As those of us who have been Christians for any amount of time know, becoming a Christ-follower doesn't magically erase the bad stuff. We still have to deal with the consequences of our actions, and we still have a tendency to sin. One trend I'm seeing more and more in Christian fiction is the willingness of authors to portray that "ugly truth." Krista Noorman is one such author—she doesn't shy away from sin and its consequences in Until Then.
Growing up with a distant mother and absentee father, Michelle's childhood has been far from idyllic. Her only attention comes from her partying friends and the guys who are more than happy to give her the affection she longs for. But when one party goes wrong, Michelle's family hatches a plan to get her out of Chicago and away from her so-called friends.
College plans are low on Michelle's priority list, especially with no money to pay for it, until her grandparents offer to foot the bill for her entire tuition. There's just one catch. Michelle must choose between three schools - all hours away from Chicago and all Christian colleges.
Michelle's reluctant choice leads her to an unfamiliar place, where she's faced with new relationships and unexpected decisions that could change her life and her heart forever.
Last year, I read Krista Noorman's Goodbye, Magnolia, which tells the story of Maggie and Simon, two photographers who met in college and slowly found their way to each other. Until Then focuses on Maggie's college roommate Michelle.
The novel begins when Michelle is still in high school and follows her for more than a decade as she goes through college, begins a career, and searches for her place in the world. Michelle came from a rough background, and she didn't become a Christian until she was attending a Christian college. (Side note: One of the three colleges Michelle had to choose from was Grace, the college I attended. While I knew from reading Goodbye, Magnolia that she wouldn't choose Grace, I still wish she had!) After Michelle's conversion, she still made some major (MAJOR) mistakes, mistakes that would continue to impact her life and the lives of others for years.
I'm so glad that Noorman decided to portray Michelle in this way. Until Then could be described as "edgy Christian fiction" because Noorman frankly deals with sexual sin. However, nothing is explicit, and Noorman clearly shows how Christ's sacrifice covers every sin. Michelle's story is one of redemption, and it's very powerful.
While I did enjoy the novel, and I'm so glad that Noorman wrote it, I do wish that the plot hadn't taken quite so long to get from point A to point B. Specifically, I felt like the part where Michelle was in college dragged out too long, and it easily could have been condensed. I struggled to truly engage with the novel until it was more than halfway over—once Michelle's college friend/boyfriend Sean came back into the picture, I couldn't flip the pages quickly enough. That portion of the novel also featured the best character development, as Sean and his kids were all well drawn out, entertaining characters.
There's something about Noorman's writing that draws me in and won't let go until I've finished the novel. It happened with Goodbye, Magnolia, and it happened again with Until Then. While it took a while for me to become immersed in Until Then's world, once I was engaged, I couldn't stop reading. That's the power of a good storyteller! 4 stars.
Note: While this is the second book in Noorman's Cornerstone series, it can easily be read without having first read Goodbye, Magnolia.
Buy the novel.
Read my review of Goodbye, Magnolia (4 stars).
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Krista Noorman is the author of the young adult novel The Truth About Drew and the contemporary romance Goodbye, Magnolia. Most of her life has been spent scribbling away in journals, honing her writing skills, while documenting her every day life. But it wasn’t until she took part in National Novel Writing Month in 2008, that she found her true calling and turned her pen (or rather her computer keyboard) to fiction.
Krista studied music education at Cornerstone University. After college, she turned to her love of photography and spent nearly a decade running her own wedding photography business. She is constantly inspired by books and movies, enjoys beautiful instagram feeds, and loves a great cup of coffee. Krista makes her home in a small town in western Michigan with her husband, Jacob, and their two children.
She writes about life, family, faith and whatever else comes to mind at bykrista.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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