By Varina Denman
Published by David C Cook
ISBN# 978-1-4347-0837-3
400 Pages

Back Cover: As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man ... and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart ... and a thirst for hope.

REVIEW: I was pleasantly surprised by this story. It wasn’t what I expected. It was so much more. I instantly connected with Ruthie Turner, a strong, resilient twenty year old young lady with spunk, wit and determination. She’s learned to be a peace maker in a small town where everyone knows your name and your business. The novel is written through her eyes.
Ruthie had done a good job avoiding Christians until the Cunningham’s moved into town. She worked with Dodd Cunningham at a local school; he just so happened to be the new Preacher.

“Dodd stuck his head into the room and says, “Morning, you guys, Ruthie, Can I talk to you?”

“I wanted to talk to the preacher like I wanted a bad sunburn – and JohnScott knew it – but he only strolled past my desk with a teasing grin. “See you later Ruthie.”…”Of course he would leave – JohnScott undoubtedly had some twisted agenda to get me to befriend the Cunningham’s, but I wasn’t falling for it. Just because my cousin had bought into Dodd’s campaign of forgiveness and kindness didn’t mean I had to!...If Dodd had any interest in me, it was only as a missionary project.””…It didn’t take a genius to recognize Dodd’s influence, but the preacher and his God would have to be a little more creative if they expected to wipe away 13 years of hurtful actions!”

Ruthie was trying to talk some sense into her cousin, who seemed to be charmed by the Cunningham’s. “JohnScott, Jesus may love you even though you’re not good enough, but I’m not good enough for the Church…And they don’t love me in spite of it.”

JohnScott looked at Ruthie, “The people aren’t important, Ruthie.”

She replied, “The people are everything.”

He continued, “It’s about you and God. But I suppose people can get in the way.” She retorted, that’s a fact.”

My heart ached for seven year old Ruthie as she relays to Dodd Cunningham an event that changed her world forever. She’s not sure of the exact details of who or why but her mother grabbed her  hand in church one Sunday and walked out on the service and they never returned.

I loved Ruthie’s transparency and how she tells it as she sees it. Ruthie starts to feel the ground shake, as her world was changing – for the good or bad she didn’t know. But all this talk of Jesus and the Bible got her thinking. “Her and her mom had stayed in the small town where they were ex-communicated from the church for rumors and gossip! She saw how bitterness took over her mom’s life and caused her to filter everything that happened in life thru the pain. Could the truth set them all free? Was there healing for the broken hearted? Dodd seemed to think so”…. Ruthie says, “I do believe in God Dodd…But the church is messing with him. I’m surprised he put up with it.”

“Really! Dodd smiles, “You nailed it. Sometimes Christians are a mess.”
Dodd was a patient man who saw the best in people and wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this community. It wasn’t easy and things got messy. But he wouldn’t rush into anything. Either would Ruthie.

This was a realistic, non-preachy, sweet tender story I couldn’t put down. I felt as if I walked with Ruthie and Dodd in their faith journey. Velma lightened Ruthie’s mind when she said, “Sometimes you need to let go. Don’t worry, about everyone else…two adults have a hankering for each other so what?” Ruthie smiled inside and out.

It’s an excellent read with characters that touched my heart and stay a while. I was totally absorbed in this story and their situation. This is a great read and one that would be wonderful for your book club pick. This an amazing debut novel. This author is one to watch.
I received a review copy of this book for my honest opinion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Publisher I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


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