Advance Praise for That Faith, That Trust, That Love
“With writing that is magical, Jamellah Ellis tells a true tale that is so heartwarming you’ll be smiling long after the last page.” —Victoria Christopher Murray, bestselling author of Joy and Temptation
“Scenes like the ghetto-fabulous wedding will make you scream, while others are so sad they might make you wail. Jamellah Ellis’s writing is beautiful, and her real-life honesty is even more magnificent. I believe that I hear angels singing.” —Sharon Ewell Foster, author of Passing by Samaria and Ain’t No River
“Fresh prose and keen insight . . . Well-paced, heartwarming and a timely challenge to traditional attitudes in the Black church today.” —Hamil Harris, The Washington Post
“The author crafts a memorable portrait of her protagonist’s passage of spiritual rediscovery while effectively fictionalizing life-altering circumstances that can break even the strongest of us.” —Tia Shabazz, executive director and founder, Black Writers Alliance
“That Faith, That Trust, That Love is an excellent debut novel from a wonderful new Christian author who I’m sure will be around for a long time!” —Pamela Walker Williams, PageTurner.net
Ellis's heartfelt but predictable debut follows 31-year-old Marley Shepherd, a Spelman graduate and attorney with a major Atlanta law firm, who is about to marry Gerrard Shore, the favorite son of one of the city's prominent developers. Atlanta's black elite believes that Gerrard, who also works in real estate development, is quite a catch, and their parents toast the handsome pair as "the couple of the century." Yet Marley is plagued with doubts about Gerrard, who calls her "my earth" but spends very little time with her, saying that business comes first. These doubts are echoed by her down-to-earth friend, Ashley, a kindergarten teacher, and her wise, no-nonsense grandmother, Ma Grand. Marley, haunted by her own parents' divorce, fears a loveless marriage but feels paralyzed-part of her is still swooning over Gerrard like a schoolgirl, and besides, the wedding means so much to her striving mother. Marley's faith in Gerrard, in herself and in God is tested by her mother's diagnosis of cancer and by her friendship with Lazarus Jacobs, rising businessman and member of Gilead's Balm Church. Readers will be able to see the moral coming from miles-or hundreds of pages-away, and the novel is further marred by stock characters and some stilted dialogue (says Ashley of her students, "It's such a mutually beneficial relationship because I get to teach them what they need to know and their innocent little spirits lighten my heart"). Ellis writes with warmth and earnestness, however, and readers will identify with Marley's dilemma. Those willing to indulge the novel's artistic shortcomings will find a strong affirmation of religious faith, simplicity and sincerity. 5-city author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Count your blessings and pass the butterbeans. Young attorney Marley Shepherd is going places. Didn't she just get engaged to the perfect man? Gerrard swears he loves her, and that's enough for Marley. Pam, her mama, and Marley's grandmother, Ma Grand, are happy for her but soon begin an I-told-you-so quarrel about the man Pam married. No use talking about a slickster like Silas, says Ma Grand, who points out that she saw right through him from the first. Pam is outraged, but Marley makes peace . . . and later, quizzes her grandmother about several generations of family. Ma Grand says that she was a hard-working mother who cooked, cleaned, and did everything she could for her children and her husband, like her mother before her; but Marley knows that Pam was never sure she was loved. While she ponders the implication of this revelation, she finds out that Pam has breast cancer and is facing a mastectomy. There's more bad news when Marley catches Gerrard with another woman and calls off the engagement. Gerrard protests, but there's no way that she'll allow that cheating, low-down, triflin' dog back in her life. Her friend Sheila, who kept the faith throughout an often difficult marriage, reminds her that "without God we are absolutely nothing, and the only way to lead a peaceful and enjoyable life with an imperfect person is to keep God in the center of it." Disillusioned and deeply hurt, Marley isn't so sure about that or anything else. Then Sheila's husband introduces her to his brother Lazarus, who coaches disadvantaged children. They date and share home cooking and good times (but not sex) and soon fall in love. Marley knows Lazarus is the right man for her when he explains how hisfamily's unshakable belief in the goodness of God kept them going despite humiliating poverty and painful setbacks. Heartfelt first novel, originally self-published: about as subtle as a brick, but with gospel-tinged enthusiasm that's contagious.