Sunday, June 21, 2009


THE SUMMARY: After 7 years of little contact with her family, prodigal daughter Samantha comes home to her family. Accompanying her is TJ, her young son, a medical condition that will cut her down in the prime of her life, and years of sin and rebellion. There is more separating Samantha from her family than missing years however, especially between her and her father, a man she calls The Judge. Not only does she feel unloved by her father, but she has a husband who left her the day TJ was born. Will Samantha find love, forgiveness, and mercy before it’s too late?

THE MESSAGE: This story presents many themes, including understanding the depths of a father’s love and the power of forgiveness, mercy, and sacrifice.

THE PRESENTATION: Karen Harter’s first book explores a prodigal daughter’s wandering and her search for a way home. Although a powerful message, some of the scenes felt like too forced to meet a determined conclusion. I didn’t fully connect with the characters or truly felt Samantha’s struggles. For instance, she viewed her father as a harsh, unbending man, but I had trouble seeing him in that light.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Karen Harter’s book won a Christy Award. Although good, I felt the book wrapped up too neatly and easily. I hoped the book would explore a few themes that were hinted at but the author went in a different direction. It’s a good story, but I never felt myself truly rooting for the characters.


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