Sometimes the best renovation projects aren't the ones you watch on your Home Improvement channels. They are the ones you get to see in person involving life changing moments for those who need it the most. In the novel Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery, there are 3 different sets of circumstances in which we get to see the power of God's restoration at work in the lives of the people we meet all in one neighborhood.
Angela is trying to find a way to start over again after living with her daughter Ainsley and her husband. Seems like family serves a useful purpose when you need help the most. Now it is time to begin as a new creation in Christ. She moves into a rental home owned by a missionary family away on a trip and with a handful of items of her own, Angela tries to resolve her past so she can find her future. Now all she needs to do is keep her job as a Teacher's Assistant and hope for a full-time teaching position to open up. But with her wardrobe, it is not likely. She is a 50-year-old divorcee dressing like an 18-year-old and soon rumors begin to fly from other teachers about her appearance. When Angela consults with her daughter, she has to kindly tell her that she might want to dress more modestly in hopes of not attracting the wrong kind of attention like she has in the past.
Bianca is struggling to keep her head above water while raising 3 kids while she deals with her husband who refuses to give up his criminal lifestyle. If she can't figure something out, she may lose everything she has including her kids if the police show up. While trying to work as a nursing care assistant, she relies on her teenage daughter C.J. to care for her younger brothers both who are failing at school. C.J. spends all her free time with a boyfriend who is only using her and clearly doesn't care what her mother thinks. For C.J. it is an possible escape route out of the family she doesn't want to be with, especially her mother's husband Reid who runs around with gangs and thugs.
Mitch is a partner in a renovation business with Dennis and they have flipped a couple of houses including the one Bianca is currently living in. Now with their new project to work on, a home right next door to Angela, he finds himself drawn in ways he can't explain to try to help her out on any projects she needs done around the house, but Angela has been burned in the past and is trying to keep any relationships with men at bay. Dennis and Mitch seems at odds in running their business when Bianca winds up more than 2 months behind in her rent and Mitch refuses to evict her. If things don't change, they might have to go their own separate ways. It seems Mitch is at a crossroads on what to do and what God has called him to do.
I received Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery compliments of New Hope Publishers and Net Galley. I really love the interactions these three have in one another's lives as they attempt to reconcile their own past failings under the grace and mercy of God's restoring love. It shows how far they have to work at letting go of their pasts in order to find the future that awaits them if they are willing. This is such a great Christmas story because it conveys the very reason that Jesus was born to offer new hope, new beginnings and a new life to those who are willing to take it. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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