Shades of Morning    -     By: Marlo Schalesky
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Shades of Morning

Multnomah Books / 2010 / Paperback

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Product Description

When her sister dies unexpectedly and leaves behind a 15-year-old Down syndrome son, Marnie's world comes unhinged---and her past collides with the present. As she struggles to find healing and forgiveness, a man arrives, determined to destroy her. Will she face the consequences of decisions made a decade earlier---or will she run again? 352 pages, softcover from Multnomah.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Multnomah Books
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)
ISBN: 1601420250
ISBN-13: 9781601420251
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Marnie didn’t know much about miracles.
Mistakes maybe. Accidents. And monstrous mess-ups. She knew a lot about those.
But miracles? Those were for other people.

Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.
Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned.
            As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

Author Bio

MARLO SCHALESKY is the author of several acclaimed novels, including Christy Award winner Beyond the Night.  A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo also has a masters of theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.  She’s a regular columnist for Power for Living and lives with her husband, Bryan, and five children in California.

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky is a story about making amends with one’s inner ghosts from the past. Marnie Wittier is a woman in her thirties who is haunted by her broken family and a loving would-be fiancée, Taylor Cole, whom she abandoned fifteen years ago out of fear and guilt. This storyline helps readers empathize because many people have experienced unfortunate situations and felt the regret of making a wrong decision. In the end Marnie realizes that she must give all her doubts and regrets to God. In that process she sees how relinquishing control can grant her many blessings. The book's plot is reflected in the verse, “Have mercy on me, O God, in your great kindness, in the fullness of your mercy blot out my offenses” (Psalm 51:1).

The structure of Shades of Morning consists of alternating third person viewpoints among Marnie, Taylor, and a Down Syndrome boy who also is involved in the plot. The author's style of writing among the characters is an attempt to create tension and intensity, but instead often comes across as a weak attempt at melodrama. Despite this, a few of the many flashbacks draw the reader into the plot by revealing the thought processes of the heroine.

Marnie Wittier is a strong-willed woman who prefers escape instead of confrontation. She is smart and loving toward everyone but herself and refuses to let go of her past. She relates to other characters in a clichéd but sweet way. They care for her, but she systematically refuses to see past her own pain. Schalesky tries to make Marnie someone who is easy to relate to, but she fails and, instead, writes a story about a character full of contradictions.

I was simply relieved when I finished the book. The characters were not dynamic, the writing was quite average, and the plot was artificially sweet. The storyline was too typical of Christian fiction. Yet, despite its shortcomings, the novel had a good biblical message about love, life, and forgiveness. This book would be the best for middle-aged Christian women looking for a somewhat sappy but well-intentioned story about reunited romance. – Giselle Gonzalez,

Publisher's Weekly

Book and coffee shop owner Marnie Wittier lives on the opposite end of the country from where she grew up; she needs that much distance from her past. But her past won’t stay away; her estranged sister, Rose, dies and Marnie is named guardian of Rose’s 15-year-old son, Emmit, who has Down syndrome. Another complication: Rose’s attorney is Taylor Cole, whom Marnie once loved. The complicated family history unreels in the narrative, alternating with Marnie’s learning to cope with the sweet and very challenging Emmit. Schalesky leavens a story that could be sad with friendly, quirky touches: Marnie’s customers, her iguana Max. Some devices seem contrived: Marnie’s box of memorabilia that signifies major life events, the cute meeting between Marnie and Taylor. But Christy-award winning Schalesky (Beyond the Night) has a good feel for psychological complexity. And a reader won’t see the nice twist at the end coming until it hits like the California earthquake that opens the book. The story’s not 100% plausible, but it’s satisfying and charming. (June) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for
Shades of Morning

"Will Marnie and Taylor, torn apart sixteen years ago, find a way to overcome, seemingly impossible, barriers and find happiness? Shades of Morning, superbly crafted by veteran author, Marlo Schalesky, presents a sense of family and love that will touch the reader's soul.  The book is a memorable journey into a woman's heart and the lessons she learns about real family loyalty.  Reader, prepare yourself for a surprise ending!"
— Irene Brand, best-selling author of Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska and Made for Each Other

"Shades of Morning is magical! Full of the wonder of love, true love. It surprised me on every page. I loved it!"
— Deborah Raney, author of Almost Forever and the Clayburn Novels 

 "Each of Marlo Schalesky’s inspirationally unique stories are "like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get" and Shades of Morning is no exception. From the first page, I fell for the beautifully drawn and flawed characters, and by the end, I wanted to hug them, especially Emmit. What an angel." 
— Tamara Leigh, author of Nowhere, Carolina and Leaving Carolina

"Shades of Morning is a gripping story of grace and forgiveness in the face of years of secrets, half-truths, and running. Yet it is so much more. Marnie and Tyler became people I cared about from the opening pages, yet I wondered how the tangled web of their past could ever unravel to show the promise of a future. And the image of God revealed in the prose speaks to me even now after I’ve reached the end."
—    Cara C. Putman, author of Cornhusker Dreams and Stars in the Night

"Poignant. Heartfelt. Compelling. This latest novel by Marlo Schalesky is a touching testament to the power of love, forgiveness, and second chances. Shades of Morning is an unusual love story with a twist--and what a twist! You'll love it. But be sure to have a box of tissues close at hand. This would make a great movie! (Are you listening, Hollywood?)"
—    Laura Jensen Walker, author of Becca by the Book and Turning the Paige

"Marlo wrote an engrossing story told with her signature richness and beauty. Her characters lived and breathed -- I connected with them immediately -- even as they displayed the messiness of real life. Shades of Morning will touch your heart and remind you of God's enduring hope, love and redemption. It's a treasure!"
—    Cindy Martinusen Coloma, author of best-selling novel Orchid House and Beautiful

Product Reviews

4 Stars Out Of 5
4 out of 5
4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 16
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  1. Adele
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A very good book
    December 23, 2011
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I enjoyed it very much. I couldn't put it down. I ended up reading until 2 in the morning to finish it.
  2. Sara @ Embracing Destiny
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Quirky story of redemption and providence
    July 17, 2011
    Sara @ Embracing Destiny
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Shades of Morning is at its heart a story of redemption and divine providence. I found myself drawn into the plot immediately, even though it did strain my "suspension of disbelief" several times. There were times I felt that the main character Marnie behaved in what I considered an unlikely and ridiculous way. It was a quick read with a surprise ending that I will not even hint about. Suffice it to say, I can usually predict the endings of books, but this was not what I expected at all. I do feel that there was a strong spiritual message throughout the novel. While avoiding "preachiness" or heavy-handed tactics, Marlo Shalesky was able to convey the significance of forgiveness and restoration freely offered by our loving Creator.

    If you like quirky characters and following the "clues" left by God's guiding hand in situations, you'll like Shades of Morning.
  3. Nora Finding Hope
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 23, 2010
    Nora Finding Hope
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Today Marnie meets her sisters child for the first time. Hes fifteen and has Downs syndrome. How could her sister Rose, keep a secret like this? Taylor, the executor of her sisters will and former friend was asking the impossible; she couldnt raise Roses son, Emmit. Marnie was single and had a coffee shop to run, people depended on her. Her life was full, and no room for anything else. But the longer Emmit stayed and the more she learned about him, a surprising thing happened. Marnie realizes she needs him. Emmit was showing her the way home. He was showing her how to trust, in people and in God again.Taylor realizes he has his own struggles with God and Marnie.God, who wanted him to let go. God, who had never stopped pursuing him. God, who wanted the past for Himself. Why couldnt he let go? What was he afraid of?Im so glad I received a review copy of this amazing, powerful, heartfelt story. Marlo has a talent to captivate you from the start and immediately draw on your heart strings, because her characters are believable and they deal with circumstances beyond themselves. I felt for Emmits situation as he was forced to live with an Aunt hed never met.This author captures the endearing qualities of Emmit and the real issues he struggles with being a Downs syndrome teenager, but at the same time youll see the simple way he views life and knows whats important. He hopes Marnie realizes it before its too late. I was absolutely taken in by Emmit praising God in church, how he loved life and I laughed at his obsession with doughnuts!When you meet Emmit and get to know him, you wont look at another Downs syndrome child the same. I highly recommend this novel. The story and its characters will stay with you long after the last page is read.
  4. Sweetslady
    Wichita, KS
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 22, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    I loved this book! I had a hard time in beginning getting into it, but after I figured out what was going on then I couldn't put it down. Was a beautiful story of old love found again and coming back to Christ! I also loved how Marnie was able to find love for a child with Down's which in tured helped her to face her past. This was a great Christian romance, and just when I thought I had it all figured out. There was a huge twist and I was so wrong. LOL! Great read for summer! This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah. All opinions are my own.
  5. Heidi Main
    Cary, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    July 16, 2010
    Heidi Main
    Cary, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    This gripping novel was well-written and I loved the plot twists. It was a page-turner, especially towards the end. I truly enjoyed that Marnie and Taylor had a love story in this novel yet were in different cities for all but one scene! That created a mystery and suspense for me, the reader. Marlo answered a question in each chapter then asked another one, creating a heightened sense of curiosity to keep me reading. I was intrigued by this style and loved it!
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Marlo Schalesky
Located in: Salinas, California
Submitted: June 21, 2010

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I am the award winning author of several books, including Shades of Morning, which combines a love story with a surprise ending twist to create a new type of novel that I hope will impact readers at their deepest levels. My other books include the Christy Award winning novel Beyond the Night, and its sequel If Tomorrow Never Comes, as well as my only nonfiction Empty Womb, Aching Heart- Hope and Help for Those Struggling with Infertility. I've had nearly 700 articles published in various Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, and Decision. I have contributed to Dr. Dobson’s Night Light Devotional for Couples, Tyndale’s Book of Devotions for Kids #3, and Discipleship Journal’s 101 Small Group Ideas. I'm a speaker and a regular columnist for Power for Living. I am also a California native, a small business owner, and a graduate of Stanford University (with a B.S. in Chemistry!). In addition, I've earned my Masters in Theology, with an emphasis in Biblical Studies, from Fuller Theological Seminary. I live with my husband and five young children (can you say "Crazy?!") in a log home in Central California. When I'm not changing diapers, doing laundry, or writing books, I love sipping Starbucks white mochas, reading the New Testament in Greek, and talking about finding the deep places of God in the disappointments of life.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  It happened on an ordinary Sunday morning at church. I went not expecting to see anything different, or special, or extraordinary. But God had other plans. And so did Andy. In the middle of the third song, a noise came from the far side of the church. A loud noise. Strange, awkward, and off-key. Then, it grew louder. I stood on tiptoes and peeked toward the sound. There was Andy. His arms were raised, his eyes closed. And he was singing to his God for all he was worth. Andy, in his middle teens, with blond hair, thick glasses, and small ears. Andy, with Down Syndrome and a grin on his face big enough for the angels to see. Andy, shout-singing with all his might through that radiant smile. That moment changed me. It showed me that beauty is found in unexpected places, and that God’s gifts in our lives are often wrapped in awkward, off-key packages. I witnessed something beautiful, something wondrous that day, and it made me see that so often the hard things in life, the things we want to hide away, to forget, to cover up, can be transformed into things of beauty in the hands of God. And that’s how Shades of Morning was born – in those moments while Andy worshipped and I was left breathless by the wonder of it.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I love stories with surprise twists that tie into the overall theme of the book. So, for my books, I want to have a twist that reveals a deeper meaning in the story. I love to surprise and delight readers not just with something they didn’t see coming, but with twists that make them know and understand the characters’ journeys in deeper ways. I love to catch my breath in wonder when I read a book, and I love to give my readers that same experience because I hope, somehow, that as they’re catching their breath from the story, they’ll catch their breath in wonder at God too and see Him in new and amazing ways. Because what I want most of all is to reveal God’s incredible love in the midst of trials and tragedies. I dream of opening readers’ eyes to the wonder and mystery of our vivid God. And I hope the vision of Him will take their breath away.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  In writing Marnie's story, I was impacted by the idea that regrets will shape you if you give them the power, if they become what you treasure in your heart. That’s exactly what happens to Marnie. She hides from her regrets by locking them away. She doesn’t think they can touch her there. But instead of being free from them, she’s really just carrying them with her. That’s how it is with me, and I think, with all of us. When we lock away these parts of our lives from God and ourselves, we are really just hiding them in our hearts, making them our treasure. So, just like Marnie, I learned that I have to face my regrets, confess them to those I've hurt and to my friends, and only then can I be healed of them. And with healing, I find that I can see God’s presence in my life and how He’s been working in beautiful and wondrous ways to transform those regrets into something new and good in my life. For Marnie, for me, and for us, it’s about trusting God enough to face regret and let it go, to believe that God can take anything and make it beautiful. To believe that God truly does forgive our sins and forget them. And that He can take our mistakes and remake them. That’s what the cross is all about. That’s what life in Christ is about too.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  For Shades of Morning, I gained inspiration from Jeremy Camp's Walk by Faith as well as Michael Card's The Hidden Face of God.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I hope readers will visit my website at VividGod dot com and check out the excerpt for Shades of Morning, various audio and TV interviews, resources, and other helpful information there. And, I’d love for people to sign up for my e-newsletter, which I put out a few times a year (or whenever there’s exciting news like a book release!). You can sign up on the front page, right hand column of my website. I also invite readers to visit my blog at YourDeepLife dot com. About once a week I post news and hopefully helpful info on rekindling the wonder in our walks with God. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook. On my Facebook page, we focus on deeper living for everyday people.

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