Koinonia
Published in

Koinonia

Book Review: A Heart to Cherish

A refreshing story that celebrates Christian relationships

Image from Author’s Amazon page

With all the steamy romance novels out there that focus on intimate relations, this story is a refreshing look at what a love story can look like when God is at the center.

I gave up on romance novels a long time ago. They seemed written according to a formula with sex leading the way. How many times can a woman regret sleeping with a man when what she really wanted was for him to love her? Even the clean ones seemed formulaic and predictable.

I explain this because when I was invited to read this book, I was a little skeptical.

The first chapter hooked me.

Young Julia is pregnant, sitting in a callous social worker’s office. Since she has no home, she goes to a coffee shop to sit and think, hoping no one will notice her. But someone does. And it freaks her out. Why would a handsome young man like Alex pay attention to her? Well, God told him to.

I had to find out how it came to be that a young man in his twenties followed God’s lead so obediently. When does that happen these days?

I read the book mostly in one sitting, and to my surprise, I cried at several scenes.

Alex’s family are people you may find familiar. A close Christian family invested in their community, with the means to help those in need. Julia, with her lifetime of hurts and abandonment, wants to give her baby the family she never had, but with no job and no home, her best bet is to give her baby up for adoption. From the beginning, there is the hint that Alex and Julia will end up together, but plenty happens that suggests maybe they won’t.

While Alex seems too good to be true by holding tightly to the Christian values that drive his decisions, he is far from perfect. In Corinthians, Paul explains what love is, but living out this type of love can be challenging.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4–6, NIV)

In a relationship guided by God, both parties agree to strive toward this definition of love. Alex knows God, but Julia doesn’t, so how will that work? The result is a poignant, unpredictable story that shows readers what Christian family values and Christian love look like without the preachiness.

Plus, the fictional community of Tranquil Shores is in Michigan, right across the pond from where I grew up. I remember the peace of sitting on the beach listening to the steady rhythm of the waves. This story is relatable from the setting to the characters and the struggles they face.

I loved this story so much, that I read it twice and sent copies to my battle sisters to pass around. Young women need more stories like this to counter the filth being marketed to them. A Heart to Cherish is an engaging story showing that God-centered relationships are real and they are beautiful.

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Trudi Griffin

Trudi Griffin

Shining light in the darkness with words. Devoted to Jesus. Wife of a warrior. Small business owner. tenshimadeshop.etsy.com & reviveshine.com