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Posted December 23, 2012
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Ronna's review Dec 23, 12 · edit
Read from December 20 to 23, 2012
This is a warmhearted story of scarred souls who seem to meet up by chance in an abandoned church / farm property. Dea and her seven year old nephew, Garrett, have run away from a scary situation in Florida, involving her nephew's birth mother. Gratefully, Dea's aunt has left her this church property in Oklahoma, far away from their troubles--Dea hopes and prays. It is also the hometown of Garrett's birth father, Jessie, who used to pastor this abandoned church. But Jessie is living with the grief of the accidental death of his wife and young son, Alex. Dea hopes to have Garrett's father claim and protect his son, but he has no idea that this child had ever existed.
Grief has hardened Jessie's heart to God, life, and love, and when he meets the child who looks so like his dead son, Alex, he finds many ways to avoid any contact with these new arrivals. Things get worse when he hears Garrett talking about his imaginary friend, 'Alex', who seems so like his dead son. But, when Jessie realizes that Garrett is his actual son too, he meets his responsibilities, even if he's unwilling to open his heart to the boy, and his beautiful, gentle, and compassionate aunt--'Mommy' Dea.
Dea does all she can to make ends meet. Jessie's help is appreciated, but soon she has two more 'guests' who want 'sanctuary' within the church also---a lone pregnant 18 year old, followed a few days later by a homeless army vet who just wants to work around the place for room and board, followed by a too thin dog, and her two pups. This group develops into a kind of family of their own, with Dea and Garrett.
The Biblical quote--" They have made a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8) becomes a basis for this touching character and faith based story of love, forgiveness, romance, and the healing spirit from the innocence of a young child's faith in God and the goodness of those friends and animals surrounding and protecting him.