Beautifully written: My review of "The Merciful Scar" by Nancy Rue & Rebecca St. James @DailyVineCA

about the book....

Kirsten has spent her life trying to forget. But mercy begs her to remember.

Guilt-ridden after a family tragedy at age 16, Kirsten attempted to bury her pain in her flesh and called it coping. But at 23, on the night she expects her long-time boyfriend to propose, Kirsten discovers a devastating secret about him. In the emotional chaos that follows, an accident by her own hand lands her in a hospital psych ward, unable to find release in injuring herself.

The only viable treatment option is a stint on a Montana sheep ranch, working with the quirky but insightful “Sister Frankie.” Feeling as inept as the sheep themselves, Kirsten slowly joins the unlikely crew of people who are also searching for healing. Gradually she opens herself to embrace mothering an orphaned lamb and hearing God’s voice and . . . possibly . . . finding love again.

Through it all, mercy begs her to remember the past, showing her there is nothing—nothing—that can’t be redeemed.

my review....

Nancy Rue and Rebecca St. James have written a beautiful novel, one that mines the depths of human emotion while celebrating the triumph of mercy and God's grace. When I first picked up "The Merciful Scar", I was not entirely sure what to expect. I knew a book featuring a character who engaged in self injury to release her pain was a subject that may, at times, disturb me - and at times I was right. Cutting is a subject I deal with in my job all the time, and it can be difficult to watch people cope with their pain in that manner. However, I wasn't expecting to meet a character that not only made my heart hurt, but actually made me laugh out loud on occasion as well! Kirsten Petersen is one of those characters who steps off the page within seconds of being introduced to them, and I found the book impossible to put down because I simply had to see what would happen next. I loved Kirsten's inner voice, which she refers to as "Nudnik", a voice that seemed all too similar to the one that speaks in my own head sometimes, and one that provided for some hilarious commentary on Kirsten's life. The cast of support characters are equally wonderful, from Sister Frankie to Frankie's nephew Andy, and they add a lot of life and flavour to the story. The pacing is well done, and the scenes unfold with the sensitivity of skilled writers, unveiling ever more from chapter to chapter and drawing you deeper into the characters lives. Prepare to laugh, and cry, and come away filled with hope at all that God can accomplish.

If you are simply looking for an excellent book, then look no further. But if you are looking for a book that helps you understand why others engage in cutting to deal with pain (or maybe why you yourself struggle with this), then this book is an absolute must-read. Entertaining, insightful, and real, it is a book I plan on picking up again. 5 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

 about the authors....

Nancy RueNancy Rue is the author of over 100 books for adults and teens, including the Christy Award-winning The Reluctant Prophet, Unexpected Dismounts and Healing Waters (with Steve Arterburn), which was the 2009 Women of Faith Novel of the Year. She travels extensively—at times on the back of a Harley—speaking to and teaching groups of women of all ages. Nancy lives on a lake in Tennessee with her Harley-ridin’ husband, Jim, and their two yellow Labs (without whom writing would be difficult).

Rebecca St. James, an Australian-born Christian recording artist, is both a Grammy Award winner and a multiple Dove Award recipient. She is also the bestselling author of Wait for Me, SHE Teen, and What is He Thinking. In addition, St. James has appeared in the film Sarah's Choice and lent her voice to VeggieTales' An Easter Story.

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