I thought this was going to be a hard book to get "into". It began with lots of phrases like "cotton-candy clouds" and "staccato consonants" and "shrilling vowels" that seemed to fill the first few chapters. I found myself saying "get on with the story already." And just about that time, Michele Phoenix did just that. She weaves this beautiful story of brokenness and healing that came from the most unlikely and most hurtful places. Any reader will grow to love Shelby and marvel at Shayla. Once I got into it the story, it only took me two days to finish the book. This story is one of hope and trust and healing, not only finding the good in others, but in ourselves. Michele Phoenix tells a story we can all relate to...one that doesn't offer a happy ever after, but hope in our brokenness.
"In Broken Places" by Michele Phoenix is a beautifully written novel dealing with the effects of an abusive father on his two children, Trey and Shelby, now in their 30's. Occasional flashbacks enable the reader to comprehend just how abusive the father really was. Shelby has taken a job as an English teacher in an American school in Germany. However, before flying to Germany she learns her abusive father has just died, leaving her his money, a condo and guardianship of his four year old daughter Shayla by a woman who didn't want a child. Although adjusting to a new culture, new friends, new job, and a four year old wasn't easy, Shelby made some good friends, loved Shalya and was loved by her, found her students enthusiastic about putting on a play by C. S. Lewis, and learned through her friendship with the school's coach that God can fix even broken lives.
It took me a little while to get into the story but when I did it proved to be a beautiful love story between Shelby and her half sister Shayla. The half sister she didn't even know she had until after her father passed away and put in his will that he wanted Shelby to raise Shayla. The story switches back and forth between Shelby's past with her brother Trey while they endure their father's violence and the present when Shelby moves to Germany with Shayla to get a fresh start.
Thirty-five-year-old Shelby Davis's life is thrown for a loop when her father dies and leaves his young daughter in her care. The thing is, he'd abandoned her and her brother when they were children after years of physically and emotionally abusing them and their mother. She's battled the effects of his cruelty for so long, and doesn't know if she has what it takes to become a mother to four-year-old Shayla.
Shelby takes her sister, now daughter, along with her to Germany as she starts life anew teaching English at a missionary school. It is there that she meets fellow instructor, Scott, who pursues a relationship with herâ€”another thing she doesn't feel ready for. Fear has ruled her life, but will the people who've entered her world change her heart?
In Broken Places is a touching, emotional read that opens your heart and understanding to those who live their lives in fear. I loved this book. Its narration is personable and the characters are real and memorable. Recommended for anyone who has a heart and loves redemptive stories.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy free from the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
I thoroughly enjoyed In Broken Places and found myself continually turning the pages to find out what would happen next. In the beginning of the story we meet a precious 4 year old, Shayla, who is Shelby's new daughter - but the author pulls you into the story by not letting you know how she came into Shelby's life. But ultimately this is a wonderful, healing story of a child abuse survivor with most of the story set in Germany.