Wren has tried to shelter her only son from the tumult of the world. Now she's about to find sanctuary . . . in the last place she ever expected.
In tiny Cottage Cover, on the coast of Maine, Wren Evans is raising her gifted son, Charlie. A single mom, she's fought hard to give Charlie a stable, secure home life. When a prestigious music academy in Boston expresses interest in Charlie's talent, Wren is willing to move them again to make his dreams come true.
But Wren doesn't know that Charlie has been praying for her. And the answer to her son's prayers will change both of their lives. As Wren plans their move to Boston, life in Maine begins to fall apart. Her job is threatened with budget cuts, and Wren's grandmother, Ruth, arrives unannounced, with an outlandish request.
Ruth wants the family gathered together one last time, at the summer home where, years before, an accident shattered Wren's peaceful childhood. In the tumult, Wren finds a friend in a handsome, kind-hearted local, Paul Callahan.
When the family gathers in Cottage Cover, old wounds will be healed, new love will blossom, and the innocent prayers of a child will be answered in a most unexpected way.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teacher, and bestselling author with more than five million books sold. She is the author of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess series, Peace for Today, Loved Back to Life, The Storm Inside, Five Minutes with Jesus and The Longing in Me. She is cohost of Life Today with James and Betty Robison. Sheila lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband, Barry, and son, Christian.
Read an Excerpt
By Sheila Walsh Cindy Martinusen Coloma
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2011 Sheila Walsh and Cindy Martinusen Coloma
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe morning was already off to a difficult start when Wren found the flyer tucked inside her ten-year-old son's backpack. Sandwich making and mental planning for her meeting with the library director came to a halt.
Where had the paper come from? Charlie's music teacher must have given it to him. She couldn't think of any other possibilities.
If not for the location given on the paper, Wren would have dismissed it completely. But the touch of cold in the late summer morning, winter's gentle whisper, spoke to the deepest part of her mothering instinct. Wren felt a chill down her back, and she carried the f lyer as she closed the kitchen window, reading the words for the third time.
Summer Music in Malta "Play with the masters where the masters played." June 15– August 1st Applications due November 1st
Charlie's father lived on the Mediterranean island of Malta, or he had the last she'd heard any news about him. Charlie didn't know this. He only knew his dad lived in Europe somewhere, and that they hadn't heard from him since Charlie was a toddler. The absent father was their norm and thus seemed no absence at all.
Wren wanted to wake Charlie and ask him about the flyer, but instead she took a deep breath to calm herself. Anything that hinted of her ex-husband sent her into a momentary panic. He'd abandoned them to pursue his dreams in Europe, and after ten years, Wren had become warily comfortable that he wouldn't return.
She'd been packing Charlie's lunch and putting a quote for the day into his backpack when she'd found the paper. The quote she'd written was taken from Peter Pan: "All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust."
The words took on new meaning now, and seemed more for her than for Charlie. She wrote "Love, Mom" with a heart at the bottom and slid the card into the zippered compartment. She kept the flyer on the counter to ask him about it and made coffee.
On mornings like this, Wren wished for Anne Shirley from her favorite childhood series Anne of Green Gables, or Jane Austen or another of her friends from literature, to discuss life over coffee—or perhaps tea would be more appropriate. Their blend of sense and sensibility and bosom friendship would surely bring clarity to the worries that kept disrupting Wren's sleep. Even Scarlett O'Hara could offer brittle but sound Southern advice. Wren hadn't been sleeping well, as if unwanted change tapped at her subconscious and this flyer was the catalyst.
The women would sympathize with her past mistakes—falling in love and marrying spontaneously without reason or logic, which now meant raising a son without that all-essential male influence. She hoped they'd encourage her in the life Wren lived now—safe and controlled, organized and meaningful.
"Mom," a voice sounded at the edge of Wren's thoughts.
Jane, what would you tell me to do with my life? And how much therapy will Charlie need when he grows up?
Wren imagined Scarlett taking her by the shoulders and declaring, "Fiddle-dee-dee—if I can fight the Union and save my plantation, then you can keep it together!"
"Mom. Mom. Mom."
Wren turned from where she'd been staring into the open refrigerator. "I didn't hear you."
"What book were you living in?" Charlie, still wearing his pajamas, rubbed his eyes with his head tilted to one side.
"It's Women in Literature month at the library." She smiled, trying to brush away the lingering pessimism. Charlie nodded as if this were the most normal thing in the world.
"Do your book characters know if there's any milk for my cereal?"
That's what she had been doing in the refrigerator. Wren reached in for the gallon of milk, holding it up to see if any was left. Charlie was notorious for leaving empty milk or juice cartons in the refrigerator.
"Didn't we just buy this milk?" Wren asked as Charlie opened the pantry to search for his cereal. She considered asking him about the music flyer, but decided to wait until he was a little more awake.
"I've been drinking three glasses a day so I'll grow taller. I'm the shortest kid in fifth grade."
"I remember your grandpa said he grew so much one summer that his classmates didn't recognize him when he went back to school."
"That would be so cool. I wish that would happen to me."
"Here, I think we have enough for your cereal." Wren set the milk on the tile countertop next to his cereal bowl as Charlie hopped onto the barstool with a box of Cheerios in his hand.
Wren returned to search the refrigerator, hoping to find a hidden coffee creamer tucked behind the leftover lasagna, some take-out cartons, the yogurt, and orange juice. She always bought more than one creamer to avoid being caught without any.
The day will not be ruined because you don't have cream for your coffee, she told herself.
"Mom, is everything okay?" Charlie asked as if he were an adult stuck inside a ten-year-old body.
Wren glanced at him as she closed the refrigerator without finding creamer. Perhaps this was the moment to ask him about the flyer. He watched her with that morning sleepy look she found adorable, and Wren decided to wait until he'd had a few more minutes to wake up.
"Everything is great. Not too much sugar this time. Cheerios don't need sugar."
"Oh yes they do."
"Sugar stunts your growth."
"Funny. Now don't be avoiding my questions. Are you running from the law or something?"
Wren raised an eyebrow and tucked a loose strand of her brunette hair behind her ear. "I do need to pay a parking ticket."
Charlie poured his cereal, then flooded the bowl with the last of the milk. He dropped in two spoonfuls of sugar and nearly a third but stopped at Wren's warning expression.
"Maybe you're a double agent, and the gig is up."
"Double agent? Since I speak only English and a little Français, I wouldn't make a good double agent."
"Or so she says," Charlie said, giving her a scrutinizing look before stuffing a spoonful of cereal into his mouth.
"You can interrogate me further in one minute. I need to see if the dryer got the wrinkles out of my blouse. Less than ten minutes till takeoff—we're running a little late already."
"Don't spies know how to iron?"
"Not this spy," Wren said and opened the back door.
"I knew it," Wren heard Charlie say as she stepped onto the cold stone walkway in her bare feet, making her wish for her slippers. She shivered in the morning chill and spotted a single gold leaf resting on the green back lawn. In the distance came the faint rhythm of the waves on the rocks below the property.
Wren tiptoed across the damp lawn and picked up the leaf. Summer was making its final exit, and before long the harsh Maine winter would bind them inside or keep them wrapped up whenever they opened the door, shoveling snow from the walkway and scraping their car windows every morning.
Sometimes Wren almost missed the Chicago winters when at least the roads were cleared and the electricity didn't regularly shut off. Wren and Charlie had survived one winter in the caretaker's house on the property of her family's old vacation home, but she'd planned for them to move on before facing another one. Now they'd need to stock up on firewood and prepare the house and themselves for winter's fury. More than that, the longer they remained on this property, the longer she felt they were cheating fate.
This land could become a trap, holding them captive and stealing their future as it had stolen so much of her family's life since childhood. Wren wasn't willing for it to take Charlie's dreams and future as well.
When he was three months old, after his father left them, Wren had held Charlie up to watch their first sunrise, just the two of them. She'd promised that she'd take care of him, give him the greatest life possible, and do everything she could to provide him with the very best.
Wren had a plan, and if the pieces came together today, she'd be much closer to fulfilling her promise to her son. Today might be one of those turning-point days. The outcome of her meeting with the library director would mean either proceeding forward, or else—Wren wasn't quite sure and didn't want to consider it. The morning interruption with the flyer and its reminder of her ex-husband was a mere distraction, she decided. She needed to press forward and keep ominous thoughts far away.
Wren tucked the leaf into her robe pocket and hurried into the laundry area in the woodshed beside the house. As she opened the dryer, the heat warmed her face. But it was too much heat. She looked at the knob; it was pointed at hot.
"No, no, not this shirt."
Wren returned to the house, holding the shrunken vintage blouse before her. Charlie nearly spit out a mouthful of Cheerios, trying to hide his laughter.
"Poor Mom. Another shirt eaten by the dryer monster."
"I need to learn how to iron," Wren muttered to herself as she sped down the hall to finish getting ready. This had been one of her favorite blouses. She quickly tossed clothing from her closet until she found a poor substitute in a plain blue dress shirt. She buttoned it up, smoothing it over her black cigar pants.
"Charlie, are you ready?" Wren called when she heard him using his drumsticks on various objects around his bedroom.
"I'm ready, Mom," Charlie called back, and she heard final taps on the elaborate chimes he'd created from various metal and glass objects from around the house, including a metal sculpture she'd made in college, some tin roofing from the shed, and several of their drinking glasses. He burst into her bedroom and whistled when he saw the clothing piled on her bed.
"I know why this is happening," Charlie said in a sing-song voice.
"Why what is happening?" Wren tucked one last bobby pin into her hastily twisted French bun and took a last look in the mirror at her light makeup.
"All of our bad mornings this week."
"You can tell me in the car. I have an important meeting with Dr. James right after I take you to school. We can't be late." Wren should have been preparing for that meeting.
Charlie followed her down the hall. "Does the word important come from the word import? Maybe it comes from people importing ants. Get it? Import-ant?"
"How do you know a word like import?"
"Franklin's dad is in the import business. So what import-ant meeting do you have?"
Wren noticed the tag on the back of Charlie's shirt. "If you get your shirt turned right side out and get those teeth cleaned before they turn green, then I'll tell you about my meeting tonight over tacos."
"Deal." He stuck out his hand, and Wren shook it quickly.
"Now go. Teeth."
Charlie turned back down the hall, and Wren dashed to the kitchen where she gathered up her bag—checking to be sure the book she was reading was tucked inside for her lunch hour—along with Charlie's lunchbox and a cup of cream-less coffee.
"Charlie, let's go," she called.
Wren saw the flyer as she heard his quick footsteps coming toward the kitchen. Late or not, she had to ask. "I found this paper in your backpack."
Charlie rushed into the room, ending in an abrupt skid as he saw what she was holding. His face displayed his telltale guilty expression.
Before either could speak, the doorbell rang.
"Who's that?" Charlie asked, turning toward the door.
"Let me get it," Wren said, setting everything down on the counter. Who could it be? They were too far out for many visitors, especially for a Wednesday morning. Before Wren could reach the door, it creaked opened and a face peered inside.
"Oh, lovely, you're home! I was afraid you'd already gone for the day."
Grandma Ruth bustled into the entryway.
"Nana!" Charlie yelled, rushing past Wren and diving into Ruth's arms. "Look, Mom, Nana's here."
Wren stared at her grandmother, unable to process the sudden arrival.
"Are you staying with us?" Charlie asked.
"That I am Charles, that I am."
Through the front window, Wren saw a taxi turn around in the driveway.
"Grandma." Wren embraced her petite grandmother. "What a surprise."
"Not so much of a surprise. God sent me." Ruth produced a sweet Betty White smile.
"Really? I knew it!" Charlie said. "Woohoo! I knew God was listening."
What is going on? Wren tried to muster a sincere smile. "Did you try calling? I didn't know you were coming."
"Of course you didn't."
"Oh." Wren could think of nothing else to say. She wondered if this had something to do with Charlie's suspicious behavior or the flyer about Malta.
Charlie picked up one of Ruth's suitcases outside the open door and carried it awkwardly into the living room. "Nana already said it was God who sent her. Because I prayed, remember I prayed, Mom? That's why all these things are happening."
Charlie and Wren had been praying more regularly at bedtime. While she struggled to bring God into her daily life and the little worries of the day, Charlie's faith seemed to encompass him wholly. But Charlie's recent prayer had shaken her considerably.
"Yes, I remember, but I'm sorry, Grandma, we're late." She looked at Ruth. "I could ... take the day off?"
"Oh no, no, no, darling. I'll be just fine. It was a bit of a journey, as you can imagine. I took the train up and then the taxi—it's been a long night and morning. I'll enjoy resting up. Maybe I'll start dinner?"
Wren raised an eyebrow. Ruth was notorious for her lack of cooking skill.
"It's Taco Wednesday—you can come with us," Charlie said.
Wren carried in Ruth's second suitcase, surprised at how heavy it was, then she grabbed Charlie's violin case beside the door. "I'm really sorry to leave with you just arriving. Are you sure you'll be okay?"
"I take care of myself every day, don't worry. If I need something, I have your cell phone and you have mine."
"Okay, and please take my bedroom, though it's quite messy right now. I couldn't find anything to wear this morning. How about ... how about I come home for lunch?"
Ruth folded her hands and smiled. "That would be lovely. I'll make tea."
"Charlie, I have your violin case, you go get in the car ... right now," Wren said, emphasizing now as her growing tension leaked into her tone. She smiled at Charlie's quizzical expression. "We need to go, little man."
"Let me get my backpack." He raced back toward the kitchen.
"Sorry again to run, but love you, Grandma." Wren kissed her grandmother's cheek and caught the scent of White Shoulders perfume.
"See you at lunch," Ruth said. "I have a surprise to tell you both."
"A surprise? You know I'm not big on surprises," Wren said with a frown. She had rarely seen anything good come from a surprise.
"Then a little teaser. You're going to throw me a party!"
"Bye, Nana," Charlie called as he raced through the middle of them, ran down the drive, and jumped up toward the overhanging wisteria vine that grew over the front walkway.
"Yes! Nana's here," Charlie shouted as he opened the car.
"A party?" Wren asked, trying not to grimace.
"Well, not just you, but you, your sister, and brother."
"What?" Wren hadn't seen her siblings in years and only rarely spoke to them. They'd gone their separate ways and for good reasons, all stemming from their childhood here on this very land.
Ruth patted Wren's arm. "I'll tell you more at lunch. Stop worrying, dear. Now off to work."
As Wren scurried to the car, she wondered what her grandmother was up to. And how in one morning had Wren and Charlie's well-protected life started to seem so fragile and frayed?
Chapter Two"Did Nana say we're having a party?" Charlie asked when Wren slid behind the wheel of her faded Subaru.
"Something like that."
Wren turned on the engine; the clock made her groan.
"Uh-oh. Mrs. Bailey might make me write sentences," Charlie said with an exaggerated sigh.
"And I'm going to be late for my importing-ants meeting."
Charlie laughed and slapped his knee. "Good one, Mom."
Excerpted from Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh Cindy Martinusen Coloma Copyright © 2011 by Sheila Walsh and Cindy Martinusen Coloma. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wren a single mother of one, living in Maine, begins to face the possibility of her job at the library being threatened with budget cuts, and faces an unexpected visit from her grandmother, and email messages from her ex husband. Because of the possibility of budget cuts, Wren must decide if moving to Boston to further her son's education in music while leaving her current job is the right decision for the both of them. Grandma, Ruth, stays with Wren and her son, Charlie for a short amount of time because Ruth wants to celebrate her 90th in the one place the whole family has not been since the accident that crushed Wren's childhood. And when the family gathers in Cottage Cove, they find old wounds being healed, a new relationship forming, and a Charlie's prayers answered. This novel touched my heart. I also was able to relate to the situations that Wren, and her son's friend were facing. We had went from high class to low class in the blink of an eye. dad was let go from his job at Emerson during the time my mom stayed home with my sisters and I. My dad did get hired for a pharmaceutical company, but we were still trying to make ends meet, so my mother took on food service at a middle school and also a day camp in the summer. I was facing my own problems since 10 years ago. I have been bullied by students, cousins, and my former choir teacher, so when I read the part where Charlie was talking to Wren about his friend being bullied for wearing Spongebob Squarepants attire, my eyes started to water as those memories of my hard childhood came back to me. I strongly recommend this book, because I know you will be able to relate to parts or all of the situations Wren's family is facing. Booksneeze has provided me with a complimentary copy of Sweet Sanctuary.
First i will say that i do not mind Christian based writing but this is, for me, over the top. Quite frankly, this book is quite boring. Though i also like books where the female character is struggling, like myself, with the overwhelming day to day, this character never develops and is just blase. I too liked her son better but i did not buy the book to be entertained by a 10 yr old. I suggest you move on to anorher. The book is too predictable and therefore, uninteresting.
This book is a little gem. I love the writing and flow of the storyline and thought the characters were developed very well. I connected with Wren and her love for reading and working at the library.as that is a personal dream of mine too! The relationship between her ex-husband and herself fell a little flat for me, however the relationship between her and Paul seemed to go at a very steady pace and was realistic. I love Wren's 90 year old aunt, Ruth! She is very perceptive, shares what she needs to, and has her own little secret too. Centered around the celebration of Ruth's 90 birthday, Wren confronts her past so that she can fully embrace her future. There were some little loose ends for me at the end of the book regarding Wren's sibling relationships, however it is a book that I enjoyed!
Sweet Sanctuary is the story of Wren, a single mother of ten-year-old Charlie. Wren and Charlie seem to just be going through life until Wren's grandmother, Ruth, shows up at her front door one morning with the news that she will be having a birthday party and Wren will be hosting it for her. This would not be such a major ordeal, except for one small detail. The last time Wren's family all got together, it pretty much destroyed any relationships within the family. Wren, however, agrees to host the party for Ruth. This will set off a course of events that will either "break or make" Wren. There were parts of the story that I really enjoyed. The relationship between Wren and Charlie is very dear. I especially liked that Charlie had such a strong faith in God. When he prayed he expected God to answer each time. I also liked the realness of the character, Wren. Her struggles and doubts were very realistic. There were some things, however, that I really struggled with in this book. When I read a Christian fiction book, that is what I expect for it to be - Christian. There were details about her sister's lifestyle, both as a child and as an adult, that could have been left out that would not have changed the flow of the story. If I had a teenage daughter I would not encourage her to read this book because of these details. All that being said, this is the first book by either of these authors that I have read and I would still read other books they have written
Wren passed through life carrying a lot of guilt. While a sweet God-loving woman, she could not let go of her past hurts enough to forgive herself, her family or her ex-husband. She tends to put a shell around herself and her son to protect them from further hurt. As the story goes on and other characters are introduced, Grandma Ruth, Wren's sister Barb and brother Jack, Paul, the author does a good job of intertwining them and building the history. I'm not sure what was missing but this just didn't have the WOW factor for me. It was predictable throughout and maybe that was the issue. There's a little bit of anguish, romance, mystery of sorts so it was a pleasant read, just a little disappointing!
Wren has built a quiet steady life with her 10 year old son, Charlie, in small-town Maine. She is content with her life, although not quite happy - a fact her son picks up on. His heartfelt prayer that God "make his mom happy" is the catalyst for many sudden changes in her life: a new love interest, new challenges and opportunities in her career, a chance for her family to reconcile, and a strengthening of her reliance on God. I enjoyed this story, especially its message about seeking God and relinquishing control to Him in all things. Wren's character is developed nicely, however I felt the secondary characters were a bit one-dimensional. The climax was about what I expected, so the element of suspense was not as exciting as perhaps the authors intended it to be. I identified with Wren on many levels, especially her struggle to "wait" on the Lord and trust Him with her son's well-being, her career path and her budding romance. I would recommend this book to women of faith, especially career-oriented, driven women who have yet to find the inner peace that comes when we yield our own conceived power over our lives to God. Overall, this was a very pleasant read.
The story started with Ruth's arrival in Wren's house in the first chapter. From there we learned more about Wren and her relationship with her family, focusing primarily on her relationship or lack of it with her sister Barb and brother, Jack. Their dad has died and their mum has remarried and on a trip in Europe. Wren grew up being blame for something that happened to her brother Jack when she was just eight years old. You might say, 'How could anyone blame an 8 year old child? What was asked of her was too heavy a responsibility.' Yes, it could and it was really unfair but it happens and this story shows how something like that can attached itself to the child (like a curse) and how the child can grow up under the shadow of such blame and never be set free. Wren never got over incident and this blame has affected the way she lives her life and even her relationship with her family and her ex-husband. From the story, we know that Wren is bitter from how her family treated her. She knows, as an adult now, that she wasn't to blame. She drew strength from Psalm 27 and was greatly comforted by it and from it, she learns to forgive and with forgiveness, God works miraculous wonders over that weekend while Ruth celebrates her '90th' birthday. This is one lovely book which I enjoyed tremendously. It wasn't overly spiritual but I'm grateful at how the authors made Psalm 27 real in Wren's story. Psalm 27 is my favourite psalm and to see it coming alive in this book is joy and blessing.
This is a sweet book on love, forgiveness and family relationship Wren is a single mother. To Wren, Charlie is her whole world and she wanted the best for Charlie. She wants his dream to come truth. Even though it means uprooting them from Maine and move to Boston where Charlie can get the best education in music. Charlie also wanted one thing for Wren. And being a child, he make known his wish to his Heavenly Father. Yes, an innocent child's prayer is that powerful. You still remember what Jesus had said? He said those who wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven must have and be innocent like a child. God works in mysterious ways. Out of the blue, Wren 95 years old grandmother appeared and wishes the family to gather one last time. Gosh! It sure bring up a lot of skeletons from the closets and opened up old wounds. In order for old wounds to heal,I guess the reason and misunderstanding that had occurred years ago need to be clear up. Many years had passed. It's not easy to do that. What I love about this book is that, Wren and Charlie had faith in the Lord. No matter how much hardship and bad things that happen, their faith were with the Lord. Some how things were mended. My only sadness about this book it's that this is just a fiction. How I wish things are as easy and orderly in reality as in fiction. I rate this 3 stars out of 5.
I started this book & at first wasn't sure about it since I'm not usually one for reading "modern" type romance fiction, however, this one is well worth reading. The challenges that the main character has is what a lot of families run into, with spouses leaving to pursue a career instead of raising a family. The authors did a great job at putting real life instances in their book of fiction. Its a very good read, not too emotional or dramatic, but a great book to pick up in the evening before bed.
Sweet Sanctuary is a book about a woman, scarred by crisis from her childhood and adulthood alike, struggling in today's world as a single mom, and dealing with insecurity and strained relationships within her family. Her grandmother shows up on her doorstep one morning with a big request that would require Wren, the character, to step outside her comfort zone and confront the years of emotional abuse she's endured at the hands of her older sister Barb and the years of being ignored by her younger brother Jack. Grandma Ruth's request requires them all to work together for the first time in decades, and adds stress to Wren's already complicated life. In the end, Wren and her siblings face the facts of what happened within their family decades ago while facing a new crisis that parallels the old one, and restore their relationships, along the way building a stronger faith in Christ. I found this book to be a breath of fresh air in my current crisis-covered life. So many of Wren's struggles were either my own at one point, or are currently my own. The book left me with a sense of hope and faith in God that no matter how strong the storms in my life, He's standing there, holding His hand out to me, protecting me. Although it was slightly slow moving in the middle, it came full circle in the last 3rd of the book, and it all tied nicely together to convey this message of hope and faith renewed. The words and hope of the Bible are very intricately woven into the story line, and certainly give constant reminders to keep trusting God, and allow Him to take control of our lives. I would most certainly recommend this book to each and every one of you. Even if your storms are quiet at the moment, we know with certainty that they will come, and this book, the message it conveys, prepares you for that time. And if you ARE in the midst of a storm, this book helps you to take hold of the Bow (Cross) and hold on while you allow the Lord to captain your ship! *I was given a free digital copy of this book by the publisher of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not asked to provide a positive review, although my review of this particular book is, indeed, positive.
I have to tell you about this new book that I am reading.. Oh, I so love it.. Many of you may be familiar with Shelia Walsh. She is best know and recognized as a "Women of Faith" author. Anyways, she wrote this new book called "Sweet Sanctuary" and I think you might really relate to it.. Wren, a single mother tries to meet the needs of her son, Charlie by working in a small town library. Her grandmother shows up at her door steps and wants to plan a family reunion. Wren has a difficult time trying to balance all the different areas in her life. As she works hard to put her son through music school, she has not seen or heard from Charlies dad in ten years. Suddenly, her ex-husband shows up wanting to get to know Charlie. While all of this is going on, Wren has to learn that we don't always know the plans God has for each storm we face in life. This book has reminded me that God is in control and that we have to let him be the one to steer the boat. This book was a great reminder no matter how big or small, God is in control and he is going to use each situation to help us grow, trust and love more... Great book. Book sneeze provided me this complimentary book and did not compensate me for a positive review. I would give this 4 out of 5 stars.
Wren Evans has a very stressful and difficult life, among balancing a job as a librarian, and just barely making ends meet, she is a single mom trying to get her talented son into a music school. Then things take a turn for the worse when her husband that dropped out of the picture ten years ago when her son was born suddenly pops into the picture wanting to be involved in young Charlie's life. It also doesn't help that her grandmother shows up on her doorstep one day to tell Wren that she will throw her a birthday party soon. Add a certain love interest and a disastrous family reunion long in coming and you've got life in the shoes of Wren Evans. Allow me to be blunt. I did not enjoy this novel. I won't completely blame that on the author as much as on myself and my own personal pet peeves. I found myself becoming frustrated with certain characters and the slow progression with the love interest (though in Wren's circumstances it's expected). Though I will admit to this: I really loved the character development of Charlie, I believe it was fairly well done. As for the "Christian" aspect of the novel, it wasn't really impressive. It was there and definitely realistic but I wish it were a bit stronger. Rate? Two gold rings out of five. I do not recommend this book. It's not necessarily too long but it drags. I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson Publishing through their BookSneeze program. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here 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."
Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh & Cindy Martinusen Coloma Wren Evans has a complicated life. She is working hard at the local library to make ends meet and support her gifted son while trying to get him into a music school. She has the full load of responsibility as she has been divorced from her son's father and has not heard from him in almost ten years. Then all of a sudden he is in the picture, wanting to get to know his son. Throw in a man or two who show a romantic interest in her and life is just about as full as it can get. Add to that the fact that Wren's grandmother turns up on her doorstep and wants to plan a family reunion with Wren and her siblings who barely speak to each other and you have more than one person can handle. Wren finds herself trying to balance all the different aspects of her life while also trying to learn to let God be in control. Not an easy task. I found the writing of the book to be good and the story flowed easily enough to allow me to read it in one sitting although I did notice a few grammatical errors that were not caught in editing. As the pace stepped up and moved from event to event I found myself just wanting to get to the part of the story where I would connect with the characters and become emotionally involved. Unfortunately this did not happen. Bottom line, I did not find it a compelling read-instead I found my reaction to the family dynamics leaving me feeling rather depressed and let down by the end of the book. I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson Publishing through their BookSneeze program. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here are my own.
An inspiring tale about a single mother named Wren who only wants the best for her son, Charlie. She herself never had the chance to experience the concept of a family at its best, and she just doesn't want it to be the same way for her son. Everything seems to be going just fine until Wren receives an invitation to her grandmother's birthday and is confronted with the fact that she has to face her family sooner or later, despite all the unpleasant memories she has in the past. Like most other Christian-themed books, this one is about letting God steer our life. That if we can only find the courage to let him be in control of our lives, everything will turn out okay in the end. This is a touching story of love and hope, brought to life by two authors who seem to have experienced the aches depicted in this novel, and thus are better able to write about them. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I got an ARC of this book through Booksneeze.
Sweet Sanctuary is about a single mother, Wren, who is trying to do the right things for her son, Charlie. After everything she went through as a child, she just wants to make sure her son doesn't have to as well. That is until an unexpected birthday request from her grandmother sends her world upside down and she is filled with memories she would rather not think about. This story provided me with a mix of emotions as Wren had to face her family and her fears, but came to know the truth. God is always with us. This story not only made me feel for Wren and her son and what they had been through, but also it made me feel hopeful that things would be okay for them. In the book, Wren comes to finally realize that if she let's God be in control, they will make it through the stormy seas of life. Because we never really know God's plan. Even if it involves doing things that are completely out of the comfort zone she has made for herself and Charlie. Sometimes the things we try to run away or protect ourselves from are actually the things we need most. To grow. To heal. To love. To forgive. Wren let people and her past circumstances shape who she is today and she doesn't do things she would really love to do. She let go of those dreams long ago. But, over the course of the story, Wren is met with new obstacles (family reunion, ex-husband, her job) that try to tear her down inside. She prays and prays. She finally realizes that she can let God in, let her walls down, and truly be happy, no matter what comes their way in the future. I would have to say that the overall message of Sweet Sanctuary is one of love, truth, and hope. It reminded me that we are not in control. We need to pray for guidance and know that God will hear our prayers and will answer how and when He knows the time is best. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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."