To Know You
An honest and compelling story!
This was an incredible read ... hard, challenging and also very intriguing, and inspiring. I love stories that feel real to my heart and this one ranks at the top for that.
To be completely honest, I found the book a difficult read. While the story and plot were very enticing, the constant POV switches made it a challenge for me. The book is set up chronologically, based on a time clock. Therefore instead of POV changes lined up based on scenes, you find yourself whirling to a new plot thread based on the clock. There are also several flashbacks. Eventually, I did adjust to the transitions, but cannot say it was a smooth read for me.
That being said the powerful content of the story still bled through. There are many great characters, each with their own investment in the main plot of the sick boy, as well as their own individual plots that are compelling on their own. It is an immensely deep and invested read covering difficult topics such as infidelity, adoption, intimacy issues in marriage, and even more crucial, the concept of redemption and forgiveness.
A great book - not a beach/weekend read. Check it out for yourself and download the first three chapters free from Shannon EthridgeÃ¢ÂÂs website.
Thanks to Booksneeze and Thomas Nelson for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
December 10, 2013
An Incredible Story About Family
Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel, in their new book, "To Know YouÃ¢ÂÂ published by Thomas Nelson takes us into the life of Julia Whittaker.
From the back cover: Julia WhittakerÃ¢ÂÂs rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.
Julia and Matt WhittakerÃ¢ÂÂs son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the oddsÃ¢ÂÂand his liverÃ¢ÂÂcrash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a Ã¢ÂÂliving liverÃ¢ÂÂ transplant, but the transplant list is long and DillonÃ¢ÂÂs time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.
But can Julia ask a young womanÃ¢ÂÂsomeone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken withÃ¢ÂÂto make such a sacrifice to save a brother sheÃ¢ÂÂs never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?
And what if she discovers in her own daughtersÃ¢ÂÂ lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows sheÃ¢ÂÂs probably embarking on a foolÃ¢ÂÂs errandÃ¢ÂÂsearching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?
In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.
Let me start by saying Ã¢ÂÂTo Know YouÃ¢ÂÂ is a tear-jerker. This is not to say this is bad just that it is highly emotional and you should have a box of tissues standing by. Julia had to give up two daughters by two separate fathers for adoption. It has been at least twenty years since she has seen either man and has never seen either daughter. Now she has a son who is dying and needs the help of these daughters if the son is ever to live. This is the kind of movie that they air on a Sunday night. It has plenty of atmosphere, great characters and an incredible story. Your chores will suffer once you start reading this book because you will not want to put it down. I do not believe I have ever read a story like this before and I am quite impressed. Ms. Ethridge and Ms. Mackel have done an outstanding job.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255: Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
November 21, 2013
To Know You is the first of Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel's writing I have had the honor of reading. To Know You is Shannon Ethridge's debut novel. To Know You is a novel about Julia Whittaker, who years before gave 2 daughters up for adoption to give them better lives, but now needs them to try and help her son who is in need of a liver transplant. Julia never intended to meet her girls, she gave them up to give them better lives and never wanted to interfere even now that they are adults. Her 13 yr old son is dying and the only way to save him is a living liver transplant. Julia finds herself on a plane to meet her daughters, Destiny and Hope. She finds Destiny, learning her adoptive parents kept the name Julia gave her all those years ago. Julia then finds herself with Destiny in tow to meet Hope, now Chloe. Both girls very different from one another but Julia sees herself in both of them. They embark on a journey to meet birth fathers and learn about one another. As they go on this journey, tragedies bring them together.
To Know You is a beautiful novel about how our mistakes become blessings in the hardest situations. As someone who has a liver disease and knows liver transplant is something that could be needed this hit very close to home. Also as a parent, knowing that if my child was sick, the length I would go to find what they needed also made this novel real. These authors write with authority on adoption, liver disease, medical procedures, and finding forgiveness. The characters are truly inspiring as they take their brokenness and find forgiveness from one another and God. I found myself completely submerged in this novel and it has stayed with me long after I finished it. I found myself laughing out loud in parts and sobbing in others as these families go through this journey. I can't say enough about this beautiful novel. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction, you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait for the next novel in this series, from these authors. I give this book 5 Stars!
November 19, 2013
I knew of Shannon Ethridge as a non-fiction writer. I was intrigued by her jump to fiction and curious as to what her story-telling style might be like. Oh my! I was completely blown away by To Know You!
While the story didn't take off and have me hanging on for dear life, I was immediately drawn into the plot. I was eager to see how Julia's story would intersect with her two daughters' lives and if the author would be able to pull off telling three distinct stories with three very diverse main characters. I loved how the author used "flash backs" to tell about Julia's past (and therefore Destiny and Chloe's past as well). And while there were a few times I had trouble making the POV switch, for the most part I was able to keep up. :)
To me, the best part of the book was the way the author made the characters come alive. I felt every bit of their emotions. At various times, I wanted to hug one character or shake another one senseless. It truly seemed as though I was reading about friends rather than paper people.
At times, parts of the plot seemed a bit unrealistic ... perhaps it was "too much" to believe that all this could happen to one individual. But that didn't keep me from loving the story. Instead, it made me empathize even more with Julia and anxious to see her get her happy ending. (No spoilers here! You'll have to read and find out for yourself!)
The author tackles a wide range of pretty serious topics, including the serious illness of a child, organ donation, adoption, and sexual relationships outside of marriage. This book is probably better suited for mature readers.
I'm happy to give two thumbs up to this incredible book. While I don't keep many books on my "keeper" shelf, this one has earned its rightful place there! Highly, highly recommend! [5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
November 18, 2013