Prather’s Pick: A novel about the power of faith
The setting for this week’s novel is the state of Idaho, a state that author Robin Lee Hatcher knows well. She lives there. “Who I Am with You,” a novel for adults, is the first in the Legacy of Faith series. Hatcher is the author of more than seventy-five books.
The novel begins in Boise where Jessica Mason’s mother lives. They have just come from Grandma Frani’s funeral. The funeral has been especially painful for Jessica because it’s a reminder of another funeral just five months ago. That’s when her husband Joe and daughter Angela, victims of an auto accident, were buried.
Grandma Frani has left a gift for Jessica, and she wanted Jessica to have it after the funeral. It’s a Bible that belonged to Grandma’s father, Andrew Henning. Jessica’s mother says that what Jessica finds in the Bible will comfort and help her heal. Great-grandfather Andrew didn’t have a lot of money or many material possessions, but he had faith to pass on. He underlined passages in his Bible and even wrote comments in the Bible’s columns.
The reader gets to know Andrew Henning, too, because every other chapter in the book, dated from October 24, 1929 to May 25, 1963, is the story of his life from his marriage to Helen Greyson through troubled times of unemployment and marital problems. Faith helped Andrew get through it all.
Jessica lives in Hope Springs, in the house she shared with Joe and Angela. She works at home, creating crafts and paintings through her online business. She is pregnant. Jessica’s grief for her husband and daughter is made even worse because, unknown to others, she and Joe argued the day he died. He was unhappy; he was seeing another woman. He and Angela were on a Christmas shopping trip. After Christmas there would have been a divorce. He did not know about the unborn baby.
Meanwhile, Ridley Chesterfield has arrived in Hope Springs. He’s going to stay in his parents’ log house that they have just purchased as a vacation/retirement home. Ridley is there to clear his head and decide what to do next. He’s accused (but innocent) of a political scandal. He’s trying to escape the media. Ridley doesn’t want to go back to politics, but what else is there?
Ridley’s neighbor is Jessica. He meets her when a stray dog shows up and he goes next door to ask if she knows the dog’s owner. (Later Ridley adopts the dog that he names Kris, and she is there throughout the novel.)
So neither Jessica or Ridley is looking for a relationship, but there they are—right next to each other—and each is trying to heal from past events. This is a heartwarming love story.
The book includes discussion questions and two chapters of the second book in this series, “Cross My Heart.”
This is a 2018 softcover book. It’s published by Thomas Nelson, a trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. It costs $15.99. You can also find the book, with new books, at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
I spent this past Saturday morning preparing for Sunday’s lunch branding — at least what I could get done early. I cooked pasta and boiled eggs. I made a gelatin salad. I decided to bake a banana cake, a family favorite, for dessert.