Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.Psalm 139:16
There’s a brief discussion about God being the author of our stories.
There are some strongly scriptural themes, including grace and forgiveness, as well as strong examples of loving within a community (in the “true religion” sense of the word, as we see love demonstrated for the orphan, the widow and the oppressed). These are such excellent messages that really point to the heart of Christianity. I think it is awesome that Fordham’s books (I’ve now read three) consistently point to a deep love of neighbor, and of those who are oppressed.
Fordham is, herself, a foster mother, and her love for those on the outskirts of society definitely comes through in her writing.
What I Liked
With some of the plot elements, I was picking up a Les Miserables quality, so I was immensely gratified to see that Fordham really did draw inspiration from Les Mis! I don’t want to spoil anything with specifics, but I did notice some similarities.
The plot also reminded me of the 90s show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and I really liked the angle the author took with some slightly challenging content. She broached some topics that I don’t usually see in Christian fiction or that, if they are broached, would be discussed in a way I don’t feel comfortable reading. I feel that Fordham did an excellent job handling sensitive content in a tasteful way that really showcases the love of God.
I liked Valjean’s– I mean Quincy’s– characterization. He was likable and, despite his mistakes, made some really admirable decisions. I feel that the way he loved in his community showed that he would make a good husband, as well. I appreciate that Fordham does not only demonstrate what romantic love looks like, but also highlights love within a community.
I enjoyed reading about the friendship between Norah and Alice. Strong friendships seem to be a thread that runs through Fordham’s works, and it is refreshing to read about wholesome bonds between women who are willing to stand together and protect one another.
There is a bit of flirtatious dialogue, including Norah and Quincy’s early interactions. This was a little bit surprising to me, given the time period, although the things that were said wouldn’t be considered quite as audacious, today.
I do think it is worth noting that there are a few romantic moments (i.e., a kiss on the cheek or forehead) that occur when Norah is engaged to another man. While I definitely sympathize with Norah, I felt uncomfortable with these interactions.
There is A LOT of content about Quincy fulfilling Norah’s dreams, which I really don’t see as a person’s role. God is the one we are to look to, in that way.
Due to the Content Notes above, this is a book I would recommend with reader discretion. However, I have a strong appreciation for the way that Fordham deals with tough content and stands for the orphan, the widow and the oppressed in her writing. This is a beautiful testament to Christ’s love!