To Know Youby Shannon Ethridge, Kathryn Mackel
Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.
Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver”/p>
Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.
Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.
But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?
And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?
In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.
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To Know You
By SHANNON ETHRIDGE, KATHRYN MACKEL
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 Shannon Ethridge
All rights reserved.
Dallas Saturday, 9:15 a.m.
Don't ask, Julia Whittaker wanted to scream.
But the words were sawdust in her mouth. Matt would ask because it was his nature to take in information, cradle it, and rebirth it so the world made sense.
Moments away from being irrevocable.
If Julia couldn't bear the asking, how could she ever bear the answer?
"The transplant committee moved Dillon up. He's near the top of the list," Dr. Ann Rosado said. She was a pediatric gastroenterologist at Cedar Springs Medical Center, specializing in liver diseases. The Whittakers had known her all of Dillon's life.
"Just near? Not at?" Matt was rubbing his stubbled head as if he could massage this fact into something closer to his liking. They hadn't been home in two days. His gray slacks were wrinkled at the knees, and his oxford shirt was stained with salad dressing. He had shoveled food into his mouth to set the example for her. You have to eat, he'd said.
Yeah, Mom, Dillon had said. You have to eat. He had made an attempt on her behalf, picking apart a muffin and smearing scrambled eggs on his plate.
Black coffee and Red Bull were all Julia had patience with. The acid in her stomach was a welcome relief from that sinking sensation of time slipping away.
Of Dillon slipping away.
She dug her fingernails into her palms and stared at the pictures of children on Annie's wall. Some were pink-cheeked with health, others had sallow skin and shadowed eyes—the autumnal shades of liver disease.
Thirteen years ago Julia had studied the pictures, looking for a sign of hope. "Are these the survivors?"
"I don't differentiate," Annie had said. "They are all my patients."
"But which ones are still a—" Julia hadn't been able to finish the question. The cruelty that children could be born blighted and die without a future was unbearable.
"They all live in my heart," Annie had said. "They all live in God's heart because He doesn't differentiate either."
Where was God's heart today, after thirteen years of dealing with this? Certainly not in that void between how and long.
She curled her fingertips into the arm of the sofa and counted the lights on Annie's Christmas tree. There were no "Wait Until Christmas" tags on the presents because some children—like Dillon—could not wait until the twenty-fifth.
Julia had bought her son's gift a month ago, the expensive Arriflex 235, which would allow him to shoot video underwater. She and Matt nixed the notion of a motorcycle rig that would allow him to shoot high-speed chases.
When I'm sixteen I'll get my own motorcycle, Dillon had said, even as his blood pressure climbed and the toxins backed up in his liver like a clogged sewage pipe. Sixteen was more than three long years away and, even if she dared to let Matt ask how long, three years weren't possible.
Not without a transplant.
"Dillon's beaten the odds since he was born," Dr. Annie said. "We'll find him that liver."
"Of course," Matt said, his blue eyes distant. Computing the odds, Julia knew, because she had asked him once when they prayed together, Where do you go when you disappear?
Where the numbers add up, he had said.
She had prayed everywhere. Prayers in a dark closet. Prayers on a mountain top. Prayers in Matt's car. Prayers in his arms. Prayers in Jerusalem. Prayers in the bathroom.
Don't lose hope, Matt always said.
Imagine all that Dillon has before him, Matt had said shortly after Dillon was diagnosed with biliary atresia. Infancy became toddlerhood. Look, the Kasai procedure is holding, and now he's made it to kindergarten. Cheer, Julia, because he's in Little League and wow, can you believe our son won the sixth-grade spelling bee? Listen to his voice squeak into manhood and whatever you do, sweetheart, pretend you're impressed by that fuzz on his lip.
Imagine what we have before us, Matt would say. College and a lovely daughter-in-law and bouncing grandchildren and a long life of blessings. Look how our son is beating the odds.
Until three weeks ago—when he wasn't.
Dr. Annie talked on, her soft voice no veil for the ugly words coming out of her mouth. Hepatic encephalopathy. Coagulopathy. Ascites. Cerebral edema.
Matt's fingers tightened on Julia's. He exhaled, his mouth forming a soft O.
"No," she said. "Don't."
Julia jumped up, pulse thundering, hands pressed to her ears to block out Annie's response.
She staggered to the door, willing God to stop the sun in the sky like he had for Joshua. But from the moment her son had been cast in her womb with a doomed liver, she knew she had no say in the matter.
From somewhere in the gloom, Matt called her name and Dr. Annie said, "I know this is hard."
Maybe the sun did stand still outside Dr. Annie's office. Maybe on the other side of this door Dillon was strong and thriving, playing sports and chasing girls and tripping over his feet and being brilliant in one moment and utterly ridiculous in the next. She needed to go to her son and promise he had all the time in the world.
Julia yanked at the door but it didn't open. So she punched it.
And punched it again and still the door wouldn't open.
"Julia, stop," Matt called out of the distant haze. "Stop it."
She couldn't stop, just kept punching the door.
Because she couldn't punch God.
Saturday, 4:32 p.m.
Julia opened her eyes to the harsh glow of hospital lighting.
A nurse appeared out of nowhere, said the surgery was a success, and wanted to know how do you feel, Mrs. Whittaker?
Like cat vomit, Julia would have said, if the cat didn't have her tongue.
Dr. Annie had pulled every favor in her considerable book to get Julia scheduled for surgery within hours after breaking her hand.
"Where's my husband?" Julia said. The words came out where's my hubcap?
"I'm here." Matt kissed her forehead. "How're you doing?"
"That's what happens when you shatter three fingers." Matt brushed her hair back. "What were you thinking?"
"I wasn't thinking anything. I just couldn't get the door open."
"That's because it pulls inward. You were pushing it out."
"I had to get out—"
"I know, I know. Just relax," Matt said. "The nurse said she'd bring you some painkillers."
"No. We don't have time. We have to find Dillon a liver." Julia pawed at her left hand, trying to rip out the IV. No go—her right hand was engulfed in a mummy-wrapped splint the size of a loaf of bread. Her fingers were captive, reconstructed with tiny pins and plates and swathed in gauze. Only the tip of her thumb extruded from the bandage.
Julia tried to curl her hurt hand into a fist. Pain spiked through her wrist and she cried out. The nurse scurried in. "Keep calm," she said. "Your pulse is racing." She took Julia's blood pressure, fiddled with the monitor, and glared at her with an admonition to just relax.
Matt laced his fingers gently around the IV site on the back of her wrist. His face was stubbly, his eyelids heavy. At least she had had a few hours of anesthetized slumber. How long had it been since he'd slept?
"It's okay. It's okay." He said it over and over so it became one word—sokay, sokay, sokay.
"I am so sorry, Mattie. I really messed up."
"Nothing that a few plates and screws didn't fix."
"It's late. Wait—Beth was supposed to get tested today," Julia said. Beth Latham was their office manager and dear friend.
Matt made that hmm sound high in his palate, an indicator that things were bad but he wouldn't let it get to him.
"What?" Julia said.
"There's good news and bad news that's really good news."
Julia groaned. "Just tell me."
"Beth was a match."
"She can't do it. She wants to badly. But she can't. Not for eight months at least."
Her heart sank. "She's pregnant? I thought she and Bruce had stopped trying."
"They had. She was having the physical, mentioned nausea, and they ran the test."
"That's wonderful news, Matt." Julia's voice came back hollow. They were all hanging on by fingernails. They needed to find a liver—immediately.
A terrible twist of fate had made both her and Matt ineligible as living donors. Her A-positive blood type with Matt's B positive could have combined to AB positive in their son, the blood type that can receive all comers. But they both carried recessive genes—like hidden sins—into their pairing and gave birth to a type-O, Rh-negative baby.
Were he healthy, Dillon's blood type would make him a universal donor. How ironic that he would have been sought after by the Red Cross to give blood every two months once he turned eighteen.
He could share with anyone but only receive O-negative blood and could only survive a transplant from a type-O donor. The fact that he was in the majority blood type made the process trickier because he had to compete with everyone on the waiting list.
Though giving up a lobe of one's liver had some peril and an extended recovery time, friends and family had volunteered to be tested. Six—counting Beth, their office manager and dear friend—had the right blood type.
All six were ineligible.
Her assistant, Patricia, was ruled out due to her chronic asthma. Matt's brother, Todd, had too many tattoos from his wild days, including two from his mission time in India. Their accountant, Charlie, had a history of melanoma. Pastor Rich had chronic malaria from time spent in Africa. Dillon's debate coach, Isaac, had undiagnosed hepatitis A. Her design assistant, Trevor, had active Lyme disease. By the time he finished the rigorous course of treatment, it might be too late for Dillon.
Without a live donor identified, the last option was grim and unpredictable.
Someone would have to die from a crushing head wound, and that someone would need to have an organ card in his wallet or have a merciful next-of-kin who could see through their grief long enough to say yes, let's redeem our loved one's death.
"I'm sorry," Julia said.
Matt laughed. "You pack a mean punch. I'm going to be a lot nicer to you from now on." He squeezed next to her on the hospital bed and draped her injured hand over his shoulder so she could snuggle into his chest. Even though it was December, he smelled like summer.
"You know what we have to do," he said.
"Dillon's got two sisters."
"They don't know any of this. They don't know each other, they don't know me."
"They are the only hope Dillon has."
Julia dug the fingers of her good hand into his shirt. "I don't even know where they are."
"I do," Matt said. "I know where they are."
Saturday, 6:18 p.m.
When Dillon was eight years old, he'd asked for a grown-up Bible. Hallelujah, Matt and Julia whispered in delight. We've got the next Billy Graham.
Her son was the Spielberg of Scripture. Since graduating from Wally McDoogle to the wall of Jericho, he had devoured and then dramatized the Bible from creation to the Apocalypse. Matt joked that the lesson was that when you give your kid a Bible, you hide the video camera.
"He's reading Samuel," Julia said when he was nine. "Adultery, madness, murder—"
"The stuff movies are made of," Matt said.
For all those years, the Kasai reconstruction of his bile duct held strong, draining bile from his liver into his intestine. Allowing him to grow and even to thrive. Those were good years, but deep in Julia's gut, she knew the Kasai was the wall of Jericho that would someday come tumbling down.
Tonight Dillon looked like an under-ripe tomato with his round cheeks and yellowed skin. Propped up on pillows and tucked under a blanket, he was surrounded by electronics. Heart monitor, IV, blood-pressure cuff, bed controls, landline phone, and call button—all belonging to the hospital. His laptop, tablet, and smart phone were never out of reach of his blazing thumbs.
He glanced up from his game and said, "Mom! Wait 'til you see." He waved the remote and turned on the television. Julia's image was frozen in high-definition. Her hand was a bloody mess, her fingers twisted in a strange and terrible way.
"How did you do that?" she said, half in wonder and half in horror.
Dillon turned his iPad so she could see it. On-screen, Tanita—the patient in the next room—waved at her. The teens on this floor all linked up—chatting, playing games, and flirting in cyberspace.
"Tanita was heading down to Ultrasound this morning," Dillon said. "She had her tablet with her because you know how boring the wait can be. And then she caught you in the hall, looking like Dr. Annie had put your hand into a meat grinder. So what happened? Did you punch someone or what?"
"I ... no, I didn't punch anyone. I just got it caught in the door and ..." And what? Lying had to be okay if it was to spare your son's feelings. "I was holding the edge of the door, talking to Dad and Dr. Annie, and my foot caught on something and my whole weight just slammed against the door while my hand was still in it."
Dillon narrowed his eyes at her. His eyebrows were becoming bushy and a wisp of a moustache formed over his upper lip. She'd ask Matt to buy him an electric razor with a trimmer. Oh dear God, please let him need it, please God, please God—
"Mom! I asked you a question."
"I'm sorry, hon. What did you say?"
"I said Tanita heard pounding. Like someone was bashing something. She thought there was a fight or something in Dr. Annie's office. That's what made her flick on the video."
"I don't know what she heard, Dil. Maybe someone's working on something upstairs."
"If you say so."
"You probably should close out that picture. It's pretty gross."
"It is very gross. Exceptionally gross, masterpiece-level gross. I think I'll use it in my next film." Dillon leaned back into the pillows. This simple exchange had exhausted him. He smiled as he stared at her image on the screen, his lush imagination already planning a whole story around the battered fingers on her hand.
All the time not recognizing that his death sentence was on her face for the whole world to see.
Saturday, 10:16 p.m.
Julia often thought she should have wrangled cattle for a living. Or maybe she should have become an eighth-grade teacher. As strong as steers were and as nasty as hormone-soaked thirteen-year-olds could be, they could not compete with brides who could afford a million-dollar wedding.
Fickle. Panicked. Arrogant. Terrified. Inspired. Loving and kind and crazy and mean, all in the same breath.
God was good to give the gifts He had, but Julia sometimes wondered if she absolutely had to be blessed with this particular talent. Her company, Myrrh, specialized in high-end, sophisticated events, usually weddings. She was the face of the business, the artist with the singular eye and inspired vision.
Matt was the spine, the man who watched the money and tamed the madness. He did his own wrangling, mostly with caterers, designers, florists, and musicians. Myrrh might be expensive, but they did not allow clients to be soaked for every penny.
They succeeded because they could not be hired. Their selectivity about whom they would serve had given them the edge of exclusivity. Prospective brides and grooms underwent a grueling interview process with Matt. If they were at all unstable or uncertain, they never made it to Julia. Once she met with them, if she could conjure an amazing vision for the nuptial week, Myrrh would book the event. Otherwise, she sent them elsewhere.
Her favorite wedding was the first one she had ever done. She hadn't even met Matt, just put together a free event for her dear friend Jeanne Potts. It was a sunrise wedding on the coast of Maine. The bride wore an ivory silk princess dress and a single Bethlehem rose in her sun-streaked hair. After the ceremony, the guests ate fresh blueberry muffins and cheered as the bride and her love kayaked away.
Myrrh was a curse when it forced Julia to be away from family and home; a blessing when she watched love walk down the aisle or sail across the bay and knew she had crafted a vision of what heaven will be for those who save the date.
Excerpted from To Know You by SHANNON ETHRIDGE, KATHRYN MACKEL. Copyright © 2013 Shannon Ethridge. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Shannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, international speaker, and certified life coach with a master’s degree in counseling human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to youth, college students, and adults since 1989, and is the author of 21 books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman’s Battle series.She is a frequent guest on TVand radio programs, such as The Today Show , The 700 Club , New Life Live! with Stephen Arterburn, and Life Today with James and Betty Robison. She also mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers and Teachers). Although grateful for the opportunities to influence this generation as a writer and speaker, Shannon remains most passionate about her role as a wife and best friend to her husband, Greg, and a mother to daughter, Erin, and son, Matthew. Learn more at www.ShannonEthridge.com.
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“To Know You” by Shannon Ethridge, Author & Speaker and Kathryn Mackel is by far one of the most brilliant books I have ever read. Right from its captivating first words to the surprise of a lifetime ending; this book covers a multitude of real life issue’s that all tie in to its main theme of REDEMPTION! The amazing story line takes you on an emotional and powerful journey that keeps you on the edge throughout its entirety. Although this book is a fictional work I could not help but be completely captivated by its realism. Line by line I was drawn deeper into the story and felt as if I was living it myself. The realistic portrayal of character’s and events hit on every emotion common to man/woman and kept me glued for hours on end. “To Know You” is a perfect picture of God’s love, diversity, character, and redemption painted brilliantly and tastefully into a wonderful mosaic masterpiece. Young, old, male, female, Christian or not, this book is definitely a must read
This book is absolutely wonderful, and has it all. I didn't want to put it down! As I was reading it, I had the thought that it will be whatever the reader needs it to be -- from simply a well-written compelling Christian novel, to either a lesson in forgiveness, or in how marriage should be, or that it's ok to talk about and think about sex and be sexual in marriage because that's how God created us and it's one of the gifts He's given us. And all the twists and turns! When I was nearing the end, I thought I had it figured out but was thrown for a loop yet again!
Absolutely riveting! The multiple layers of the story kept my heart and mind engaged, and the redemption theme throughout kept the tears flowing. This is the kind of story you stay up all night reading, because you can't bear the thought of going to sleep not knowing what happens.
This was one of the most intense books I've read this year. Filled with page turning story-line that delves much deeper than your average Christian fiction will go. You will laugh and cry with each character as they learn to forgive, let go and let God.
Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel, in their new book, "To Know You” published by Thomas Nelson takes us into the life of Julia Whittaker. From the back cover: Julia Whittaker’s rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son. Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a “living liver” transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival. But can Julia ask a young woman—someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with—to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she’s never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing? And what if she discovers in her own daughters’ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she’s probably embarking on a fool’s errand—searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her? In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed. Let me start by saying “To Know You” is a tear-jerker. This is not to say this is bad just that it is highly emotional and you should have a box of tissues standing by. Julia had to give up two daughters by two separate fathers for adoption. It has been at least twenty years since she has seen either man and has never seen either daughter. Now she has a son who is dying and needs the help of these daughters if the son is ever to live. This is the kind of movie that they air on a Sunday night. It has plenty of atmosphere, great characters and an incredible story. Your chores will suffer once you start reading this book because you will not want to put it down. I do not believe I have ever read a story like this before and I am quite impressed. Ms. Ethridge and Ms. Mackel have done an outstanding job. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
To Know You is the first of Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel's writing I have had the honor of reading. To Know You is Shannon Ethridge's debut novel. To Know You is a novel about Julia Whittaker, who years before gave 2 daughters up for adoption to give them better lives, but now needs them to try and help her son who is in need of a liver transplant. Julia never intended to meet her girls, she gave them up to give them better lives and never wanted to interfere even now that they are adults. Her 13 yr old son is dying and the only way to save him is a living liver transplant. Julia finds herself on a plane to meet her daughters, Destiny and Hope. She finds Destiny, learning her adoptive parents kept the name Julia gave her all those years ago. Julia then finds herself with Destiny in tow to meet Hope, now Chloe. Both girls very different from one another but Julia sees herself in both of them. They embark on a journey to meet birth fathers and learn about one another. As they go on this journey, tragedies bring them together. To Know You is a beautiful novel about how our mistakes become blessings in the hardest situations. As someone who has a liver disease and knows liver transplant is something that could be needed this hit very close to home. Also as a parent, knowing that if my child was sick, the length I would go to find what they needed also made this novel real. These authors write with authority on adoption, liver disease, medical procedures, and finding forgiveness. The characters are truly inspiring as they take their brokenness and find forgiveness from one another and God. I found myself completely submerged in this novel and it has stayed with me long after I finished it. I found myself laughing out loud in parts and sobbing in others as these families go through this journey. I can't say enough about this beautiful novel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait for the next novel in this series, from these authors. I give this book 5 Stars!
I knew of Shannon Ethridge as a non-fiction writer. I was intrigued by her jump to fiction and curious as to what her story-telling style might be like. Oh my! I was completely blown away by To Know You! While the story didn't take off and have me hanging on for dear life, I was immediately drawn into the plot. I was eager to see how Julia's story would intersect with her two daughters' lives and if the author would be able to pull off telling three distinct stories with three very diverse main characters. I loved how the author used "flash backs" to tell about Julia's past (and therefore Destiny and Chloe's past as well). And while there were a few times I had trouble making the POV switch, for the most part I was able to keep up. :) To me, the best part of the book was the way the author made the characters come alive. I felt every bit of their emotions. At various times, I wanted to hug one character or shake another one senseless. It truly seemed as though I was reading about friends rather than paper people. At times, parts of the plot seemed a bit unrealistic ... perhaps it was "too much" to believe that all this could happen to one individual. But that didn't keep me from loving the story. Instead, it made me empathize even more with Julia and anxious to see her get her happy ending. (No spoilers here! You'll have to read and find out for yourself!) The author tackles a wide range of pretty serious topics, including the serious illness of a child, organ donation, adoption, and sexual relationships outside of marriage. This book is probably better suited for mature readers. I'm happy to give two thumbs up to this incredible book. While I don't keep many books on my "keeper" shelf, this one has earned its rightful place there! Highly, highly recommend! [5 stars] I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Julia Whittaker was no stranger heartbreak. After two failed relationships that ended with giving up two daughters for adoption, she didn't think her heart could break anymore than it had in the past. But now her son Dillon was dying. Dillon was diagnosed with Biliary Artresia Liver disease at birth. Now at the age of thirteen he needed a new liver and he needed it soon. Having ruled out ever possible donor, Julia and her husband Matt knew their only hope were the two daughters she gave up at birth. Julia embarks on a journey to save her son but it ends up being so much more. Destiny Conners has been living with Luke for awhile and things were going great until Luke let God into his life. When Luke started changing Destiny refused to accept it. She wasn't only pushing Luke away but God as well. What had a God ever done for her? When Her biological mother showed up on her doorstep asking her to be tested and save her step-brother's life she knew she would be faced with some hard decisions. Her only request was to meet her real father and her step-sister, Chloe. Chloe Deschene felt trapped. Her whole life was planned for her by her husband. Jack was methodical. He lived his life by schedules and time tables. They even made love on a schedule. Chloe wanted passion in her marriage and to be able to do what God was calling her to do. She was bored with the way her life was going and when Julia and Destiny appeared out of nowhere, she jumped at the chance to get away from her life. Three women, who are perfect strangers, embark on a journey together not knowing where it will lead or how it will end. But the bond they form is strong enough to weather any storm. Will they find their miracles or will their hearts be broken? In my last review I said the book was my best read of the entire year. I can honestly say To Know You is fighting hard for that number one position. I am mostly a romance junkie but in this book romance takes a back seat. "A back seat to what?", you might ask. My only response is "to everything good". This story is about family and healing and forgiveness and discovery and, yes, miracles. It's about strong bonds and sacrifices. It's about putting someone else's needs before your own. It's about seeing God in the midst of your troubles. There is so much about this book that I absolutely loved. The way Julia insisted on supporting Destiny when she needed her even though she knew her son was only a few hours from dying. The way she cared for Chloe during a crisis just the way a mother would. The way Julia's husband Matt supported her throughout the entire story. And, most of all, the way her son Dillon smiled in the face of death. His part of the story really tore at my heart. I shed many tears during the course of this book but I love that. I love a book that has the ability to make me look into my heart and ask what I would do in that same situation. I guarantee you will love this book but make sure you have plenty of Kleenex handy while reading it. If I could give it more than five stars I would. Very highly recommended! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. I received no monetary compensation.
Talk about having to face your past. Poor Julia, you will be in tears for her. Twenty plus years ago she gave birth to a daughter, and gave her up for adoption. Then Julia ends up pregnant again, and again gives her daughter up for adoption. Fast forward and she is now happily married to Matt, has a thriving business, that uses her artistic talents, and has a sick, and possibly dying thirteen year old son. Dillon was born with a bad liver, and for one reason or not all of the family, and friends have been ruled out. He is now running out of time. Can you imagine going to one daughter, never mind two, with the same question of asking for blood type, and a piece of a liver. One we would hope never to have to do. She has to open the box of her heart and in return we hope she receives many blessings. Will Julia be able to save her gifted son? Will she be able to find a donor in time? In between all of this, she ends up traveling all over the US. Reuniting with her daughter's fathers, can't imagine!! Also, there is a bit of trouble, and danger thrown in. This is a heart wrenching story, a lot of love, and feeling of God's presence thrown in. Don't miss this one! I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Julia and Matt Whittaker would do anything to help their son, Dillon. All attempts have failed to find a liver donor. If only Julia had the courage to ask strangers, the two daughters whom lived with their fathers. Could one of them make a sacrifice and become a liver donor for Dillon. I lost my grandson before he turned two years old. He became a donor. How helpless you feel when you are faced with so many decision and sometimes nothing left to done. To make the decision to be a donor is an ultimate sacrifice for those giving and the ultimate gift to those receiving. I was hesitant to read the book because of my lose. The pain of loosing a child never really goes away you hang on to the fact that God granted you the gift of having that person in your life as long of God chose for them to be with us. This book has heartache, hope, faith, forgiveness and redemption. It will help one see how God can give us healing through our pain. What would you do if you were asked to be a living donor? I recommend this book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
What a great storyline! Julia Whittaker’s son, who is in desperate need of a liver transplant, is dying. The best option to save him is a sticky situation for Julia, but she forages forward with her plan while delving into her painful past. There are so many layers to this tapestry, and a multitude of spiritual messages are weaved throughout. The book isn’t preachy, and the spiritual significance isn’t in-your-face, so this wonderful tale can be enjoyed by non-Christians as well as believers. Either way, the reader’s life will be touched in some way. The characters are developed nicely, and I love the role that Matt played in this story. He wins the supporting male role in my book. ;) Cover: Love it Title: Love it Publisher: Thomas Nelson Pages: 358 Pace: Great First Lines: Don't ask, Julia wanted to scream. But the words were sawdust in her mouth. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
This book was something of an unknown to me when it arrived. I knew that Shannon Etheridge had written some nonfiction books related to sexual issues and women. And I knew that Kathryn Mackel is a talented novelist. Thus I was willing to give this novel a try. What I didn't expect was to be sucked in by the lyrical writing and the intense struggles for identity each of the three women represents. The challenges and questions they face are real -- something many women can relate to. It is both a cautionary tale and a story of hope and redemption. It's women fiction that did something most stories like this can't do -- it pulled me in from the first page and wouldn't let me go until "the end." I highly recommend this story!
I received the book To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel through the booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. To Know You explores the path to redemption and forgiveness as it follows the story of one woman who, in past years, gave up two daughters for adoption. Now, her son is sick and needs a liver transplant so Julia searches out her daughters whom she has never met. Will they forgive her? Can she forgive herself? At first I didn’t think I’d like this book, as it is more emotionally heavy than most books I read for entertainment. I was so wrong, I became immediately engrossed in the story. Probably because I could have been Julia, I really related to the ‘mom’ aspect of things. The authors do a GREAT job of keeping you on the edge of your seat waiting to see if Julia’s son will get the help he needs. They also do a wonderful job of being honest about the emotions of the people involved. They were descriptive in their scenes and were great about taking different story threads through their individual arcs. What I found most fascinating is that the story is not about a woman who is asking the daughters she gave up and has never met for help. It is about learning to love even in the face of what might appear to be betrayal and rejection. It is about a woman who goes on a mission for one thing and discovers something entirely different. I would give this a 4 out of 5 stars.
To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel is a fantastic book. I read it from cover to cover in less than 24 hours. Matt and Julia Whitaker are desperate to save their son, Dillon. So desperate Julia is forced to go searching for the two daughters she gave up for adoption years ago. Any mother's heart would be torn if that were the end of the story....it's not. Julia comes face to face with both of her daughters struggling. One has turned from God and the other is being tempted and is on the verge of making some life changing mistakes. You will be taken on an emotional journey as they unravel their pasts and struggle to figure out how to put the pieces of their life back together.
'To Know You' had me in it's grips after reading the first page. This emotionally charged story weaves the lives of an unknown family together through real-life-situations, family secrets and past mistakes while showing God's redeeming love and amazing grace. It's a great work of fiction but it offers great insight and hope for all when bearing real life hurdles.
To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel holds a depth of honesty about searching and raging and grappling with life’s questions that a scrapper like me has not often found, at least not without the accompanying judgments or soapbox lecture. As the pages unfolded poignantly the mosaic of human tensions and intrigue, this “story” felt less and less like fiction to me. Its true intention rang instead through the halls of my heart like the bells of a great cathedral, announcing some happy occasion. The cause for my celebration? Understanding, acceptance and comprehension; and in a work of fiction, no less! It offered so much more than I had anticipated. Understanding of the human compulsion to seek answers to such cosmic yet mundane tensions as… Is it okay to lift a fist to the sky, teeth clenched defiantly? Does this large and sometimes seemingly aloof God truly comprehend my human frailties? Even more perplexing, why would He stoop to do so? Can faith and frailty exist together? Does He shudder at my human passions; or does He see the deepest longings of a woman’s soul, of my humanity, if indeed He carved them into me to begin with? Is He waiting on the sidelines until I “get it together” before reaching out to me again with his love and mercy? I am grateful to have, in large part, already settled these questions for myself. I’m even learning to let gratitude be the hue that colors the slow and painful road, through grief and heartache. Still I needed many reminders contained within the powerful themes brought to light here. And who indeed does not desire, or find that the struggles of life require, finding the God who created and accepts them now: passions, flaws, questions and all? A Must-read for lovers of fiction, intrigue or just plain great writing!