The One Who Sees Me (Book Review)

  • Author: Joan Embola
  • Series: Sovereign Love, book three
  • Pre-Order Now
  • Synopsis: Six years after graduating from college, Heather moves back in with her dad while interning at a health company. In the internship, she meets Emmanuel, the unwilling prospective CEO of the organization.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the ebook from the author. Opinions expressed are my own.
  • Featured image disclosure: I created the image background using the AI feature on Canva.

Scripture Connection

She gave this name to the Lordwho spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Gen. 16:13

Spiritual Themes

I was really excited by the title of the novel, since it’s based on one of my favorite Bible verses. I am so touched by the idea of God seeing me. What a beautiful name of God!

The One who Sees Me explores themes of forgiveness and redemption, with multiple references to the prodigal son. As in the story of Hagar, we also see the Lord’s protection in a terrifying situation. There’s a sweet passage referencing the Hagar story, too (For more specifics, see the “Moments of Truth” section).

What I Liked

Author’s Note

When applicable, Joan Embola begins her books with a brief note about the content enclosed. In the note for this book, she writes, “I have done my best to treat these issues with the care they deserve. However, if these topics are triggers for you, I suggest you please pray before going any further…”.

I really appreciate these notes because they provide a heads-up, and especially because they direct the reader to look to the Lord as they read. Honestly, even for books without “trigger warnings,” this is a beautiful way to start. I’d like to be more prayerful in my reading, and I am deeply encouraged that Embola points straight to the Lord, even before the start of the novel.

On this topic, I will also say that I think Embola does a great job of portraying challenging content in a very gentle way. The emphasis falls on God’s redemption and not on the darkness. As someone who does read as an escape, I appreciate that Embola’s stories are meaningful, without being particularly “gritty.”

Moments of Truth

There’s a great passage I highlighted about a quarter in, about God forgiving each and every one of our sins. Then, the emphasis goes to keeping our eyes on God, rather than on the sin. This is an excellent truth/reminder– the kind I would like to stick somewhere as a quote. Amen.

Likewise, there’s an excellent question that Heather asks herself, which she shares with Emmanuel. I don’t want to spoil it here because it was one of the best parts for me, but I do think it’s a great question!

There’s also a passage about speaking truth instead of lies, to ourselves, and we see this play out practically in book three. This is a good reminder.

Finally, I like the rephrasing of Ephesians 2. This is another beautifully, quotable moment.

Friendship and Family

I believe I mentioned this in my review of book one, but the friendships in this series are beautiful. Teeyana and Amara are best friends at the beginning of book one, and we see how Teeyana befriends Heather. By book three, it looks like they are all best friends, which makes me happy. I really like how they support one another in the Lord and how their response to tricky situations is to pray for each other.

I liked the portrayal of Emmanuel’s family. He has a great relationship with his sister, Olanna (who is the protagonist of book four), and we also get insight into the character of Emmanuel’s deceased mom. Emmanuel’s dad also demonstrates wisdom and grace, though we also see his humanity.

Cultural Elements

The author includes a list of character names, along with pronunciations and meanings. I think this is a neat resource that also gives a bit of a glimpse into Nigerian culture. Additionally, there is a glossary of meanings for Nigerian phrases, at the end of the book. Generally, context clues provide enough meaning, without consulting the glossary (which I didn’t use while reading), but I do think this is a nice little tool.


There’s at least one use of “God knows,” which was ambiguous to me in terms of its reverence. There were also some moments where Christianity seems to be about church attendance.

The author lists the following in the note before the book:

  • Parent abandonment
  • References to domestic abuse
  • Death of a loved one
  • Substance misuse
  • Human trafficking

As mentioned above, I feel that Embola does an excellent job of dealing with these topics in a very gentle and appropriate way.


There’s a passage at the very end referencing “a thousand kisses.” This felt like a bit much to me, although I am happy to report that the kissing scenes were not over the top.


Respectful Discussion

In terms of plot, book one in the series, The One Who Knows Me is my favorite. I also felt that I had the most gratifying experience reading, in terms of the redemption plotline. I also struggled with those moments in this book where church attendance seemed conflated with knowing Jesus. With that said, as I looked over the highlights of this book, I realized that those “moments of truth” were meaningful and powerful. That’s why I’ve decided on a five star rating.

Recommendation Status

Recommended for readers who enjoy clean romance with a strong emphasis on Christ. This novel has some strong, truthful moments, so I’m willing to recommend it.

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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