By Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley
Restoration series, #3
Can faith build a bridge between their dreams?
For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby. The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts--and their relationship. Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments while Allan seems content to spend his time--and their money--on supporting displaced children in Africa. Something's got to give. But they both hope it's not their marriage.
Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they could never have imagined. And all it takes to set it in motion is a change of heart . . .
The Restoration Series is an extremely well-written family drama that combines the literary talents of Dan Walsh and the relationship expertise of Gary Smalley. These stories pull back the curtain of a family that has laid their foundation on shifting sand, but is slowly rediscovering genuine love and the power of forgiveness. The authors did a great job in writing so that each story can stand alone, but I highly recommend reading from the beginning straight through in order to understand the characters' backgrounds.
Book one, The Dance, is the parents' story, and we quickly see that Jim Anderson's insensitivities as husband and father cast a long shadow over his three children. Book two, The Promise, is the oldest son's story and now The Desire focuses on daughter Michele. The Andersons could easily be the family next door and I immediately connected with them. I have enjoyed everything about this series, especially the way family members love and support each other as marital conflicts surface.
The Desire stands out because it deals with some sensitive issues - infertility, adoption, and foreign missions. Michele seemed selfish in her all-consuming desire to get pregnant, yet I could relate to her because pregnancy didn't come quickly for me and I often received thoughtless comments from well-intentioned friends. Allan's passion for the mission work in Ethiopia was moving, and I don't think I'll ever get the image of Korah, the urban slum in Addis Ababa, out of my mind. I would have liked to see Allan's character fleshed out a little more, but that didn't really detract from my enjoyment.
Michele's struggle makes me realize how easy it is to be so blinded by what we want or desire that we can't accept other options. We see beautiful spiritual growth in Michele as she comes to realize that she can't love God and others in the way He asks under her own ability. Michele says it best in these words: "When we're loving God wholeheartedly - which grace helps us to do - we're finally putting him in the highest place in our hearts. He becomes the object of supreme value. And we start looking to him to meet our deepest needs instead of to other people and other things."
The secondary plot with Christina was also enjoyable and I loved her growing friendship with the youngest Anderson son, Doug. I believe Doug is going to need a friend with a strong faith very soon and I look forward to their story in the next book.
Storylines will continue, so everything wasn't neatly tied up. The ending is emotionally touching, and all who read this story will want more of precious little Ayana. Highly recommended.
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promisewith Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Visit danwalshbooks.com for more.
Gary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of 16 books, along with several popular films and videos. He has spent over 30 years learning, teaching, and counseling, speaking to over 2 million people in live conferences. Smalley has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Extra,The Today Show, and The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, as well as numerous national radio programs. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.