About The Book
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A baby was never part of Tiff’s plans. Especially not a sick baby in a NICU, struggling for life on a ventilator.
As days in the hospital turn to weeks, Tiff grows more and more convinced that God is punishing her for turning her back on him so many years ago. Or is it possible he’s working in the midst of her daughter’s bleak prognosis to draw Tiff back to himself once more?
The Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction books are standalone literary novels about real-life believers facing real-life struggles. You won’t meet perfect saints whose lives are faultless models of the Christian faith. Instead, you’ll meet a perfect God whose plans of redemption are far more glorious than what the mortal mind could ever imagine.
About the Author
Alana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnightsun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.
When my oldest child was only four days old, we had to rush her to the hospital. She had failure to thrive. We still don't know why, but it gave us a five-day experience in the NICU. It was one of the hardest things I've had to endure, and that was with one of the healthiest babies in the NICU.
Tiff, the main character of Beauty from Ashes, has a very difficult experience when her daughter has a bleak prognosis. She feels like she's being punished, which is a common reaction when someone goes through something like that. I believe her story is one many will resonate with. The details accurately depict a NICU hospital stay.
However, I personally did not like this book. The main character constantly jumps back and forth from past to present, and it's mind boggling. The first seventy pages take place while Tiff and Jake are sitting in church, while she's sharing in her thoughts about her past. I don't understand why we didn't start with Natalie's birth. Show more of Jake. A chronological order would make more sense.
I found the characters to be very unlikable. Tiff complains about everything and bashes her husband from the beginning of the book to the end. The husband Jake is weak with no backbone. The only character I liked was the baby, and that's what kept me reading.
Grammatically, I disliked the sentence structure. It's written like a direct thought. Two or three sentences are connected with nothing more than several commas. The book is longer than it should be with ideas repeated, and mentioning things that have no bearing on the story.
I disliked some of the ideaologies. The whole story is in Tiff's point-of-view. Multiple times, she references how her husband has the ability to leave her child, but she doesn't. Alluding to the idea that a father doesn't have the responsibility to stay, but the mother does. There are other sentences in the book that didn't settle well with me.
Tiff and Jake do not have a healthy relationship. In addition to bashing her husband, Tiff doesn't talk to him about anything. By the end of the book, she is still keeping secrets, and it feels like they are just placing band-aids on their relationship. He spends the majority of the book on his phone, never standing up for her, until the end when he still doesn't seem to know who she is at all.
I wish I could give this book a better review, but I can't. While some may like this book, it wasn't for me. I give this book 2 stars. If you're interested in reading the thoughts of other reviewers, see the list of blog stops at the bottom of this post.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Guest Post from Alana Terry
Click here to see the special video message from Alana.
“You better come in,” I told my husband. “The doctors don’t think he’s going to make it.”
Not the kind of conversation you want to have with anyone at one o’clock in the morning. I was spending the night at the hospital with our nine-month-old baby Silas and hadn’t left the hospital complex in days. Scott was home with our toddler trying to get some sleep.
And our son Silas was dying.
Raising a medically-fragile baby changed me like nothing else ever has. Thankfully, Silas pulled through that horrific evening, but that didn’t mean life was sugar and cream from then on.
As anyone with experience knows, it’s hard work being a special-needs mom.
And it can devastate a marriage.
Thankfully, God brought my husband and me through those nearly impossible first few years while Silas was in and out of the hospital with no guarantee of his survival.
And he continued to sustain us through even more years of therapy, hospital visits, and medical tests.
And now we have a happy marriage, a healthy boy, and hearts full of gratitude for all God’s done for us.
But I never want to forget where we were.
The depths God delivered us out of.
The despair that would have overwhelmed us if God hadn’t been our strength and our support.
Writing Beauty from Ashes was one way to remind myself of those difficulties God brought us through. It’s not strictly autobiographical, but the baby in this novel went through a very similar traumatic birth experience as Silas did, and all the health issues — including that night in the hospital when I truly thought we were going to lose our baby — are based on the trials we went through when Silas was young.
I wrote Beauty from Ashes because we all need to be reminded every now and then that even though life can be impossibly hard, even though there’s no guarantee our children will grow up and love Christ and make good choices with their lives or even survive until adulthood at all, God is good, and he will sustain us through all the trials we have to endure.
I think that’s why Beauty from Ashes resonates so much with Christian readers hungry for more than a simple story with a happily-ever-after ending, like these readers:
“…by far some of the best Christian fiction I’ve read.” Amy L, author
” … a story that is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming.” ~ Jaime Hampton, award-winning author of Malnourished
“I didn’t think it was possible that the author could write any better than she already does … This is a book I will never forget … She writes with realism and doesn’t pull any punches … Every time I read a book from this author, my faith grows.” Deana at Texas Bookaholic
I hope you’ll take a chance to grab your own copy of Beauty from Ashes today, and don’t forget to watch the video and enter to win the $100 gift card to christianbooks.com.
Because Christian fiction should encourage, edify, and inspire.
And because God is big enough to carry all our burdens.
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
Pause for Tales
To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a grand prize of a $100 CBD gift card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c3c1