Monday, October 13, 2008

Stepping Into Sunlight

Stepping into Sunlight is the latest book by Sharon Hinck and is, in my not-so-humble opinion, her best book to date.

The story follows Penny Sullivan. Her life has been upended recently because her husband has joined the Navy as a chaplain and is on his first deployment. But before he left, Penny witnessed a violent crime and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She has difficulty leaving her house. She finds herself sleeping through the day and experiences horrific nightmares. She wants to hold it together for the sake of her son, Bryan, but it's becoming too much of a struggle. Can Penny put her life back together before her husband returns home? Or will he find a wreck waiting for him?

Sharon weaves in some powerful emotions throughout the story as she tells Penny's tale. You definitely get a picture of what it's like to go through PTSD. The prose is rich and evocative (as usual for Sharon!) and really draws you into the story. I'll probably get in trouble for sharing this, but when my wife (who read this book before me) found out what Penny witnessed exactly, she actually had a few nightmares from it. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but it certainly speaks well for how Sharon paints pictures with her words!

What's most fascinating is "Penny's Project." One of the things that Penny does to cope with her trauma is start a project. She sets a goal for herself. She'll do one good deed for a person every day in the hopes that each little step forward will get her closer and closer to being mentally whole again. Sharon weaves this idea in with Matthew 25:40. Look it up for yourself. Sharon even did some fun marketing with this idea. When I saw her at the ACFW Conference, she gave me a small notebook to give to Jill so Jill could carry out her own "Project" and keep track of her own good deeds.

So go get this book and enjoy it.

Oh, and one last thing. Speaking for myself, I was tickled pink to see Luther's evening prayer in the middle of the book. Go Lutherans!

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