When Celia Coleman's grandmother dies, she must return to the small town she had hoped never to see again. Her memories of her grandmother's home and church--and of her own behavior there--are not happy ones. The man next door is struggling with guilt over his own past, and Celia wants nothing to do with him. In this masterfully written, inspiring story of reconciliation, both will come to recognize the vastness of God's grace.
Although there is much to like in this latest novel from Turner, one of the best writers in the Christian market, it's marred by slow pacing, unnecessary asides and relentless introspection. Using a motif of old hymn lines, Turner pens a tale of two neighbors. As a teenager, Celia Coleman was orphaned and raised by her grandmother, a conservative Christian. After rebelling and leaving home, an abortion left Celia riddled with guilt and disillusioned with faith. Now working as an art gallery director in Derby, S.C., Celia collects art but avoids relationships. Her neighbor, the formerly promiscuous Bruce Healey, is disfigured by burns, and Turner gives a fine twist to his story. As Celia and Bruce come to terms with their pasts, they begin to believe in the power of God's grace and forgiveness. This is challenging reading, with the characters engrossed in interior monologue rather than dialogue. Celia and Bruce keep telling themselves why their story would never make a good novel (which raises its own set of questions in the reader's mind). Turner's lovely writing saves many scenes, and fans will recognize characters from her previous novels, such as the Christy Award winner A Garden to Keep. Newcomers can read this as a stand-alone novel, but it will take stamina to make it to the happily-ever-after conclusion.