Friday, February 8, 2013

One Sunday - A Believable Story of Grace and Redemption

Miss Alice has fallen down the rabbit hole.  At least that’s how Alice Ferguson feels when she finds herself 40, pregnant, and living in Nashville – thousands of miles and a lifestyle away from her fast-paced vocation as a career-destroying tabloid editor from LA.

Because of complications due to the pregnancy, Alice determined that it would be best to move in with the baby’s father, a Southern-bred doctor determined to do right by her – and anxious to keep an eye on their baby.

But the move from the City of Angels to the heart of Tennessee isn’t sitting well with this west coast mover and shaker.  The switch from rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite to bed rest and baby showers is a hard adjustment.

And then there are the neighbors, Pastor Tim and LeChelle Jackson with their bevy of kids. When Alice’s doting fiancé is out of town, she ambles over to the Jackson’s for LeChelle’s down home cuisine, and basks in the family’s love for one another – a love she had always longed for.

But along with the meals comes a generous slice of conviction from Tim.  Gentle and affirming, he also desires Alice to come to grips with her life and prods her to examine her relationship with God.  Finally, after successfully dodging several invitations to attend church with them, Alice gives in – if only to get them off her back.

One Sunday by Carrie Gerlach Cecil lays open the heart of a very lost, confused, and utterly wounded woman who hides her hurt beneath success and sarcasm.  Alice seems to have her life under control – even with an unplanned pregnancy, but as she sits through the Sunday service on the back pew of Bethel Church, memories she had buried begin to work their way to the surface, and she is faced with the pain caused by the life behind her and by the burden of choices she made.

Cecil crafts this story brilliantly.  Alternating between Alice’s acerbic analysis of each section of the Sunday morning service and flashbacks of her traumatic childhood and insecurity-driven adulthood, One Sunday allows us to look into a suffering soul who is trying to make sense of this Jesus thing.

One Sunday is never heavy handed.  Alice is a delight as a sarcastic, eye-rolling, self-centered mess.  I absolutely love her snarky attitude and her play-by-play of a contemporary Sunday go-to-meeting.  She made me laugh - and made me hurt for her too.  Alice’s journey back to God is authentic and at times earthy.  It is believable.

A novel with hope and humor, One Sunday will touch your heart with its story of grace and redemption. 

A courtesy copy of One Sunday was received from Howard Books in exchange for an honest review.

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