Halsch’s (Let the Rain Fall, 2008, etc.) novel tells the story of Amy and Beth Monahan, two sisters from a prosperous family who have never gotten along. The two girls lost their mother, and her gentle influence, at a young age, and their own relationship soon fell apart. Amy, the elder daughter, recalls what her mother said to her when she was young: “She simply told Amy that there was a tie that bound the hearts of Amy and Beth together, no matter what happened....They were sisters, and would always be a part of each other’s lives.” Halsch’s work is about how the sisters find that tie again. The book opens with Beth in a difficult situation and Amy ready to marry the man of her dreams. Beth traveled through Europe after leaving home two years before and soon found herself in deep trouble, eventually landing in San Francisco with a degrading job and a loveless relationship. Amy, meanwhile, took care of her widowed father and committed herself to taking over the family’s ski resort. A pregnant Beth meets Johnny Harris, who works for his own family in Lake Tahoe; he keeps showing up at Beth’s workplace, and unlike anyone else in her life, he asks only for her company. Beth lives with the father of her child, who physically abuses her when she tries to leave. Johnny intervenes, however, and Beth lives with Johnny’s family until, and after, the birth of her baby, Eden. As Amy prepares for her marriage in her childhood home, Beth comes to know the Harris family’s unconditional love and, through that relationship, begins to know God. She feels unworthy of blessings and begins a long process toward understanding that redemption is available to everyone. One day, she feels called to return home to make amends, and as a result, her entire family is irreversibly changed. Halsch closely follows the biblical story of the prodigal son in this novel, giving Amy and Beth the various emotions and motivations of that tale’s characters. From this foundation, she creates unique, well-rounded protagonists whose actions (and fears) are believable throughout, and their experiences of grace are truly compelling. The prose is straightforward, but its simplicity doesn’t detract from the novel’s message. Overall, Halsch delivers a hopeful Christian story.
A charming novel about grace and the power of family.