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Rachel's Contrition is Michelle Buckman's first women's fiction. The award--winning author shares with her readers the story of Rachel's ambition and rebound from a self-destructive lifestyle.
Rachel Winters came from a dysfunctional family; raised by a single mother who had numerous partners, she grew up as an only child who never knew the identity of her father. Starved for love and attention, she became sexually active at the age of 14 and continued with her promiscuous behavior up to entering the university. During those teen years, Rachel learned the craft of manipulating, seducing, and satisfying men. Rachel's desire to better herself- leads her to join a sorority at the university. With the goal of marrying a wealthy man, she imitates the mannerisms of the upper--class young women on campus When Rachel meets Dr. Joseph Sinclair Winters, her Cinderella dream seems to come true.
Marriage gave Rachel better social status, a loving husband, and two children, Seph and Caroline. However, her perfect family and social status crumble after the tragic death of Caroline. The inability to deal with this great loss- sends Rachel into a path of sadness, despair, and loneliness. It causes her to lose the thing she loves most --- her family.
Rachel's inconsolable pain echoes the words of the prophet Jeremiah: 31:15 "Rachel is weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more." And just as the character of the Old Testament was comforted by the Lord, this modern Rachel will also be guided by divine help in a variety of unexpected and mysterious ways.
Her healing process begins when she starts to interact daily with her disturbed teenage neighbor, Lily, who lost her beloved. As they study the life of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, they find peace and solace from their lives' turmoil. The bond between Rachel and Lily will become therapeutic and healing as they begin to deal with the death of their loved ones. They will learn to trust a higher power to help them face life's hardships with courage and humility.
Although I have not experienced Rachel's loss, as a mother of two, I could walk a mile in her shoes and sympathize with her feelings of self-pity, unworthiness, and her climactic self-acceptance.
Rachel's Contrition is more than just a fictional story. Even as it weaves topics from today's news into the story, the book reflects upon the effects of life and death upon us and, particularly our abilities to deal and cope with loss. The characters and situations will teaches us not to be judgmental and deceived by appearances. Through Lily's revelations to Rachel, the author shows us how damaging it could be for families to keep up with appearances in order to maintain social status while hiding from the public eye illegal activities and serious crimes occurring in the household. Rachel's dilemmas could be the story of our next door neighbors, a relative, or ourselves.
I highly recommend Rachel's Contrition to readers searching for a book with a strong plot, well-developed characters and situations reflecting the decay of today's society. Although the book deals with some grim topics, readers will not lose hope for a better future.