Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Reinventing Rachel
Author: Alison Strobel
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: September 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Fiction
Year/Setting: Present day, So. California to Chicago
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: None/Minimal
Alison's Website/Blog: www.alisonstrobel.com
This is an absolutely lovely story about how, with life’s harsh circumstances, even a truly faithful believer can step away from God and struggle with the meaning of hope, faith, and Christianity.
Our main character is Rachel Westing. Rachel has lived her life believing wholeheartedly in the One. She is an avid church member and is currently putting her essay together in order to finish her application and secure a place at the local Seminary. She works at the local coffee shop, loves her espresso more than life, and spends a great deal of time working with women on the cusp of adulthood to help them navigate their lives with the help of God and the Church. In fact, the Church has always been like a second home to Rachel; and, she is also looking forward to a brand new life when she marries her fiancé, Patrick. She and Patrick have been engaged for about six months. Their wedding, in Patrick’s mind, shouldn’t occur for another year so that they can get to know each other completely. But Rachel is beside herself – she wants nothing more than to speed it up so she can get on with being his wife. Soon, they come to the agreement that New Year’s Eve will be the big day and to plan for it. She rushes home to her roommate Trisha to let her know and then rushes to her parents’ house to tell them the good news.
Unfortunately, her father, who was diagnosed with bipolar a while ago which her mother kept from Rachel – has left. She finds her mom sitting at the kitchen table not understanding whatever happened to the term "in sickness and in health." Rachel’s not only upset with her father for leaving, but she’s equally upset with her mother for not wanting to fight to keep their life together. The prayers are coming fast and furious for her parents when Rachel is suddenly told by one of her best friends and mentors about a personal abuse struggle, and then she finds out the most hurtful thing in the world that literally tears her heart from her chest; and, her "perfect life" is shown to be a house of cards that falls apart beneath Rachel’s feet.
Teaming up with one of her best friends, Daphne – they rush to Las Vegas on a trip that Daphne earned from her company, so that she can help ease Rachel’s pain, have a little "fun," and regroup. Rachel soon ends up moving to Chicago to live with Daphne. She wants nothing more than to leave the harmful feelings behind her and start over again. Soon, she finds another coffee shop to work in, more friends to help her through the tough times, and even a new man who wants to help her find God again.
Every part of this story is truly filled with heart and soul. What I remembered the most throughout Rachel’s trials and tribulations was my favorite poem – Footprints in the Sand. I believe that many people forget that at the worst times in our lives, He carries us, and belief is most needed when things are at their absolute worst. Yes, it’s nice to thank Him for all the gifts in life such as family and health, but we also need to understand that when it comes to our wishes and prayers, like any good Father, sometimes the answer has to be no. This is a wonderful story that will make anyone’s heart feel good without being "preached" to. I recommend this highly! Enjoy!
Until next time,
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