Today, I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading for the past month.
A Channel of Your Peace by Veronica Smallhorn
New book by Full Quiver Publishing!
Synopsis: Would a God who truly loves you allow things to get this bad?
Lapsed Catholic Erin Rafferty has the life she always wanted. Or at least she did, till the moment her fiancé of five years announces he’s leaving her for another woman. Heartbroken and humiliated, a further devastating development leaves her wondering if she can ever live a normal life again.
Mark Ashcroft is a devout Catholic looking for an equally devout Catholic wife. A chance encounter with Erin leaves Mark completely captivated, yet deeply unsettled, knowing Erin is not in a place to accept him, nor is she the model Christian woman he’d hoped to start a life with.
A tentative friendship begins, and Erin finds herself questioning her long-held rejection of her faith, while Mark finds himself healing from memories of his own wounded past.
But as love grows, further tragedy in Erin’s life threatens her burgeoning faith and her hope for a future with Mark.
What follows is a difficult journey of love, surrender, trust, and faith in the ultimate knowledge that Christ is always in the midst of our sufferings.
Come Back to Me: Stay With Me #2 by Carolyn Astfalk
New Book by Full Quiver Publishing!
Synopsis: After his wife, Jamie, kicks him out, Alan moves in with his brother and sister-in-law, who are expecting a baby. As the days turn to months, the prospect of a reunion grows dimmer, and Alan is left to pick up the pieces of his broken marriage while bunking alongside blissfully happy newlyweds.
Megan, Jamie’s friend, is privy to both Jamie’s and Alan’s private woes, meeting Jamie to lend an ear and occupying a barstool next to Alan. Megan’s dissatisfaction with her own life—meaningless hookups, a brother who’s found Jesus, and an increasingly awkward relationship with Jamie and Alan—grows.
Alan comes to his sister-in-law’s aid when she goes into labor, forcing him to act with long-overdue maturity. Meanwhile, through a conversation with her mother, Jamie realizes a skewed perception of her father’s indifference and her own fears have led her to be harder on Alan than he deserves.
Forced to come to terms with her unresolved grief, Megan discovers the need to make amends and start fresh.
The prequel to Come Back to Me is Stay With Me (Stay With Me #1)
Though War be Waged Upon Me
by Carol Puschaver
Synopsis: Make no mistake. Satan is very much alive — and hellbent on revenge. He is waging war against humanity, and indeed against all creation, with the reckless abandon of one who has nothing more to lose. Cast out of heaven; crushed at the foot of the Cross, he is multiplying evil and outrage and scandal to unprecedented effect as he “strikes at [the] heel” (Gen 3.15) of “fallen mankind” (St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, Revised Edition, 9).Without question we are living in a time of increasingly brazen evil. That is to say, a time of extraordinary and abundant grace also. Christ has already won the final victory over Satan. By His grace, we stand strong against the forces of evil. By that same ineffable grace, we stand in the company of holy angels — most especially the glorious Warrior Archangel Saint Michael. And the high ground belongs to us!
My review: This is a beautiful booklet dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. If you thought the only St. Michael prayer was the one we sometimes say at the end of Mass, then this book will be an eye opener for you. Included is a history of the St. Michael prayers as well as a chaplet and reflections. Highly recommend.
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
Synopsis: The True Story Behind the Events on 9/11 that Inspired Broadway’s Smash Hit Musical Come from Away
When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.
As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.
Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.
My review: This was an enjoyable read of a group of passengers from 38 planes who were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11. It shows the contrast between the horrific terrorism of that day and the generosity of the people of Gander to welcome strangers into their homes and lives. 9/11 made me proud to be American. This story made me proud to be Canadian. Beautiful book.
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Synopsis: #1 New York Times Bestseller! From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania.
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
My review: I’ve just discovered this author and plan to read every book he’s written. He writes non-fiction like it’s fiction, but everything is fact-based. I knew very little of what happened during the sinking of the Lusitania, and this is a fascinating account of all the events leading up to it and the people who were involved. My only criticism is that there were no photos and in a book like this, there should be photos. Highly recommend!
Jesus Perfect Love Lawrence Jakows
Synopsis: Jesus tells us and shows us how much He loves us and how we can return this amazing love. Appreciate and learn more about His love through His Sacred Heart, His Sacraments, His Saints, His Holy Scriptures, His Cross, His Death, His Resurrection. Jesus, the second person of the Most Holy Trinity, has boundless love for everyone. It is our Christian obligation to discover His Holy love in our hearts. Then respond to and return His love so that we may be found worthy for sainthood in heaven for eternity. Many saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church have written beautiful prose and poetry describing and understanding God’s most powerful and amazing love. Several saintly excerpts are included herein to encourage our spiritual growth and piety. Learn about His love from the following saints, and many more: St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Frances de Sales, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Therese of Lisieux. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
My review: This is a beautiful book with a collection of essays about God’s Perfect Love, Jesus. The author includes quotes from Scripture, saints and prayers. This is an excellent book that describes how we can adore, believe in, hope in and trust in this Perfect Love through the sacraments, Adoration, the holy Rosary and spiritual reading. My only criticism of the book is that Fasting is only mentioned through Scripture and not in any way explained. Fasting is truly one of the most important tools for spiritual growth and love of God, especially in this culture. Highly recommend.