A family torn apart by neglect and hurt...
And brought together again by a most unlikely force
In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner, a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.
Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything--including her family--to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.
When cancer strikes and Nena is given a devastating diagnosis, can Jim reconcile the family before it is too late?
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Michael King writes stories of faith and family, love and loss, heartache and triumph. He also regularly blogs about faith, relationships, and genuine living. Mike is a cancer survivor and popular conference teacher; he and his wife are in the throes of raising four daughters.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Thousand Sleepless Nights based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Michael King's writing style makes this tough-as-nails work of fiction well worth reading. He uses two tiers of storytelling: one timeline is in the present where Jimmy Hutching and his wife Nena face down a diagnosis of advanced colon cancer and deal with the apathy of their adult children. The second tier is Jimmy's personal reminiscences of the past, beginning on the day he came home from school to find his father beating his mother. When he tried to protect her, his father beat him and threw him out of the house. Eventually he found work and a place to stay as a laborer on a horse ranch. The two tiers intertwine and eventually the reader realizes that Jimmy's memories are the love story between him and Nena St. Claire, the rancher's daughter. The story is sweet but takes on an edge near the end. That part of the tale is mostly from Jimmy's perspective. Nena Hutching wasn't all that surprised when medical tests and scans showed the presence of cancer. Her grandfather and father had both had it. But the diagnosis and treatment were still hard to cope with. She was afraid to die. The cancer was a monster, and in her dreams became someone she could not escape. Each of the three siblings got a call from their father to tell them about their mother's cancer. None of the three wanted to visit her. The distance in her family hurt her, but Nena understood it as the natural consequences of her neglect years earlier. "I hope you find this story not only moving and inspirational, but also deeply personal." [author Michael King] I did find this story a bit disturbing at first. There is cancer in my family and I understand the process well. I have seen it all first hand. The author writes this novel well, sets up the tension on both tiers, working it into an element of suspense, yet creates a satisfying conclusion. For me, it wasn't easy to read, not because of any problems with the book's level of interest, because it keeps the reader's attention very well, but it was a bit too personal. The story's pathos crept down deep and touched me. This book isn't one I'd pull off a bookshelf and read on my own for personal reasons, but I am glad I read it. The final scenes have the potential to bring the reader peace of heart, especially if they have gotten invested in the story emotionally. The themes of family and reconciliation are dominant in this story. It takes awhile to reach a resolution for all the family members, and the ending may not happen in the way many of us readers want it to, but the conclusion implies there is more to come. For the Hutching family, it is simply a beginning of something better. I enjoyed how the author expressed Jimmy's love for his Nena. His was a quiet strength that I found heart-warming and intriguing. He knew his father's tendency for violence and he was determined not to use brute strength in his own walk if at all possible. This placed him in an awkward position a few times when he needed to defend someone or himself physically. But when it came to Nena's welfare, he fought willingly for her; it was one thing she always loved about him. Now while they were fighting the cancer, he took this quiet strength to the next level which endeared him to me as a reader. I believe many other readers will admire this kind of strength in Jimmy too. The author has a marvelous sense of timing in turning a story filled with sadness into triumph, sensitivity for subtleties in the lives of his characters, and the ability to communicate real-to-life spiritual issues in a conversational manner. I would be happy to read more of this author's books in the future. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the Booketeria on behalf of Charisma House Publishing (Realms). 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.”
Michael King in his new book “A Thousand Sleepless Nights” published by Realms brings us into the life of Jim Harding. From the back cover: A family torn apart by neglect and hurt…And brought together again by a most unlikely force. In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner—a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart. Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything—including her family—to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed. When cancer strikes and Nena is given a devastating diagnosis, can Jim reconcile the family before it is too late? When individuals die what is the remorse felt by the loved ones left behind? Generally it is “I regret that I never patched up that problem that we had” or “we could have been closer if only I had forgiven instead of keeping them at a distance”. When the individual is no longer here we long for one more chance to reconcile and say the things we never did but then, of course, it is too late. In “A Thousand Sleepless Nights” Michael King gives us a story where a family gets the chance to reconcile before there is a death. And there is a need for huge amounts of reconciliation in this family. We can all identify with at least one member of the Harding clan and that is what makes this book so touching and personal. Underneath this great story there are the themes of restoration, emotional healing and family. I liked “A Thousand Sleepless Nights” and am looking forward to more stories from Michael King. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Realms 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.”
In Michael King’s book, A Thousand Sleepless Nights, you will experience multiple levels of emotions as the main character, Nena (St. Claire) Hutching, loses focus of her children as she struggles to save her farm, severs her relationships with her children through neglect, and is diagnosed with colon cancer, the same horrible disease that took her father and grandfather. Though Jim, Nena’s husband, tries to convince the children to return home during her surgery and chemo, they all have excuses, some legit, some not. The estrangements and dysfunctions have kept them apart for years and hinder some of their own personal relationships. The main story revolves around the diagnosis of cancer and its ramifications to the patient and his/her family. Since the author has actually gone through colon cancer, we are privy to the emotional, physical and spiritual battles that ravage through the mind and body of the person going through cancer, and the fears of the family as they stand around feeling helpless as they can’t change the diagnosis. However, to offset the emotional stress of the cancer issues, the author includes the wonderfully warm story of how Nena and Jimmy came to know each other and marry. A welcome reprieve from the heaviness of the subject! It’s delightful to read, as the author has a way with words that ‘takes you there.’ The characters become special to you as you read through the book. They are as personable as anyone you may know. Their reactions are real. Their emotions touch the depth of your heart. Jimmy and Nena during their courting days help us remember the fun between young people in love. Their love and commitment during the good times and bad are lessons for all of us to learn. This book can help family members and cancer patients to understand the depths of the disease and how it affects everyone in the family by experiencing the denial, fear of death, regrets, loneliness, hopelessness, deep love, commitment, and personal loss. But it’s also a very strong story of forgiveness and reconciliation. The author does not leave us without Hope. He shares about the One who is aware of the dilemmas and how He works through others to comfort you. Does that always mean that your loved one won’t die? No. Healing may come through prayer, but He also helps you rest in the knowledge of eternal life on the other side as your loved one or friend puts their trust in the Lord. Whether you have a loved one or a friend who’s going through cancer treatment, has beat it and has gone into remission, or passed away, this is an excellent book to help you comprehend and work through the issues that encompass the cancer diagnosis and its ramifications. This ARC book was provided free by Michael King in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.