Jenna Bouvier exhibits a faith that sustains her time and again in her challenging circumstances. She has her hands full with her mother-in-law, Brigitte and her husband Gerard's withering ways. Jenna, though quite privileged, could be so many women stuck in circumstances over which they feel they have no choices. I think the author made Jenna's lifestyle so wealthy to parallel her the rich man from the Bible (Matthew 19) who would have to give it all up to closely follow Jesus. Jenna walks out in faith in an amazing way. There's another story in there of Andee who has given up her life for a successful though empty career. Two great women to read about in a thought-provoking story.
Gerard and Jenna Bouvier live with his mother Brigitte. Gerard is the heir to the family wine business and he hopes that someday soon his mother will hand over the reins to him. Gerard has turned a blind eye to his mother's abuse of his wife Jenna. Being in a marriage arranged pretty much by Brigitte Gerard and Jenna have spent their married life trying to please her.
Feeling led by the Holy Spirit Jenna begins to seek what God would have her do in her situation. Seeking an outlet Jenna has begun a spiritual journey that she blogs about hoping to find her purpose and help others find theirs. In her quest to submit only to the Lord Jenna seeks the council of Matthew a spiritual guide. Never has Matthew been so touched by a client than he has been by Jenna. They have an instant spiritual connection.
Brigitte has one goal in mind and that is to keep Gerard and Jenna under her control. Being the ultimate business woman Brigitte is determined that she will never allow her son to run the family business. She takes steps to ensure that Jenna too will remain in her power.
Jenna feels the Holy Spirit telling her that a time of trial is coming. Her prayer throughout is that she will remain faithful no matter what comes her way. Throughout her circumstances Jenna knows in her heart that God will never leave her or forsake her, but when she no longer is able to feel the Holy Spirits presence she fears that once again she has become a failure.
As I've been processing Lost and Found since I finished I've been trying to think how to express how I felt at the end. As with every book I have read by Ginny Yttrup I found the subject matter thought-provoking and a story that stays with me for long after I finish reading. Ginny has a way of making the characters in her books touch a person's heart. Her characters are very believable and consistent in their behavior. I feel like I become a part of their lives as I read. Each character is fully developed and able to produce all kinds of emotions in the reader. I totally disliked Brigitte's character and found myself wanting something bad to happen to her! Jenna garnered sympathy and sometimes exasperation. Several other characters also gave me some strong emotions to deal with. I have to be honest and say that I didn't care for Matthew's character as a spiritual guide or some-such that he called himself. I thought he and Jenna risked falling into a relationship together outside of their marriages even though that didn't happen I felt that in "real life" it would have. I also had problems with some of the charismatic and maybe "new age" material that to me was a bit over the top. I think the final message in the book is that we must be willing to lose everything and empty ourselves out to the Lord. He is the only one that matters.
How I found Lost and Found is a bit unclear in my memory. Boy, am I glad I did, though.
Here's what I know: a friend retweeted a giveaway. I left a comment. I won a book. It came in the mail.
And I am changed as a result.
Lost and Found by Ginny Yttrup is loosely based on the life of Madame Jeanne Guyon, a French mystic whose life was marked by suffering and imprisonment for her beliefs. Yttrup takes Guyon's life and brings into the present in the life of Jenna Bouvier, a woman of faith with family ties to the California wine industry, who by marriage is wealthy yet who suffers mental anguish at the hands of her controlling mother-in-law.
The book follows Jenna's path to healing, bringing along her spiritual director Matthew and another young woman, Andee. Yttrup writes chapters in the first-person from the point of view of each of these characters and from the third-person POV of Jenna's mother-in-law, Brigitte. I'm especially fond of stories written this way, and I appreciate an author who can bring to life numerous characters and write from their perspective.
Lost and Found is Yttrup's second novel. I'm eager now to read her first. She makes the reader feel the emotions and struggles of these characters in a way I haven't before experienced in a novel. This is an incredible book. A must-read.
FAVORITES: The novel flows easily and the characters are believable and likable. Their struggles are real. Their responses to their circumstances are inspiring. I connected with them as I would if they were in the flesh. In short, I cared what happened to them, which meant I had a hard time putting the book down.
FAULTS: As I read, I found myself more and more interested in Madame Guyon's life. Her autobiography and book on prayer are next on my "to-read" list. Not really a fault of the book, but more a fault of mine for not having read these classic works before.
IN A WORD: Intense. I felt a heaviness, in a way, as I read. Like I was sharing in the characters' sufferings. It was a good intensity, though. One that propelled me forward in the story until it was finished.
I happen to win this book in a contest hosted by Ginny and it took me a while before I actually picked it up to read because I knew it was going to be a gut-wrenching novel! I was right in thinking this, but it was a good gut-wrencher! The passion that Ginny wrote into these characters spoke volumes about what it really means to pick up your cross and follow Jesus. I was so amazed at how Ginny weaves such a wonderful idea that I had not thought of before in that each Christian has their own special romance as well as dance with Jesus. Matthew says it best to Tess his wife: "'We each have an individual relationship with the same God and so we're all connected. It is a solitary dance, done together, in the presence of God'" (331).
Something else I really enjoyed about this novel was the power of the verses concerning Jesus being the vine and us the branches. When Jenna explains in her thoughts on how to combine an old vine with a new one I was amazed at the significance of Jesus' words! It's amazing that BOTH of the hearts have to be exposed in order to grow into one vine! There are some other really powerful verses that really gave me a new thought of the Scripture, but this one stood out to me the most!
Ginny writes the characters emotions and feelings with a deepness that stirs your heart! My heart broke for Jenna and Andee during their trials and rejoiced at the joy of discovering something new in their relationship with Jesus (even though Andee's relationship comes a lot later)! Overall an extremely great read that a person wouldn't want to miss! After finishing Lost and Found one can not help but think of what is standing in their way of giving their ALL to Jesus! Are we serving Brigittes in our lives that we didn't realize we were putting above God? Or money for that matter?
Simply put...this book is a masterpiece. There are so many layers to the story and characters that as you go deeper and deeper, it is impossible to not be affected in some way. For someone who may be going through their own spiritual journey, this book is chock-full of wisdom and insight into the plans that God has for his children.
What was most enlightening for me was the fact that on this side of heaven, I will never truly "understand" everything about God and his plans. That became clear as I looked at Proverbs 3:5-6 in a whole new way. So often I try so hard to know everything, including the things of God. I want to figure it all out, wrap it up in a package, and say, "Now, I've figured it out." But truly, who am I kidding? No one but myself. That's why those verses now have knew meaning to me. I'll never think of them the same way again.
This book is not for everyone. Granted, lots of folks should read it, but I guess what I mean to say is that if you're not spiritually prepared for the truths contained within, you may just cast it aside. In all honesty, I almost did that very thing. I had to get almost halfway through it before I really allowed myself to soak in its wisdom. So...bravo, Ms. Yttrup. You've given me a memorable experience with a novel that I won't soon forget.