel sometimes with dire consequences.

In my latest novel, Web Of Lies, before they were believers, Aunt Sonia, and Ellen and David Hunt, manipulated their children’s lives believing they were protecting them and their innocent grandchild. But eight years later, they are Christians, and their family is about to be torn apart as the lies are exposed. The Holy Spirit works in their hearts: ‘Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.’ Colossians 3:9. David and Ellen have no option but to reveal the truth knowing their family could be destroyed if they continued with the deceit.

Are you living a truth-filled spiritual life, or are you living in the flesh where sometimes lying can seem to be an easier option than the truth? Share a time you wished you’d been truthful, and be eligible to go in the draw to win a copy of Web Of Lies.

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LAURA O’CONNELL enjoys writing stories about second chances in love and life. She calls the Gold Coast home, however, her curious nature leads her on adventures to locations that surprise and inspire her. Laura has a passion for telling a good story set in places where she has lived and travelled.


Back cover blurb:

High school sweethearts, Stephanie and Lachlan are torn apart by circumstance, bad decisions and a web of lies, leaving an unknown future for their son, Ryan.

Eight years later they reconnect, but the time apart has changed them. The family had made decisions based on lies and deceit and now must find a way to either reveal the truth or find another option. On the surface, their arrangements seemed flawless, but dig deeper, and the people they thought they knew aren’t as they appear.

Lachlan and Stephanie are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and the entire family is compelled to reveal the truth, find forgiveness, and renew loving one another. But the hardest decision is still to come … where does Ryan live?

Narelle: Laura, thanks for visiting with us today. We are giving away a copy of Web Of Lies to a reader who comments on this post and answers Laura’s question (Share a time you wished you’d been truthful) before midnight on Monday, December 16 (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Print copy available for Aussie mailing addresses and electronic copy for international.

Please include your name with your comment and leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached or remember to check our blog post on Wednesday, December 19 when we will announce the winner. You can follow our blog by email, Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive notifications of new blog posts.

“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”