Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review: A Reason to Stay

A Reason to Stay
By Kellie Coates Gilbert
Texas Gold, #3
Revell, 2015


Sometimes the thing that keeps us from making the wrong choice is the one thing we can't control . . .

As an investigative reporter and the host of her own TV talk show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. By contrast, her husband Geary's life is an open book. An easygoing pro bass fisherman, Geary is the ultimate family man--and his overbearing relatives don't know the meaning of boundaries.

Faith and Geary haven't been married long when their differences start to derail their tender relationship. Surely love shouldn't be this hard. While Faith considers whether divorce is the only answer to their issues, tragedy strikes. With her life in the balance, she finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.

Kellie Coates Gilbert takes you on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves together unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.

My thoughts

Sometimes broken things got fixed.

A Reason to Stay is a very moving story – poignant, compelling, heartwarming, and even humorous at times. It’s the story of a marriage, with past and present cleverly entangled throughout. The romance is tender, characters are richly drawn, and tough issues are faced realistically. It touched me in lots of ways and left me with much to think about after the last page was turned.

Kellie Coates Gilbert instantly became one of my favorite writers after reading her first book, Mother of Pearl, which has a similar emotionally engaging plot. I’ve read four books (#5 has just been released), and as for a favorite? It would probably be whichever one I’m reading at the time, they’re all that good.

Crawfish Boil
Before Christian fiction became my primary focus, women’s fiction in the secular marketplace was my favorite genre, and I have devoured many excellent books over the years. While there is much that I enjoy in the CBA, the limited amount of quality women’s fiction has been disappointing. So let me quickly say that I applaud the writing of Kellie Coates Gilbert, for it holds its own with anything I’ve read elsewhere.

Faith Marin had a glamorous job and celebrity status, all of which had come at a price. A character’s likeability often determines the extent to which readers enjoy a book, and let me just say that Faith is a flawed – broken – character that has a lot of spiritual growth and maturing to go through from the time we first meet her. As the layers are peeled back to reveal glimpses into her background, my understanding of her behavior increased and I easily connected with and felt for her. Geary had his own flaws, but he modeled the patience, love and commitment that are so desirable in a mate, and I adored him.

A lot of stories reflect the values of forgiveness and second chances – yet somehow Kellie Coates Gilbert is able to take these themes to a whole new level, one that completely engages the emotions and envelops you with a sense of God’s hand in the midst of difficult situations. A Reason to Stay reflects a reality where Christians don’t always marry Christians, physical attraction is a big motivator, and couples aren’t completely supportive, open and honest with each other. The enchanting honeymoon ends and the reality of differing goals, values, belief systems, and expectations sets in. Vocation was just one area of conflict, as Faith thought Geary failed to understand the commitment level required by her job, and she “wasn’t all that enamored with the idea their financial security rested in large measure on whether or not the bass were biting on crankbait or woolly buggers, or that the season, time of day, and weather could determine the size of his paycheck.” As in real life, it takes a crisis to open their eyes to what’s really important.

I also loved how family played such an important part in this story, and was reminded that marriage is not just the joining of two individuals, but of two families. Faith’s experience with Geary’s family and their traditions was so funny … a “redneck” family with strong faith values that loved unconditionally, yet boundaries were nonexistent and practically everything was meant to be shared.

A Reason to Stay is a touching and memorable story, and while the ending is very satisfying and uplifting, I hated to see it end. “Best of the best” for me.

Highly recommended.

A Reason to Stay is #3 in the Texas Gold series, but it stands alone. Please click on the titles below to see my review of Kellie’s previous books.

Mother of Pearl
A Woman of Fortune (Texas Gold #1)
Where Rivers Part (Texas Gold #2)


Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal and the author of A Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part. Gilbert crafts her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband.

Thank you to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Nice review. I'll look out for it.

  2. I need to check out this author! You always introduce me to such great new ones! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!