The Heart of Memory    -     By: Alison Strobel
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The Heart of Memory

Zondervan / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

When beloved Christian writer and speaker Savannah Trover becomes gravely ill, she has to face the sham that her faith has become. Days before her heart transplant, she vows to change her ways and she renews her relationship with Christ. But when she awakens from the surgery, Savannah discovers that her faith has left her completely. Savannah's husband, Shaun, is concerned about his wife's odd behavior-and even more concerned about the secret he's keeping from her. If she doesn't bring down their ministry, then he might, losing his family in the process. A stranger may hold the answer to Savannah's recovery, but is Savannah strong enough to return to her old way of life? Can Shaun right his wrongs before word gets out? And do either one of them remember how to be who they once were-or who they want to be? In this latest relational drama from Alison Strobel, readers will explore the difference between emotional faith and life-giving truth as Savannah wonders if she can ever trust her heart again.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310289475
ISBN-13: 9780310289470
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

When beloved Christian writer and speaker Savannah Trover becomes gravely ill, she has to face the sham that her faith has become. Days before her heart transplant, she vows to change her ways and she renews her relationship with Christ. But when she awakens from the surgery, Savannah discovers that her faith has left her completely. Savannah's husband, Shaun, is concerned about his wife's odd behavior---and even more concerned about the secret he's keeping from her. If she doesn't bring down their ministry, then he might, losing his family in the process. A stranger may hold the answer to Savannah's recovery, but is Savannah strong enough to return to her old way of life? Can Shaun right his wrongs before word gets out? And do either one of them remember how to be who they once were---or who they want to be? In this latest relational drama from Alison Strobel, readers will explore the difference between emotional faith and life-giving truth as Savannah wonders if she can ever trust her heart again.

Author Bio

Alison Strobel writes novels that explore life, love and faith. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at www.AlisonStrobel.com

ChristianBookPreviews.com

Alison Strobel's The Heart of Memory deals with consequences and faith. Savannah Trover, a renowned Christian speaker and writer, undergoes heart transplant surgery and realizes how much she has put God to the side in her life. She resolves to focus more on Him after the heart transplant, only to discover when she awakens that her faith has been replaced with anger and disbelief in God. Now she must reconcile the supposed woman of faith she used to be with the new, angry woman she has become.

The book is written in third-person from the viewpoints of three characters: Savannah, her husband Shaun, and her daughter Jessie. Shaun keeps hiding things from his wife -- things involving their ministry -- and his secrets start to build a wall between them. Savannah's attempts to hide her own problems make the wall only higher and thicker. Jessie is angry at her mother, feeling as though she is insignificant in her mother’s life. She also is frustrated because she feels as though she is invisible in her mother's shadow. In fact, Jessie's characterization as a wounded daughter is excellent, making her the most dynamic character in the book.

After the heart transplant, Savannah feels as though she has lost faith in God, but she has no clue as to why. All she knows is the anger she feels toward Him and the doubt that He even exists. As the major player in her women's ministry, she forces herself to hide her feelings and pretend that things are normal, even though they aren't. Finally, she breaks and tells her husband and best friend her problem. However, that solves nothing and only makes everything worse. Her husband is angry at his wife because he is counting on her to help him mask the growing financial issues their ministry is facing. Her friend is no help either. Finally, Savannah goes to someone with whom she broke off communication twenty years ago, in search of answers. What she finds surprises her and the readers.

Savannah as a character is slightly predictable and not very relatable at the beginning of the plot. I empathized more with her daughter. But after the heart transplant, dealing with her problems, and the changes she finds, Savannah starts to seem more like a real person. Her relationship with her daughter is strained, to say the least. Jessie has felt like she has been forced to play second-fiddle to Savannah's ministry, instead of being a major part of her mother's life. She also feels as though she has never measured up to Savannah's expectations. Savannah and Shaun keep building walls to protect their secrets and pain, almost to the point at which Shaun begins to consider the ramifications of divorcing Savannah.

Overall, the novel was good. I would have enjoyed it more if Strobel had delved more deeply into the theme of how God is faithful even when we have doubts, as found in 2 Timothy 2:13, "…if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself." Biblical themes such as this were touched on, but only lightly. Savannah herself never really thinks on it, nor do any other character weigh in on this issue. Nevertheless, I believe women, especially older moms, will enjoy this book. – Nathan Sturgis, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

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  1. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    interesting novel on a controversial subject
    August 25, 2011
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Successful Christian author and speaker Savannah Trover becomes very ill. She needs a heart transplant. Facing death, she realizes her own faith has been shallow and she renews her commitment to and relationship with Jesus.

    But then comes the heart transplant and the awful realization that her faith in God is entirely gone. In its place is an intense hatred for God.

    Savannah's husband and daughter struggle through the personality change. Savannah no longer has the desire to speak at conferences - she has nothing to say. The ministry that has supported the family falls apart. Then Savannah learns her husband has been taking money from the ministry and hiding it. The ministry is gone. The money is gone.

    Savannah turns to an old friend running a support home for hurting Christians. Will Savannah be able to return to faith in God? Will she be able to restore the relationships in her family?

    I was at first skeptical of Strobel's plot. Then I did a search and found some articles on the theory of cellular memory. While it is not recognized in the world of medicine, there is some anecdotal evidence of its reality.

    Strobel has progressed a great deal in her writing skills since her debut novel. She has crafted a pretty good story about a controversial topic. I'm glad I read the book and feel like I have learned something in the process.
  2. mumsy
    Ridgewood, NY
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    amazing book
    May 17, 2011
    mumsy
    Ridgewood, NY
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Savannah Trover is a Christian writer/speaker, and a successful ministry. She has an wonderful family, but her daughter thinks taht she deserves more attention and her husband, Shaun is hidding a secret that can bring down the ministry.

    After Savannah is forced to get a heart transplant the Trevor family's world will turn up-side-down-Savannah is losing her faith, her daughter is forced to give up her studies in college and Shaun believes that he will end up in jail... I love the way all the characters are developed and the way is written-"edgy"

    This is an amazing book and after reading it, I went online and bought two other books!
  3. mumsy
    Ridgewood, NY
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Amazing book
    May 11, 2011
    mumsy
    Ridgewood, NY
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Heart of Memory: A Novel - eBook.
    This book was so good and so real that stoped me from doing anything until I finished it. Just amazing book!!!! after i finish it, I bought two more books and pre-order the third one. Highly recommended.
  4. Monique
    Columbia, SC
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Walking away from God...
    May 5, 2011
    Monique
    Columbia, SC
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    You know, this book was very interesting. Savannah appears to be a person who has it all - a successful Christian ministry as a speaker and author, a good husband who runs her business, a daughter in college with a nice, Christian boyfriend, but things aren't always as they appear.

    While touring Savannah becomes ill with what she thinks is the flu, but when she doesn't get better she seeks out the doctor. Ending up in the hospital and needed a heart transplant, Savannah turns to her faith to help her get through these trying times.

    Luckily, Savannah receives a heart very quickly, but she doesn't heal as quickly as most recipients. Part of the reason is Savannah, but another part isn't. As a result, Savannah has lost her faith - in a huge way. She's not just lost, she is completely faithless - an atheist.

    Though the twists and turns of life, what most people would call coincidences, and what Savannah would no longer term "God's will", she is able to find a lifeline or two to save herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her daughter.

    On the other hand, Savannah's husband has a few secrets of his own - including the fact that the ministry is struggling to stay afloat. He's got a few get rich quick schemes up his sleeve, but will they work, and work quickly?

    For Savannah's daughter, it's a struggle always feel as if she's in the shadow of her mother - a shadow that can be oppressing, especially when, to the world, her mother is the perfect Christian woman, wife, and mom, but to her she's practically a stranger.

    This book is dark. We're watching someone struggle through the life they've chosen, and some illnesses they haven't, and the consequences aren't as pleasant as you'd expect. All 3 family members must come to terms with their perceptions of one another, their roles in their family and in life, and in how they want to move forward. It isn't easy to change, and it isn't easy to watch their struggles.
  5. debs
    WI
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    GOD can work through you always
    May 2, 2011
    debs
    WI
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book has changed how I feel as a Christian Women. I have been back slidden for alittle over a year now, Just recently I decided to talk with GOD again about life in general where HE wants me to go. Then I read The Heart of Memory and it has given me purpose again. The will honestly open you up to who you need to be spiritually.
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