In Tracie Peterson's new novel, What She Left For Me, the protagonist, Jana encounters some challenging hurdles to overcome. Upon her return home from a missions trip, Jana finds that her pastor husband has run off with his secretary, leaving her pregnant, homeless, and husbandless. Peterson's readers take Jana's painful journey with her one step at a time, confronting abandonment, betrayal, childhood molestation, rape, emotional estrangement, and doubt in God.
What She Left For Me includes many detailed and well thought-out conversations among the main characters. Peterson's grasp of each character's thoughts and inner feelings makes the story particularly intriguing, and gives the reader an easy way to relate to each character. The dialogues included in this book are especially realistic.
Lacking resources to support herself and her expected child, Jana is forced to accept the charity of her warm-hearted Aunt Taffy and her emotionally distant mother. Over the course of the story, it becomes clear that Jana's real battle is with herself and her faith. Will she choose to blame God and doubt Him because of her current life circumstances, or revive her faith and trust God once again? By taking another look at the past, Jana prepares herself for the future.
Afraid of repeated abandonment, and constantly on her guard, Jana wants to have trust in God and the people she loves, but remembers the hurts of her recent and distant past. Her Aunt Taffy attempts to arrange a reconciliation between Jana and her mother; she also gently nudges Jana toward a renewal of her faith in God. Jana's mother, who seems cold-hearted and even cruel at the beginning of the story, soon reveals the true reasons for her behavior and treatment of Jana. This newfound understanding paves the way for a bond between mother and daughter.
Unlike many stories of crises in faith, What She Left For Me doesn't pretend life is perfect, or act like those who have temporary lapses of faith and trust in God are abnormal. Peterson's story can be an example of how God uses other people to work on someone's heart after it has been damaged by life events. Anyone recovering from a traumatic experience, and having trouble in his or her relationship with the Lord because of it would enjoy this book. I recommend letting Jana come along on your journey from hurting to healing. -- Meg Tepfer, Christian Book Previews.com
She was Humiliated. Penniless. And Utterly Alone…
Perhaps she was naïve. Perhaps she was too trusting. But after her husband’s betrayal, Jana McGuire is left with only one choice: to humbly seek refuge with a mother she barely knows.
Jana longs to understand and connect with her mother. But Eleanor has firmly shut the door on the past, allowing admittance to no one. As the heartache of Jana’s situation heightens, her need for her mother compels her to seek out the truth of that past. But will Jana’s search bring back a pain that was better left alone?