I was privileged to be able to read this book, and wow.
This book — when I started it, I wasn’t sure. The family is far from perfect, and there are certain themes that I just don’t care for in books. And I couldn’t tell where it was all going, or what the purpose of it all was.
And then. I turned the page, and wow! Everything began to make sense, I began to fall in love with the characters, and I realized how perfectly imperfect the whole family was.
The whole aspect of the family — even the whole extended family — was sweet to read. I don’t have that great of a relationship with my own extended family, and I wish I had what these characters had. Aunts and Uncles and cousins who are supportive on both sides — that is a huge blessing!
I loved the noise and the chaos and the hilarious moments in the book — ’cause a real family will never be perfect.
SPOILER I had a slight suspicion of what was going on with Faith, and then I dismissed it. And then I was right, and she was expecting. And the way the whole family came together to support her was sweet to read about. If we had a perspective like these people, I wonder how our attitudes would change towards unplanned teen pregnancies. It is one thing I wonder about, being immersed in the pro-life movement. Yes, Faith made a mistake . . . but she had a repentant attitude, and as her pastor said, we aren’t defined by our mistakes. And her mistake brought her closer to her family and made her more dependant on the Lord, and I like books like that. I almost cried when the church wanted to give her a baby shower, and when they explained about being glad that she hadn’t aborted the baby . . . I was in tears. SPOILER END
And Aaron . . . oh Aaron. that guy was so sweet. Freddie’s observations were so insightful, and Jackson was so . . . Jackson =) David was the perfect father figure, and I admired how he handled Faith and was willing to talk to her about difficult topics.
I enjoyed learning a bit about the Lutheran faith since I enjoy learning about the different denominations of Christianity.
The one thing I didn’t really care for was the style of writing, and that is totally personal –there wasn’t a lot of showing of different things, it was mainly a lot of telling the reader facts. I didn’t notice as much once I got into the story, though, and I am already looking forward to the third book!
I definitely recommend this book for older readers (16+) because of the content and teen pregnancy. Abortion is mentioned, and the emotional trauma of killing a baby in utero is discussed.
I was honored to be able to pester the author with questions about the book :-) I enjoy picking authors brains, so here ya go :D
Can you introduce yourself to us? I’m a Texan by address but a Michigander at heart, having grown up there. Along with military families, pastors’ families tend to move around the most, and I’m no exception. My dad and my husband are both pastors, and I’ve lived in six different states, holding multiple addresses in four of those states. I’m no stranger to moving! My husband and I have five children, ranging in age from fifteen to four, and they give me all sorts of material for writing. They each know which character they inspired in my books. In my free time I enjoy practicing organ or flute, going for walks, playing board games, reading, and—surprise—writing! An author friend and I joke that authors are in a category of their own, because instead of going on vacations to escape work, our dream vacations include going off to some exotic place where we can work! I’d love to go to the Texas coast by myself, sit on the beach, and just write all weekend long.
Share a little about your book with us — was there anything that inspired the writing of it? Here’s a little secret: Grace Alone was originally written as a standalone novel, and Grace’s oldest daughter Faith had a different name. But when I finished the rough draft of Grace Alone, I moped around depressed that I was done with the story. My oldest son suggested, “Why not write a sequel?” I liked the idea, but didn’t quite know where to go with that. Grace Alone has a double meaning, because the main character’s name is Grace, but through the novel the message of salvation through “grace alone” is proclaimed. As a Lutheran, I’m very familiar with the five main solas: we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as found in Scripture alone; to God alone be the glory. So in Lutheran lingo, “faith alone” naturally follows “grace alone.” That gave me the idea to change my character’s name to Faith and continue the series by focusing on her in the second book.
Do you have a favorite memory of writing the book? I wrote Faith Alone during a crazy year in the Meyer household. I was attempting to homeschool two of our children—attempting being the operative word here—shortly after moving to Texas, while our youngest was still nursing. More often than not, my mind was not on the homeschooling but on my plot for the book. Whenever I had to feed the baby, I would give the kids something to work on by themselves and hole myself up in my room much longer than necessary, typing out the latest scene on my phone with one hand while I held the baby in my other arm. Most of the rough draft of the book was written laboriously, with one thumb on a tiny keyboard.
Is there anything that helps you write — chocolate, coffee, tea, music, etc.? If it’s the morning, coffee all the way. I get up early, before any of the kids are awake, and work on my books then, and I wouldn’t dream of doing so without a cup (or two!) of strong coffee. (Chocolate, on the other hand, I’ll eat at any time! Like my character Grace, I’m a certified chocoholic.) Changing location also helps me write. On my husband’s day off, he takes our four-year-old so I can go to a local restaurant to work. I find I get far more accomplished when I’m away from the house and the never-ending “to do” list of household chores, and I’m able to just focus on writing for those hours.
Do you prefer to read actual books, or on an electronic device of some sort? Physical paper copies for sure. I love the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of the pages, and the visual reminder of exactly how far into the book I am. I prefer my kids to read physical books as well rather than give them an excuse to spend more time on electronics, so I’d like to think I’m setting a good example by doing the same.
Three favorite books? (An unfair question, but…. =}) Ooh, that is an unfair question! Just three? Of course if I had to choose one book to be stranded on a desert island with, it would be the Bible, but that’s in a category of its own, so I’m not going to count that as one of my three. ;) Can I list different categories of books and say my favorites for each?? I’ve been thinking about this question for five days, and I’m still not completely satisfied with my answer. I guess I’d say The Hunchback Of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, because it’s so complex and well-written, and (spoiler alert!) the ending is nothing like the one in the Disney movie, which was in a strange way refreshing for me. It’s emotional and thought-provoking. Plus it was the first non-abridged classic book I ever read, back in high school, and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to have finished the entire thing. (Although speaking of classics, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is an extremely close second…) I’d also include The Giver by Lois Lowry (and, by extension, the other three books of that series) on my list, because it’s such an original plot idea and probes some deep issues like what happiness really means. And just to throw in a curve ball, I’ll include a nonfiction book as well. Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis by Tim Townsend is a fascinating story that few people know about. A Lutheran chaplain ministered to the Nazi officials during the Nuremberg trials, and some of those men did, in fact, repent, which illustrates the beautiful truth that there’s no sin too big for God to forgive.
What is one lesson you learned through writing this book? How much I still have to learn about writing! You know that phrase—The more you learn, the less you know? I totally get that. I majored in music in college and never intended to become an author. My first book was a children’s alphabet book, Our Faith from A to Z, and it required very little editing—a word change here and there was the extent of it. After that experience, I dared to think I was a pretty decent writer. Then I ventured into fiction and learned otherwise. Trust me, getting back a manuscript full of red comments for suggestions and changes is a very humbling experience. My rough draft for Grace Alone was just that—rough! I went through multiple rounds of edits before publication, and some chapters were almost complete rewrites. After that, you might think I’d be better equipped for Faith Alone. Alas, that manuscript required extensive editing as well. I have a different editor for this book than I did for Grace Alone, and each has taught me valuable lessons about the craft of writing. Although editing is not the most exciting or enjoyable part of the writing process, it is crucial, and I’m grateful for such patient editors who are willing to teach me how to improve my writing skills and become a better writer. No matter your age or occupation, you’re never too old to learn.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t required to enjoy the book, just to give my honest opinion
I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.