Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Beauty From Ashes by Alana Terry

November 20, 2017 Alana Terry, Christian, contemporary, giveaway 17

about the book

A baby was never part of Tiff’s plans. Especially not a sick baby in a NICU, struggling for life on a ventilator.

As days in the hospital turn to weeks, Tiff grows more and more convinced that God is punishing her for turning her back on him so many years ago. Or is it possible he’s working in the midst of her daughter’s bleak prognosis to draw Tiff back to himself once more?

The Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction books are standalone literary novels about real-life believers facing real-life struggles. You won’t meet perfect saints whose lives are faultless models of the Christian faith. Instead, you’ll meet a perfect God whose plans of redemption are far more glorious than what the mortal mind could ever imagine.

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SERIES: Orchard Grove #1
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Firstfruits Publishing
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2017
PAGES: 327

Other Books In This Series

“…whatever you’ve done, you can’t pluck yourself out of God’s hand.”

Beauty From Ashes is an incredibly moving story about a young woman in a heartbreaking situation. It reads like a conversation between the main character Tiff and the reader, as she tells us about the events leading up to and including the past few months of her life. In her frank yet endearing manner, Tiff reflects on her years in foster care, her relationship with God, and how she wound up married with a baby in the NICU.

I loved how honest Tiff is about God, and we see this particularly during the church service. There’s no guile to her as she struggles to pay attention, struggles to make sense of the service, and then as something touches her deeply. Side note: If you haven’t spent time with people who aren’t familiar with church and God, you are really missing out on seeing your faith and your worship practices in fresh ways ♥

One thing I love about Terry’s writing is that she always surprises me. Just when I think a scene or a character is about to slide into cliche territory, she turns it on its end and takes it somewhere I wasn’t expecting. This happened more than once in Beauty from Ashes, not the least of which involved Tiff’s incredibly difficult mother-in-law. I also loved the diversity of the characters – their ethnic backgrounds as well as their backstories.

I will say that, after the difficult season my family has been through the past few months, Beauty from Ashes felt almost too heavy to keep reading at certain points. Life just continues not to turn around for Tiff and instead of seeing ‘beauty’ I saw mostly ‘ashes’. In fact, I remember looking at the ‘time left in book’ on my kindle copy and thinking, “I’m not sure how the author is going to pull this one off with the 18 minutes left of my reading speed.” And, of course, as usual Alana Terry surprised me yet again. So I want to encourage you – if the ‘ashes’ overwhelm you in this story, keep reading for the ‘beauty’.

For that matter, isn’t that how life lived in God’s embrace works too? When the ‘ashes’ overwhelm you, keep watching for the ‘beauty’. It’s part of what He does best – bringing beauty from ashes. If you’re in a season like I’m in, can I just encourage us all to hold on for the ‘beauty’. It’s on its way. ♥

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Very moving story

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about the author

Alana is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. Her novels have won awards from Women of Faith, Book Club Network, Grace Awards, Readers’ Favorite, and more. Alana’s passion for social justice, human rights, and religious freedom shines through her writing, and her books are known for raising tough questions without preaching. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.

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“You better come in,” I told my husband. “The doctors don’t think he’s going to make it.”

Not the kind of conversation you want to have with anyone at one o’clock in the morning. I was spending the night at the hospital with our nine-month-old baby Silas and hadn’t left the hospital complex in days. Scott was home with our toddler trying to get some sleep.

And our son Silas was dying.

Raising a medically-fragile baby changed me like nothing else ever has. Thankfully, Silas pulled through that horrific evening, but that didn’t mean life was sugar and cream from then on.

As anyone with experience knows, it’s hard work being a special-needs mom.

And it can devastate a marriage.

Thankfully, God brought my husband and me through those nearly impossible first few years while Silas was in and out of the hospital with no guarantee of his survival.

And he continued to sustain us through even more years of therapy, hospital visits, and medical tests.

And now we have a happy marriage, a healthy boy, and hearts full of gratitude for all God’s done for us.

But I never want to forget where we were.

The depths God delivered us out of.

The despair that would have overwhelmed us if God hadn’t been our strength and our support.

Writing Beauty from Ashes was one way to remind myself of those difficulties God brought us through. It’s not strictly autobiographical, but the baby in this novel went through a very similar traumatic birth experience as Silas did, and all the health issues — including that night in the hospital when I truly thought we were going to lose our baby — are based on the trials we went through when Silas was young.

I wrote Beauty from Ashes because we all need to be reminded every now and then that even though life can be impossibly hard, even though there’s no guarantee our children will grow up and love Christ and make good choices with their lives or even survive until adulthood at all, God is good, and he will sustain us through all the trials we have to endure.

I think that’s why Beauty from Ashes resonates so much with Christian readers hungry for more than a simple story with a happily-ever-after ending, like these readers:

“…by far some of the best Christian fiction I’ve read.” Amy L, author

” … a story that is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming.” ~ Jaime Hampton, award-winning author of Malnourished

“I didn’t think it was possible that the author could write any better than she already does … This is a book I will never forget … She writes with realism and doesn’t pull any punches … Every time I read a book from this author, my faith grows.” Deana at Texas Bookaholic

I hope you’ll take a chance to grab your own copy of Beauty from Ashes today, and don’t forget to watch the video and enter to win the $100 gift card to christianbooks.com.

Because Christian fiction should encourage, edify, and inspire.

And because God is big enough to carry all our burdens.

To celebrate her tour, Alana is giving away a grand prize of a $100 CBD gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Click here to view this promotion.
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!

Carrie

17 Responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Beauty From Ashes by Alana Terry”

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thanks for the review. I also enjoyed reading more about the author and the video.

  2. Vivian Furbay

    I was moved by your testimony about your son. Things like this can either draw you closer to God or further away. It’s awesome that God brought you and your husband closer together and strengthened your marriage. God bless you both! Would enjoy reading and winning this book.

  3. Evangeline

    Thanks for the interview. Alana is a new author to me, and my heart aches for all that she, her husband, and her son endured. But I am grateful she has chosen to use this experience to encourage others who may be going through a similar thing. Beauty from Ashes sounds like a wonderful book, and I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance to do so. Blessings! ❤️

  4. Janet Estridge

    I am so looking forward to reading Alana’s books. Our church library readers will be also. If I win, our library patrons will benefit from the books I will get for the library.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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