You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Job 11:16 The waters that had called to her, comforted her, lullabied her many a sleepless night, impressed upon her heart a truth she could hold onto. She couldn’t undo what had been done, couldn’t call back the waters that had slipped past her while she watched. But she could anticipate a day when her troubles would be a memory, like waters gone by.
I try to get into a narration without knowing what it’s all about. Sometimes I regret that decision, other times I feel like I am 5 years old on Christmas Day being surprised , giddy, excited, an emotional pull. It was like Christmas Day reading this book. The warm feelings of grace realized. You start out not knowing much about our protagonist Emmalyn Ross as she walks into the small town of Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior. You sense she is lonely, running away and without purpose. Her marriage is in trouble and as you read, you uncover a marriage that has misunderstanding, a marriage of loneliness and without purpose. Emmalyn has come to the Island for a new start and to find out if she still has a marriage. She is a proud owner of a hunter’s cottage that overlooks Lake Superior however, it is not livable but she hopes that a renovation of the cottage will be a renovation of putting her life back together. Emmayln has help along the way, Cora the librarian, Jack of all Trades, roofer extraordinaire. Bougie is the owner of the Wild Iris Inn and Café. She gives her wisdom and a taste of Jesus that is all grace filled.
The prose is a modern day retelling of Rachel and Leah sisters in the Old Testament who were married to Jacob on account of their father’s deception. Because of their father’s deception, Jacob was in slavery or ironies of ironies was put in prison so he could be with his beloved. Because of that deception, one was loved and one was barren. This retelling is if Rachel instead of left in her grief, would reach out to Leah who was used by her father to deceive.
I loved this retelling. It stirred the emotions of what grace really looks like and what really matters.
Some of the quotes that I loved that reflect the heart of this prose.
Grace always outweighs gravity. A sweet sentiment. Miles away from Emmalyn’s reality.
There goes my reputation for refinement and sophistication. “Good. Now you can be real.
You throw enough love up against a stony heart and it’s bound to crumble sooner or later.
How do I make him know he’s a valuable part of this family when he has practically no influence over what goes on back here while he’s gone?
Maybe I just have a stronger God than you do. Cora said it as if it weren’t an offense but an observation.
Emmalyn hadn’t come to Madeline Island to get lost but to get found apparently.
Smile. Breath. Ignore the elephant. What’s bigger than the an elephant? Ignore the blue whale.
When Emmalyn asked what that stronger truth was, Cora said, He is my husband until he’s not.
Sometimes you don’t know what it is until you see what it becomes. Her marriage. A stitch at a time.
Doesn’t matter what caused the trouble. The answer’s the same.
That a husband isn’t ever enough. That a child isn’t the ultimate solution to a relentless soul ache.
Max, you can’t give me my heart’s desire. You’ve become my heart’s desire.
The setting is speaks to this prose as well. Having visited the Duluth Area, it was easy to put myself in this read. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
A Special Thank You to Abingdon Press and Netgalley for ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.