I tried my hardest on a few different occasions to read this book to the end but I was unable to actually finish reading it. The writing style (in Book #2 - "Derailed)" was so different from book #1 and it felt like it was written more from a male perspective, which is fine, but I was just unable to connect with Harry's character and even get into the book. This book also covered much of the information that had already been presented in the first novel ("Grounded").
I hated having to write this low scoring review because I have been a Dave & Neta Jackson fan since the Yada Yada prayer series. But I definitely enjoyed book #1 and I look forward to finishing the Windy City neighbors series as more novels are written. I will give it some time and try to finish reading this book all the way through. The reason I would still recommend someone else to read this particular novel is because you may have a different perspective than what I have. Whatever you decide, happy reading to you!
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
I love it when you find a true treasure in a great series of books. The kind that make you sad when you finish one because you have to wait for the next one and often times it could take awhile. Such is the case with The Windy City Neighborhood Series by authors Dave and Neta Jackson. After reading Grounded, their first novel in the series, the second book, Derailed has finally picked back up with our favorite characters we met in the first one. Perhaps by far, my favorite character is Estelle Bentley, because she has the faith that most would dream of having. The kind that offers up simple prayers as easily as having a one on one conversation with a close friend. But what we discover is that even those prayers are offered up, they are not always answered in the way we would like to. Even when it seems that the steps we take are guided by God, it soon leaves us second guessing if we didn't in fact step out on our own instead.
This novel is based on the Harry Bentley, Estelle's husband that was once blind but now can see, is asked to go undercover as a blind man in disguise working for the police on board the Amtrak trains. It takes us into the back story of Harry that we only glimpsed in passing in the first novel. Since Harry is new to the Christian faith, living with Estelle as a strong woman of faith makes him question his own actions at times. I love this honesty of how the life of faith isn't an easy one to walk and at times, we all find ourselves questioning whether we are doing what God would want or simply our own desires. He struggles being the head of the house and financial provider of learning to reverse the roles of putting his family first instead of his job. Not an easy one for men to live up to.
The Bentley's life hasn't been an easy one but is a true testament of what faith can do when it is applied correctly. Harry's son, Rodney has been in prison but now upon his release is looking for ways to turn over a new leaf. Since his son, DaShawn has been living with Estelle and Harry, Rodney is hoping to secure a decent job and find a way to start a new life for him and DaShawn. Perhaps my favorite part of this book, isn't really the individual stories but one of how they all interact with their neighbors. It shows us an example of what a faith based community should look like even if our neighbors are not believers. It shows us how to respond in love and kindness and role models what we all can hope to obtain by being better people to those around us.
I received Derailed by Dave and Neta Jackson compliments of Worthy Books and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. I can't wait for the next book in this series Penny Wise which you get a sneak peek at in the conclusion of this novel. There are also discussion questions included to make this a great novel for book clubs. I'd rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars.
Let me start by saying I've read all of Neta and Dave's books since the Yada Yada Prayer Group. I always look forward to when the next book goes on sale.
What I like is that in this series you get more than one point of view regarding what is going on with the story line. In other words, you don't have one narrator throughout the entire series. We also get visits from old friends we met in Neta's other series.
What I don't like is that Derailed covers the same time frame as Grounded, so you actually know a good bit of what happens before you get to it. You don't know all the details from the other person's perspectives, but you know a good bit of what is going to happen.
I think I would have enjoyed Derailed more if this second book in the series picked up where the first one left off or if you heard from more than one character per book. The Jacksons started doing the same kind of thing with parallel books with the Yada Yada House of Hope series (Neta) and Yada Yada Brothers (Harry Bentley series written by Dave), but I think it may have worked better then because it was two different series instead of one.
For some reason, it just wasn't what I expected. And Harry seemed different somehow. I can't put my finger on exactly what since it's been a while since I read the last Harry Bentley book.
With all of that said, I'm most certainly going to keep reading the series. I want to find out what happens with all the characters in the neighborhood and old friends from series past as well!
The Windy City is a favorite of my family, and we usually ride Amtrak for 3 hours to get there. I thorough enjoy "visiting" Chicago through reading Neta and Dave Jackson's different series of novels set in that area. I must admit though that the characters and their adventures are the most important reasons to read the novels. "Derailed" is a parallel novel to "Grounded". Although I think once you've read this novel you'll want to read the other books written by the Jacksons, "Derailed" can be read as a stand alone novel. Two other novels in this series will be released 2014, and I will be getting my hands on them as soon as they are released.
Derailed is a great stand-alone novel, though its charm is that it the fleshes out the details of a what appears, on the surface, to be a sleepy Chicago suburb. After having met sweet Grace in Grounded, we have the opportunity to explore her neighbors, the Bentleys. The intrigue of Harry Bentley's job, while working out the complexities of his past, his relationship with his ex-con son, raising his grandson, and supporting his wife makes for an compelling read. I truly appreciate Harry's struggles as "life" re-arranges his plans and he seeks to find his way in the midst of the turmoil. Terrific read. It is a great read for teens and older.