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Desert Gift

Desert Gift

4.2 32
by Sally John

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What does a nationally known marriage expert do when her own marriage falls apart? Just as Jillian Galloway sets out for a publicity tour to promote her new book, her husband drops a bombshell: He wants a divorce. Jill flees to her parents’ home in the California desert, wondering whether everything she’s built her career on—indeed, everything she


What does a nationally known marriage expert do when her own marriage falls apart? Just as Jillian Galloway sets out for a publicity tour to promote her new book, her husband drops a bombshell: He wants a divorce. Jill flees to her parents’ home in the California desert, wondering whether everything she’s built her career on—indeed, everything she’s built her life around—is a sham. Navigating this “side road” of life is an uphill climb that leads to new understandings about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with the One who created marriage.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
When you’re at the top . . . you’ve got a long way to fall. A nationally known marriage expert, Jillian Galloway is at the pinnacle of success. Her syndicated talk radio show is a hit and her first book is about to release. But just as she’s leaving for her West Coast publicity tour, Jill’s faithful husband of twenty-four years drops a bombshell: he wants a divorce.

As her world crashes down around her, Jill flees to her parents’ home in the California desert, wondering if everything she’s built her career on—and everything she’s built her life around—is a sham. She thought she’d done everything right. So how did her marriage slowly slip away? And will she ever get it back?

From best-selling author Sally John comes an insightful and inspiring story about the unexpected detours our lives can take, the lies we sometimes tell ourselves, and the hope that God is always at work, even in the desert.

Library Journal
Having built a successful career as a marriage coach and on-air personality, Jillian Galloway has just written her first book and is looking forward to her upcoming book tour when her husband tells her he wants a divorce. Reeling from the news, she retreats to her parents' home in the California desert where she questions everything she thought to be true about her marriage and her life. VERDICT John ("The Beach House" and "Safe Harbor" series) has created likable characters facing issues that arise over the course of any long-term marriage. A satisfying conclusion will make women's fiction readers happy. A good choice for fans of Richard Paul Evans and Robin Pilcher.

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Side Roads Series , #2
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Sally John
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-2786-0

Chapter One


When Jill was a little girl, her father nicknamed her Jillie Jaws. He asked, What choice did he have? Not only were her initials JAW, she was also without question, from birth, a motormouth. When air first hit her lungs, she never even cried. She yammered. Yes sirree, Jillian Autumn Wagner always had something to say.

Until now.

Four hours into it and she had nothing to say.

Not that anyone would have listened. The flight attendants had spent more time buckled in than not because of air turbulence. A sullen thirtyish woman in the window seat wore a headset and kept her nose buried in a novel that sported a strikingly handsome Fabio-type on the cover. The aisle seat remained empty.

Of course it remained empty. It was Jack's.

Her jaw quivered. The movement had no relationship to yammering.

What would her father think? Skip Wagner thought the world of his son-in-law.

Her dad? She was concerned about her dad? What about her audience?

Don't even start, Jillian. Do not even start.

But of course she had started, thanks to Jack's introduction of the subject. He had said her fans were counting on her.

Jack was a kind man, a physician in the classic sense. He was a gentleman who wanted nothing more than to help his patients feel better. That he actually said he wanted a divorce was inconceivable. As if that weren't enough, he had added insult to injury by mentioning her fans. Moments later as they stood at the curb, he'd done it again. At the echo of his voice in her head now, she could scarcely breathe.

"You will be all right," he had said. "This trip is about you meeting your fans." He gave her a quick hug, the stiff-armed sort he used for his elderly, frail mother. Then deftly, one hand under her elbow, the other on the open car door, he ushered her into the backseat of the cab as if she were another scoop of snow tossed aside.

"Jack, I'll go later. I'll get another flight—"

"No!" He shook his head vehemently. "No. I must do it this way. I'm sorry." He shut the car door.

Before the driver pulled from the curb, Jack had scurried away, making it halfway up the sidewalk without a wave or backward glance.

And that was that.

At breakneck speed he had detonated three explosions: He wanted a divorce. He didn't want to talk about it for weeks. He mentioned her fans.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Her fans were women who listened to her radio show and planned to read her new book. They were women from across the country who trusted her advice on how to prevent a husband from doing exactly what her husband had just managed to do.

More specifically they were women in Los Angeles who had already paid money to eat lunch with Jill Galloway. They had paid money to hear her speak about how to communicate in marriage. They had scheduled it on their BlackBerrys for tomorrow.

Before the cab had reached the end of the block, her jaw quit working.

Except for the tremble.

She was supposedly an expert in marital discourse. How did it happen that in ten words or less, with absolutely no forewarning, her own husband had exploded their world with "I want a divorce" and then sent her off to the airport?

The scene was so totally out of character for him it made her head swim. The Galloways were the poster couple for a healthy marriage. They had worked hard for over twenty years at keeping it healthy. She had taught on the subject for a dozen years. She had a solid grasp of the ins and outs—

A sharp jab against her arm startled her.

Her seatmate moved her elbow from the armrest. "Sorry."

Jill nodded and then shook her head and hoped it was a universal sign for "no problem."

"Excuse me." The woman pushed the headset from her mane of dark hair. "No one is sitting in the aisle seat. You could use it."

Jill gazed at the empty seat.

"Uh, are you all right?"

She nodded, shook her head, and nodded again. You don't want to know.

"Do you need the attendant?"

Jill's lungs craved air. Her chest felt like it was on fire. Maybe words were piled up inside. Instead of their usual flight off her tongue, they had lumped themselves together and now spontaneous combustion was occurring.

Maybe she was having a heart attack!

Miss Sullen reached up and snapped on the call light.

Jill blurted, "It's my husband's seat."

"Okaaay." Her voice rose on the last syllable.

"He's in Chicago."

The woman's eyebrows twitched.

"And I think he just left me." Jill unbuckled her belt, snapped off the call light, and moved into Jack's seat, affirming that he really and truly was not coming.

The burning sensation lessened. Maybe speaking aloud had released some of the pressure. Maybe what helped was giving voice to truth, the hard truth that she was on a plane somewhere over the Rockies and her husband for no conceivable reason was not.

She shut her eyes. She couldn't even articulate a prayer. Where was God in all this anyway? A simple answer was that He allowed this situation for a reason. A reason she could use someday. Something like a new insight to share with other women or like material for a lesson plan.

Her chest went all hot again. The simple answer did not resonate. No way, nohow.

She pressed her fingers against her breastbone. Was it heartburn? Not the kind that plagued her when she was pregnant, but the kind inflicted by such emotional pain it felt like her heart was being seared.

"Maybe he didn't leave you," her seatmate said.

Jill opened her eyes.

Miss Sullen shrugged. "You said you 'think' he left you. If you don't know for sure, maybe he didn't."

"Maybe he didn't." Jill sighed. "Out of the blue he said he wanted a divorce."

"Out of the blue?"

"Yes. The thing is, I can't figure out why he would. I mean, of course I've gone over my obvious, most glaring faults. I talk too much. I drag him to events he doesn't give a hoot about. He wanted four kids but I said no after one. I ignore his parents a lot. I don't cook. I really don't like his office manager. I threw his baseball cards into the trash. It was a mistake—I didn't mean to, but I did it. And I spend an arm and a leg every three weeks for this." She grabbed a fistful of frosted blonde hair. Its carefree style cut exactly one inch below her earlobes remained undisturbed.

Miss Sullen's brows inched upward.

Jill went on. "But that's just everyday life, you know? It's what he married. Piled up for twenty-four years with no serious complaint out of him, do they create a motive? I don't think so. But what about the big-deal stuff? the stuff that really matters?"

The woman's eyes were wide open now.

Jill slid into familiar territory, her tone confident. "The big-deal stuff is definitely in the plus column. Jack and I talk openly about everything, and I mean everything. We always have. We like each other. Physical intimacy is very good. We attend church together. We go on dates regularly. We spend time with mutual friends. He loves his work. I love mine. Our son is a mature young adult. As far as I know, that covers it. And trust me, I know a lot about marriage."

The brows disappeared behind Miss Sullen's bangs. "You sure sound like you do."

"Well, I've studied it for years. I speak at women's conferences about it and teach it to a women's Sunday school class. Have for years." Instantly her jaw locked again. Her cheeks flushed. The gush of boldness ebbed, like water circling a drain. She heard its sickening slurp.

"So," the woman said, "you're like an expert."

"Um, sort of." The doubts were piling up faster than last night's snow. She wasn't about to explain that not only did she speak on the subject, she hosted a syndicated radio show devoted to it. And not only that—she had even written a book about it.

"Then you know what this is about."

Jill met the young woman's dark eyes, more somber than sullen, wiser than thirtysome years awarded. Her black cashmere sweater did not quite reach the top of low-rise jeans. Her tall boots were of soft leather. Silver bangles clinked on her wrists; a huge diamond flashed on her left hand.

Jill said, "How do you know?"

"My husband is fifteen years older. We met at the beginning of his crisis."


As in midlife crisis.

On any other day up until this day, Jill would have asked the woman a gazillion questions and taken notes. She must be a gold mine of information. She was the prototype of the Younger Woman whose path crossed the Older Guy's as he bounced around in a confused state of dipping hormones or dying career or diminishing whatever.

But right now Jill was not pulling out her pen and pad. Right now she was imagining Jack grinning at a beauty half his age.

"Then again—" the woman slid her headset over her ears—"maybe he just has the flu." She picked up her book and began reading again.

Jill leaned her head against the seat back and closed her eyes. "Midlife crisis and divorce." She whispered the dreaded words as if tasting a kumquat. Their unfamiliar acidic flavor settled on her tongue. Did she have to get used to it?

Tears stung.

I vote for the flu.

* * *

Agonizingly long hours later at the Los Angeles airport, Jill greeted Gretchen MacKelvie curbside with a quick squeeze. "Hi."

"Where's Jack?"

"Home. Flu."

Gretchen held her at arm's length. Taller than Jill's five-two by several inches, she was large-boned with long, wavy brown hair and full lips. "Flu."


Gretchen's left eye narrowed; the other flashed neon green. Her ski-slope nose twitched. She had perfected the matronly glare long before she'd turned forty-two. "What's up with the incomplete sentences, Miss Jaws?"

Jill glared back at her. "It's either flu or midlife crisis. I'm going with flu."

"Jill! What happened?"

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He just didn't feel like coming." She shrugged off Gretchen's hands. "Is that your rental? The security guy's heading for it."

"Like I care. Stand still and talk to me."

Ignoring her friend, Jill rolled her luggage hastily toward the car, calling out to the guard. "We're here! We're coming."

"You can't park there, ma'am."

"Got it!"

Nodding, he strode past.

Gretchen muttered to herself, aiming her key ring at the car. "Can't even park for five minutes. Curses on terrorists everywhere." The trunk popped open. Together they loaded the cases. "What do you mean he didn't feel like coming? I just saw him on Sunday. He was looking forward to his vacation."

"Yeah, well, evidently his vacation wasn't this one."

"Is it because of his car accident on Tuesday night?"

"That was no big deal. Few stitches on his head. He put on his Cubs hat and went back to work the next morning. The thing is, he said he ..." Lockjaw set in again. Jill forced the words through clenched teeth. "He said he wants a divorce."

Gretchen gasped.

Jill slammed the trunk lid shut. "He got sick. Hormones, midlife gear switching, flu, whatever. He'll get better."

"No. Way. You're spinning this, aren't you? You're making it palatable. Next you're going to say God works all things together for good."

"Well, He does. Meanwhile, you and I have our own work to do."

"Jillian Galloway, this is huge. A divorce? Oh, my gosh! Why aren't you bawling your head off?"

"I already did, somewhere over Colorado."

"Malarkey. Your mascara isn't smudged, not even a tiny bit."

"Fixed it over Nevada."

"Oh, Jillie."

"Ladies!" The security guard neared again, making a show of flipping open his ticket pad.

They hurried around to the car doors and climbed inside.

Within moments Gretchen eased the car into the traffic. She sighed heavily. "Don't you ever get tired of squeezing the lemons? We do not need any lemonade, sweetums. Not today."

Jill disagreed. She would have said so, but her jaw was too busy forming itself around a wail.


Excerpted from DESERT gift by SALLY JOHN Copyright © 2011 by Sally John. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. 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.

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Desert Gift 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
kristen4mk More than 1 year ago
Whew! This was a sometimes challenging book to read. Ultimately, I enjoyed it....but there were moments....Jillian, a marriage communication "expert" and her husband have been married more than 20 years when he blurts out that he wants a divorce - right as they are leaving to go on a part work (to promote her new book on, you guessed it, husband/wife communication), part vacation. He pushes her out the door with this new information and off we go on a journey of self discovery, re-learning how to relate to each other - Jillian becomes more and more aware of how she is perceived, and that good intentions do not always make wonderful results. I know I found myself relating more to her than her husband (who frustrated me - he spends years being a doormat, and then boom! 'I'm mad at how you've been treating me and we're done', instead of *saying something* as time passed) in this conflict. I thought the recipe idea that is mentioned in Jillian's book is cute and that this would probably be a good book for those needing to be reminded that a: how we see ourselves is not always how others do, and b: just because a couple has been married for a million years, does not always ensure long term success - like every other relationship, it takes constant work, healthy communication, and concentrated effort. But will be worth it in the end!
Holly11 More than 1 year ago
Jillian Galloway, a marriage expert with her own radio show, is about to go on her book signing tour in California when Jack, her husband of 24 years, announces he wants out of their marriage. The news leaves Jillian spinning - for not only is her marriage crumbling apart, but it leaves her profession in question. How in the world does a marriage expert's marriage fall apart? Jill goes back to her childhood home and reconnects with her parents, her sister, and some old friends. She also meets some new friends who challenge her in her faith. I really liked this book. I'm not married, but it was nice to read a Christian fiction book that brought in principles for a godly marriage - food for thought for the future! I found myself swept up in Jillian and Jack's story, and I really empathized with them. I also really appreciated the way the author had the couple honestly deal with marital problems, and not just "neatly wrap things up" the way fiction sometimes can. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's married, or would like to be someday.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of insights into what can cause a marriage to fail. And a lot of good ideas on how to communicate well. It was an overall good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book. I was surprised by the twists in the story but I enjoyed reading every one. I did not care for the recipe tie-in's such as "Crunchy casserole..." but it is worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sally John has done it again!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read and written well. Recommend.
AAR More than 1 year ago
DESERT GIFT by Sally John is an interesting inspirational fiction Chicago and Los Angles. It is well written with depth and details.This is Book 2 in Side Road Series,but can be read as a stand alone. See "Ransomed Dreams".The characters are charming,engaging and will capture your heart. This is the story of Jillian Galloway and her journey after her world crashes down around her.When her husband of twenty-four years asks her for a divorce,her life is turned upside down and she wonders if everything she has built her life on is a sham. This is the story of life's unexpected detours,faith,trust,second chances,anguish,healing,emptimess,lies we tell ourshelves,the truths we sometimes overlook and the knowledge that God is always at work and right on time. This is a powerful story about married couples,their journey from the beginning to the end,their laughter,tears and the reassurance that life somethimes is not what it seems. It shows us God's love,understanding,hope and forgiveness.Desert Gift is a must for it shows us that we can find second chances and hope even in the desert. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher. Details can be found at Tyndale House Publishers and My Book Addiction Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Desert Gift by Sally John is a great novel. It shows lots of good descriptions and has a great plot. The characters are well developed and play their role in the book. Jill Galloway, a radio show host, has a big horrible surprise. Her husband tells her that he's tired of their marriage and wants a divorce. Her husband doesn't new wife, he just says he's done with marriage. Funny thing is Jill has a book about marriage, so how much will she sell? Hardly anything because she's divorced. Jill goes to a desert where her parents are and thinks over there about her mistakes. This is an amazing book. I recommend it to all married couples.
kattrox More than 1 year ago
Jillian is a well known speaker and author on the subject of marriage communication. Jackson is a physician for Huffman Medical Group, he asked his wife Jill for a divorce after 24 years of marriage. He has fallen "out of love". Their son Conner, aged 23 is currently living in Europe. Jill's books reveal much about their marriage and the more she tries to reconcile the more he drags his feet. The memories are fresh in her mind, her thoughts consume her. The question remains, Can she get back what she needs and deserves in this life, and will it come with a price? The scene worked but I felt the characters lacked depth and I had a very hard time connecting with them. The novel started out great but quickly dropped off and sadly did not hold my interest to the end. My faith was challenged somewhat. It is an ok read but not sure if I would recommend it to others.
Renee90 More than 1 year ago
The Desert Gift by Sally John is the second book in the Side Road Series. It is an intriguing story that opens with Jillian Galloway, noted marriage and relationship counselor, author and radio show host being told by her husband that he wishes to have a divorce. Jillian is absolutely blindsided and shocked when she hears this and to make matters worse, she was on her way out the door to start her biggest book tour ever! While her world rapidly crumbles around her, Jillian heads to her parent's home in the California desert. Her journey is one of seeking the truth, finding herself and finding God while she walks the side roads of her life. Can she face the truth of her past? Will her marriage be saved? I found this book to be an insightful tale of one woman's struggle to navigate the bumpy roads when the storms of life fall upon her. The story is thoughtful, intriguing and captivating and it grabbed me by the heart and didn't let go till the very end of the book. I love reading a book where the characters are realistic, engaging and where their interpersonal relationships are deeply explored. This was the case with The Desert Gift. Ms. Sally John has done a fabulous job with this book! I can't wait to read book 1 of this series, Ransomed Dreams and book 3 of this series that is due out in Spring of 2012! Many thanks to Tyndale Publishing for providing me with the opportunity to review this book. My review is an honest expression of my feelings regarding this book.
mrsred49 More than 1 year ago
I have read Sally's book Ransomed Dreams and did a review on it last year. So this book Desert Gift is just as good if not better. Jullian Galloway's world was about to be upset as she and her husband Jackson who is a doctor were about to take their first vacation in years. They have one son and he is in Europe studying art and both of them have a very busy life. She is a talk show host on the radio about how to have a good and lasting marriage and had just published a book on the subject. But the morning they were supposed to leave for California for a tour of her book and a vacation, Jackson told her he was not going and that he wanted a divorce. This hit Jullian like a bullet as she could not understand why. She went ahead to California and left him at home, but she was so unhappy but he was so relieved that she was gone. He didn't really understand what had come over him either but he just wanted to be away from her. Jullian loved her radio show and really had the "big head" " over it and Jackson was a well liked surgeon so he felt the same way about himself. I could understand why a couple needed some time alone as my husband and myself just celebrated 50 years together, and sometimes I wish he would go fishing or something for a week or two and I am sure he feels the same way as he loves outside and I like to be inside so we really don't have a lot in common. I want to thank Tyndale Publishers for sending me this book and the review is my own.
Vickyg48 More than 1 year ago
I just finished Desert Gift by Sally John and it was one of those books where I read other reviews on this book and went ahead and picked this to read. I got this book free from Tyndale Publishers for my honest opinion. So my honest opinion is: it was just ok. I struggled with the plot-very uninteresting and way too long. The book and plot seemed to drag on forever till I got to the end. The characters seemed so trite and focused on themselves which got tiring after a while. The story plot about Jillian Galloway being a successful radio talk show host and known as a marriage expert. She has a new book out and is leaving on a book tour when her husband tells her he wants a divorce. She is wondering if her whole life is a sham and how can she get her marriage back. This is supposed to be a book about unexpected detours that our lives can take and how God is always at work. There was some of that but mostly I felt the book just rambled on and on. Very seldom do I not like a Christian book and I am sure she is a great author, but this book left me relieved when I turned the last page.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Sally John in her new book, "Desert Gift" Book Two in the Side Roads series published by Tyndale brings us to the world of media and the people who live in that world. What do you do when you have all the answers and when you need them the most you find that you don't have the answers? That is what happens to Jillian Galloway. She is a successful radio host of Recipes for Marriage, an author about to start her first book tour for She Said, He Heard, as well as a wife and mom yet her husband, Dr. Jack Galloway asks for a divorce. Now Jillian has to embark on a journey that will expose her to herself. If you put a pot of water over an open flame eventually the water will begin to boil. However the "if you do this action, then this other action will occur" scenario doesn't work so predictably with others. It is called manipulation and after a while, when the others realize what you are doing there will be a rebellion of sorts. "Desert Gift" is a story of letting others be who they are while you are being who you are and the open communication it takes to live with each other in unity and harmony. Ms. John has written a story about marriage and just what it takes to make a marriage work without a formula, really scary but much more human. At the center of this book is God with His power to heal and to forgive. Ms. John weaves a captivating story with wonderful characters that breathe. I was glad to spend the time with these characters and look forward to more from Ms. John in this exciting series. If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale. 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."
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Jillian Galloway was on top of the world. A successful radio host of Recipes for Marriage, an author about to start her first book tour for She Said, He Heard, as well as a wife and mom. What she didn't expect as her and husband, Jack, were planning to get ready to leave on her first debut whirl wind book tour, was an announcement from Jack asking for a divorce. How could this happen? She had devoted her life to making sure everything in Dr. Jack Galloway's life flowed smoothly from running the house, paying the bills, and being what she thought was the perfect wife. She thought their communication was excellent since Jack was her source of inspiration for helping other married couples through their difficulties. How can she possibly move forward in her career as a marriage expert when her own was falling apart? In the book, Desert Gift by Sally John, Jillian is faced with a choice between fighting for her career or her marriage. Yet how do you fight for your marriage when your husband won't talk to you, tells you that he doesn't love you any more and has moved out? Jillian is struggling with these decisions while her agent Gretchen keeps her working on her book tour as she becomes more sad and depressed as she discovers more about herself than she would have imagined through a series of encounters with the most delightful cast of characters. Faced with blunt honesty at times, Jillian is forced to face the reality that God has bigger plans for her, and the more she resists Him, the longer her road to recovery will take. This book is a great way to look at how marriages will come to a crossroads at a midway point that most call a mid-life crisis. The things that Jillian will learn along her way will help us look deep within our own marriages and see them through a new pair of eyes. I received this book compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review and can honestly say, there were a few areas within my own marriage I was able to give a hard look at to make sure we keep our foundation strong. Desert Gift rates a 5 out of 5 stars and a must read for any marriage. This book is available in paperback and eBook formats.
amomwithablog More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Jillian Galloway. Jill's an expert on marriage... or so she thought. Through her own radio show, speaking at churches, as well as teaching a ladies Bible study, she's helped countless couples with their marriages. Now, at the height of her career, she has a book being published and she is scheduled to speak at the Mega Church of her dreams. She's reached the top... until her husband's sudden announcement that he wants a divorce brings everything to a screeching halt. Jill's character was easy to relate to. She's a woman who knows all the answers. But she forgot one thing... to let God lead. I think the author did a wonderful job of portraying Jill. So often we get all the right answers and think we're good to go... then we leave God behind. I love how the other characters were forced to look at their own lives as well, not just blame Jill. This is a great book to remind us to take a look at ourselves and take responsibility for the mess we are in. Not just blame everyone else. This book has a great story with a wonderful message of forgiveness and restoration. Not just the main characters... but with the supporting characters as well. I loved them all. Couldn't put this book down. I'll definitely be reading more by Sally John. I think you'll enjoy it too! :) *Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. -Thanks Tyndale House! :)
Wyn More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. Jillian was the quintessential formulaic Christian advisor ~ if you do this, then God, your husband, your friends, your family, will do that. Of course, that's not how it works all the time and it's not right, it's manipulative. Her husband, the partner in her perfect marriage that she has used as a basis for her radio program and her new book, rebells suddenly; and she is forced to deal with issues from her childhood. The characters that she meets when she decides to hide out at her sister's and her parent's, help her to discover where her assumptions have been wrong and how to move forward. I especially enjoyed Agnes an elderly member of the Casitas Pack who knew exactly what to say and when, communing with angels and giving indirect advice. One of the most difficult lessons in life is told in an imaginative and real-life manner including all the shocks and all the gifts. Definitely a good book to read. Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers who has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
Jack and Jill (yes, like the nursery rhyme!) have been married for 25 years when one day Jack suddenly decides he wants a divorce. Jill must examine her entire life - and her career as a speaker and writer about all things marriage - to determine where things went wrong and if there is any way they can get their marriage back on track. Sally John is certainly a wonderful author. I have read several of her books previously and have enjoyed every one. For whatever reason, though, I had a hard time pushing through this one. I think it's because it's a little too realistic.The struggle between Jack and Jill was heart-wrenching at times and it was difficult to read. On the bright side, though, the main characters are thoroughly developed, and there are a number of supporting characters that truly add to the depth of the story. Additionally, Sally John really does a great job of telling a story and pulling you in. Even though there were times I wanted to put the book down because it was a tough read, I kept picking it back up. I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my fair and honest review.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Married for almost a quarter of a century to her husband Jackson, Jillian Galloway feels they are the epitome of a strong healthy Christian marriage and family with a healthy adult son. She has become a popular speaker on the subject of healthy marriages and has written a book as well. Jill prepares for a book tour when Jack informs her he is tired of their relationship and wants a divorce. Jill is stunned and in denial as she cannot believe he is unhappy and leaving her. She considers canceling the tour and spends time with her parents and her married sister and brother-in-law. Both couples seem contented leading Jill to look inside at herself and her relationship with Jack. Desert Gift is an enjoyable family drama starring two caring individuals. He is a kind physician and she is a nurturing expert on marriages until her own implodes. Character driven, fans will appreciate this fine story as Jill goes through the phases of grief until she finally wonders what she did and could have done differently to nurture her relationship with jack before they tumbled down. Harriet Klausner
HSMomof4 More than 1 year ago
Him: a well -respected podiatrist. Her: an up-and-coming Christian writer and speaker on marriage. Together: a marriage tumbling out of control. In Desert gift, Sally John introduces us to Jack, the doctor, and Jill, the motivational speaker. Throughout their 24 years of marriage, Jill has been honing her gift of communication. She has been studying marriages and relationships, interviewing experts in this field, and speaking on the topic on radio, at women's conferences and Sunday school.? Now - just as her first book tour is about to begin - Jack informs her that he wishes a divorce! Sally John has brought a difficult topic to the table. How many Christian marriages end because of non-communication or miscommunication? As we watch Jill unpack the many truths about her own shortcomings, we can take a few steps back and examine our own hearts. Through the introduction of different characters, Jill is finally able to admit her faults/sins, seek God on a truly intimate level, and ask His forgiveness. All the while, Jack is realizing that his life is not all that he thought is was. I enjoyed Desert gift and the chance it gave me to examine my own heart and motives. I could relate to the characters and the difficulties they found themselves in. I did have a hard time with the names chosen, Jack and Jill. I feel the author could have chosen more appropriate names for the main characters. Sally John did play on the nursery rhyme throughout the book. Click HERE to read an excerpt from Desert gift! Star rating: 4 out of 5 I received a complimentary copy of Desert gift from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review.
pitchingpencils More than 1 year ago
Unlike typical romances that focus on new loves and marriages, Sally John's Desert Gift portrays an established marriage that has fallen apart. Jillian Galloway, a marriage expert, has found the success that she has always desired; her first book has been published, and her syndicated radio show is popular nationwide. As she is leaving for a publicity tour, however, her husband of twenty-four years quickly tells her as he ushers her out the door that he wants a divorce. In the weeks following this bombshell, Jillian must confront her own beliefs about God and marriage as she struggles to understand her husband's desire to leave. Sally John's Desert Gift is a mature, thoughtful exploration of God's work in the life of a marriage. John does not avoid the problems inherent in separation; she instead looks unflinchingly at the breakdown of a once loving marriage and the potential causes for that disintegration. This book certainly speaks to married, Christian women. John provides these readers with a unique view of an effective marriage based on Christian principles. Her work avoids being preachy, though. Throughout the story, a reliance upon God is shown to be paramount for a lasting relationship. John provides great insight and hope for married women who may be facing struggles in their relationship. I received a free copy of this book from the Tyndale blog network. All opinions in this review are my own.
Thia7278 More than 1 year ago
It's not quite that simple. There's a disconnect because we're not who we were when we got married. This is not the life I signed up for. We've both changed too much. Jillian Galloway is a nationally syndicated host of her own radio show. She is about to step into the world of book touring with her very first book. Her subject of expertise? Marriage. Her work is based on listening to countless women talk about their marriages as well as her own experience of being married to Jack for twenty four years. As their marriage is long lasting and secure, the book is full of stories and examples of their own life together. Jack even created recipes for the book. They'll do the book tour then have a well deserved vacation together. Life couldn't be better. As they depart their home, Jack tells Jillian that he isn't going and wants a separation. Before she can catch her breath and respond, he puts her in a taxi and begins his new solitary life. Jillian's world comes crashing down as everything she has believed in gets challenged, including her relationship with God. Having recently read The Beach House by Sally John, I was excited to read another of her books. She did not disappoint in her well developed characters and real to life plot. She makes an excellent point through the book that marriage is not a one-size-fits-all venture, there is no formula to follow for the perfect marriage. There are many books and "experts" which offer good advice, but they do not guarantee anything. Without a formula to solve the problems, Jillian wonders if there is any way to repair her marriage and herself. I like the way the story is unpredictable, moving forwards and backwards as each character makes decisions. I enjoyed less the subplot of her son, saying more would spoil the tale.