Not in the Heart - eBook
Chris Fabry has penned another winner with his latest book, Not in the Heart. From the back cover description, I thought I had prepared myself for what would be between the front and back cover, but honestly, I was not prepared for the emotional journey that I took through this story.
I imagine most folks know a "Truman" in their circle of friends. Me? Yeah, I have one, too, and he struggles with an addiction that only God can heal at this point. It's difficult to watch someone I love succumb to fleshly desires, and sometimes I can't help but wonder, "If only..." "If only he hadn't made this decision," "If only he hadn't met this person," "If only he hadn't gone down this road," yada, yada, yada... But when I feel overwhelmed with those questions, I can do nothing but lay my concerns at the foot of the cross, and pray for his deliverance.
I guess in some way it was easy for me to identify with Ellen, Truman's wife, as well. She had been let down so many times over the years because of Truman's actions, decisions, and absence in their family. After awhile, it became human nature to think that nothing would ever change. But somehow, she concocted a plan with the wife of a death-row inmate to lure Truman back into her heart and life, and more importantly, back to their son who was struggling to hold on just a few more days for a heart transplant that could save his life.
I also connected on a small level with Terrell who was on death row for murder, yet still maintained his innocence. Before he landed in jail, he was nothing more than a no-good drunk and beggar, trying to bum a dollar from any Tom, Dick, or Harry that had it to spare. But once he got to jail, he found the Lord, and before too long, the death sentence that he was facing in 30 short days meant that he was that much closer to seeing Jesus face to face.
Now, some may think that a jail conversion is just a ploy for some inmates to butter up their family members or friends, but truly, many of them are genuine. While I was reading this book, it was on my calendar to re-certify as a volunteer at a local prison. Once a year, some of the inmates get together and host a banquet for all the volunteers that have taken time to come and minister to them at the prison. During the banquet, several of them stood and shared their testimonies of how they were on the wrong path when they got there. One guy in particular shared his story of being in a gang, and when he got to jail, he didn't want to have anything to do with some fellow inmates that were trying to witness to him. But they, as well as a couple of the chaplains, kept working on him, and before too long, he gave his life to the Lord. Now, he's a completely changed person. When new inmates come in, some of them that he knows personally from his old life, he continues the cycle by being a witness to them. He makes it a priority to go to the chapel services that are held throughout the week, mostly run by volunteers, so he can continue to learn more about God. That was just one of many testimonies shared, and it's so encouraging to know that a difference is being made in the hearts of so many, most of whom society has ignored and forgotten. It made Terrell's story believable, and while I've never personally met someone on death row, I could identify with his honesty and sincerity as he shared his story with Truman.
Once again, Chris has found a way to create such a unique story that is bound to penetrate the hearts of several readers. I can attest that it has penetrated mine. And there's something for everyone here, too...a little drama, a little mystery, a little sadness, and even a touch of humor that I never expected. So, if you're already a fan of Chris Fabry, then I have no doubt that you'll enjoy his latest. It's already earned it's place on my keeper shelf. :o)
December 13, 2012
How Much Can One Heart Hold?
A young woman was horrifically murdered, and now a man sits on death row to pay for it. As a final act of repentance and generosity, the prisoner offers to donate his heart to the son of an unemployed journalist with one catch: the journalist must write the prisoner's story, including the man's refusal to confess to the murder.
Willing to do anything to save his son's heart, the journalist begins to tell the story of one man losing his life, and ends by discovering his own life - complete with its flaws, joys, and connections to people he hadn't dreamed existed.
This story is filled with messy lives and tangled emotions. Parents losing their children. Children losing their parents. Employees losing jobs. Gamblers losing money. Men and women losing their spouses. Everyone losing hope. And all the sorrow and loss slipping into a huge void that only one thing can fill. Only, there aren't very many who recognize the answer staring them in the face.
This book hurt to read. I cried. There is so much sorrow in the world, and this book holds up a mirror to it. Yet, like Pandora's box, at the bottom of this book is hope. A hope massive enough to carry the mystery story, one man's searchings, and an unimaginable ending on its back. The author does a masterful job telling a story which opens a door past sympathy for those who are hurting, and into empathy for what they are feeling; past cynicism as to the future, and into a hope beyond understanding.
Like all doors, you must be willing to walk through it.
I highly recommend it.
July 22, 2012
an awesome suspense novel
The quote from Tom Stoppard Ã¢ÂÂLife is a gamble, at terrible odds Ã¢ÂÂ if it was a bet, you wouldn't take itÃ¢ÂÂ starts off this latest novel by Chris Fabry.
Truman comes across as a very selfish man, caring for himself rather than for his wife who is the sole caregiver for their son, Aiden, who was born with congenital heart disease, and at the age of eighteen years old is on the list for a heart transplant and their daughter Abigail. I had a hard time connecting with Truman for this reason. In contrast to this, Ellen his wife is approachable as a mother trying to do all she can to save her son, while also being their for her daughter. Terrell is someone you are anxious for, a guy that you hope will get a second chance.
Yet in spite of that I found Not in the Heart to be an emotional, edge of your seat novel as Chris takes us through the legal quagmire of organ donors, innocent men on death row and the families of those who are facing a sure imminent death. The tension was so tight, that even thinking about it a while later, I need to remind myself to relax, and take a deep breath. The twists and turns kept me reading long after I should have put it down. But this is not a novel only of doom and gloom and darkness. Chris Fabry writes a novel of hope and redemption.
I believe that the sign of a excellent novel is one where you remember the characters long after you are finished reading it, and this is one of those.
July 17, 2012
I did not expect to like this book so well. It deals with very unapproachable subjects like heart transplants, death by lethal injection and gambling disorders to boot. However with the smart and charming wit of the author it all comes together to provide a loving,humorous and faithful tale that the avid reader will truly enjoy.
July 13, 2012