Genres: Christian Fiction, Contemporary
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Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.
When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.
What’s a gal to do?
In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.
Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.
Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Author/Author and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.
Guest post from Chautona Havig
“Who are you, again?”
“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”
For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.
It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.
Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”
Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.
Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.
And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.
That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.
I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”
You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.
But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.
Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.
How do I start this review off? I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure what to think of this book when I received it. I mean, it’s not one I would have normally picked up off a book shelf to read on my own. That said, when I opened this book, I was instantly hooked on the writing style of Ms. Havig. Her characters, especially Dani/Ella. Oh my goodness, was I ever wrapped up in this book! So much so, that I read it in one sitting!
This book caught me off guard a little,though. Almost 7 years ago, my grandfather gave up the struggle after a 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s. I often wondered what he really was thinking inside, not remembering your own family around you. It definitely can’t be easy that’s for sure.
Reading Dani’s story made me wonder if this is what my grandfather went through on occasion. I absolutely can’t imagine the pain and uneasiness of waking up one day and not knowing what happened, where you’re at or even not recognizing your own body. It’s just not something I would want to fathom. But, reading Dani/Ella’s story really opened my eyes to what can happen. If you have faith, hope, and the love of a wonderful family, you can over come any obstacle and when you find yourself again, it’s a blessing and something not to take for granted!
I definitely loved this book more than I could have thought. It’s filled with wonderfully chiseled character, a plot line that will pull you in, wrap you up and take you on a ride where you find yourself cheering Dani/Ella on as she blossoms into who the Lord meant for her to be. This book is a 4 star worthy novel and the ending will you leave you wanting more. A book filled with wonderful characters and God’s unending mercy and love, this is one you don’t want to miss! Can’t wait to read what’s next in volume 2!
About the Author
Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husbnd and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.
June 15: Blogging With Carol
June 15: Genesis 5020
June 15: Lane Hill House
June 16: Red Headed Book Lady
June 16: The Scribbler
June 16: Moments Dipped in Ink
June 17: Back Porch Reads
June 17: The Power of Words
June 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
June 18: Carpe Diem
June 18: A Baker’s Perspective
June 19: Christian Bookaholic
June 19: Quiet Quilter
June 20: The Fizzy Pop Collection
June 20: Mommynificent
June 21: Seasons of Opportunities
June 21: Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching
June 22: Pursuing Stacie
June 22: Remembrancy
June 23: Pause for Tales
June 23: Avid Reader Book Reviews
June 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses
June 24: Bigreadersite
June 24: CAFINATED READS
June 25: Lots of Helpers
June 25: Ashley’s Bookshelf
June 26: Blossoms and Blessings
June 26: A Reader’s Brain
June 27: God1meover
June 27: His Grace is Sufficient
June 28: Just Jo’Anne
June 28: Henry Happens
June 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner
To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:
1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!