It’s a truth universally unacknowledged that sin will hunt you down and advertise its presence the moment you try to hide it.
Emily Byrne sits in her daughter’s classroom listening to the deepest wishes of twenty kindergarteners as she sketches them. But when little Joey Cordell breaks down, weeping and insisting the only thing he wants to find is his father, she isn’t sure where her Christmas project will take her.
Davia Cordell came to Rockland for one purpose–find her son’s father before she dies. An ex-prostitute, she’s well aware that the news will cause waves, but what’s a mother to do?
As these women join forces to search for Joey’s father–a Rockland area pastor, no less– Emily learns compassion for a woman who just wants the best for her son and can’t quite imagine that Jesus wants anything to do with her.
Each day, Davia weakens until Emily isn’t confident she’ll find the boy’s father in time–if at all. Doubts form. Should she look? Is it right to risk destroying a family like this–an entire church? The weight of that responsibility crushes her as Davia wastes away before her eyes.
A mother’s love. A boy’s confidence. A family’s faith. A preacher’s failure. Is redemption even possible anymore?
Christmas Embers: a story of love, failure, and redemption.
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: Wynneword House
RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2016
Other Books in the Same Universe
“How can I love someone so much – love and hate him at the same time?”
Y’all. This book undid me.
At one point, I was tempted to throw it across the room. But considering I was reading it on my Kindle, I refrained. Just barely.
It sucker punched me, y’all.
Christmas Embers is raw and emotional … and beautifully done.
This is not an easy read, and it may not be a normal ‘feel-good’ Christmas read, but it’s so vitally important. It rips open your heart, stomps on it a few times, and then puts it back a little bruised but covered in grace.
Seriously, you’ve got to read it. lol.
Havig doesn’t slap a Sunday School solution on the problem of adultery. The story acknowledges that there are no easy answers, that no one walks away unscathed from marital infidelity. But it also reminds us that Jesus heals – if we let Him. Even that truth, however, isn’t buried in a trite ‘everything is tied up with a nice red bow’ ending. Jesus’ mercy and grace and forgiveness doesn’t negate the pain. It doesn’t make everything ok. It doesn’t mean that healing comes from immediate reconciliation.
In fact, on these pages we meet a wide range of voices clamoring for attention in the aftermath of an affair. The heartbroken, repentant spouse. The spouse left to pick up the pieces and figure out where to go from here. The bitter friend who’s been through it. The unsettled children. Both sides of the family, each with different opinions on how to ‘fix’ it. The mentors/counselors who grieve with the couple and try to be the mediators. People in the church who judge both spouses. People in the church who gossip. People in the church who divorce-shame. People in the church who give you their divorce lawyer’s card. It’s a veritable cacophony of emotion and advice – most well-meaning, some of it wise.
But what Havig does here is take all these voices and boil them down to one key Voice: how does Jesus feel about it? No legalism or pat answers here either. This is humbling, vulnerable, rubber-meets-the-road kind of faith. And it’s wrapped up in characters that you can’t help but embrace (when you’re not wanting to throw them across the room of course)
Bottom Line: Christmas Embers by Chautona Havig was not at all what I expected. It’s better. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a riveting one. You cannot invest in this story and remain unchanged. It’s a story of heartbreak, of sin, of betrayal… a story of redemption, of restoration, of GRACE. Read this book with a box of tissues and protective padding for your Kindle. But do read it. You won’t be sorry. ♥
(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 / Powerful story!
Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.
Infidelity to the Tune of Adeste Fideles
“I think my husband is having an affair.”
An explanation followed. Look, I tend to be one who assumes the best of others—to a fault even. I read the “evidence” and frankly could see it going either way. It’s hard to tell across thousands of miles. While others on the message board saw red flag after red flag—and frankly, I did, too—I also saw perfectly innocent explanations for things. It’s a curse sometimes—that ability to see both sides of an issue. I cautioned against assumptions no one would want other people to make of themselves. And I prayed she was wrong.
It wasn’t the first time I’d come face to face with infidelity. As a child, there was an extended family member. As a newlywed, one of my wedding party—then another. Then another. The excuses, the justifications. Friends and I went to confront a sister in Christ on her affair with her husband’s best friend. We foolishly asked “what happened?” regarding her marriage. Her words: “We drifted apart.”
I wanted to scream the words that battered my brain and heart. “Then row back together!”
But over the years, it just grew worse. One by one, wives and husbands tossed aside vows made to a brother or sister in Christ—vows made before the Lord—in favor of what sometimes were serial affairs. Abuse. Horror.
I’ve prayed women I love through court cases, medical visits, and disclosures from children no mother should ever have to hear. I’ve prayed for men I didn’t even like because of the pain their wives inflicted each time she left them alone with the kids. He knew. He always knew.
Adultery is real. It’s ugly. And there’s absolutely a cure for it. Jesus. 100% surrender to Jesus. But as long as we rely on those little loops on the back of our boots instead of the saving, healing, strengthening power of Jesus, we’re just as vulnerable as the next person.
And that’s why I wrote Christmas Embers. I took every heartbreaking story I’d observed over the years and put in each character for a reason. Every scene, every plot point, every twist—I put them exactly how and where they are for a reason.
They’re there as a warning.
This isn’t your lighthearted Christmas novel. Some have suggested I shouldn’t have set it at Christmastime. But you know what? Over half the disclosures I’ve ever heard of happened between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I couldn’t get the idea of Joey’s story out of my head. And to write his story, it had to be at Christmas.
Let me say it again. While Christmas may not seem like the optimal time for a hard-hitting book like this, I had to do it. Adultery is reaching epidemic proportions in the church. There’s a solution. His name is Jesus.
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