Thursday, September 11, 2014

"the desire" by dan walsh & gary smalley

Bringing to mind Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series, The Desire follows the Anderson family through the ups and downs of life.

For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby. The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts—and their relationship. Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments while Allan seems content to spend his time—and their money—on supporting displaced children in Africa. Something's got to give. But they both hope it's not their marriage.

Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they could never have imagined. And all it takes to set it in motion is a change of heart . . .

In The Desire, authors Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley pick up the story of the Anderson family, which began with The Dance and continued in The Promise. (Don't worry if you haven't read books one and two; this book works as a stand-alone novel. I hadn't read the other books in the series, and I didn't feel like I was missing much; there were just a few references that I didn't understand.) This book focuses on Anderson daughter Michele and her husband Allan and their struggle with competing desires—Michele's desperation for a biological child, and Allan's longing to help set up an orphanage in Africa.

The emotional parts of the book are done very well, and I had tears in my eyes multiple times. The story seems very realistic—like these events could really happen to a family you know. The infertility storyline feels very timely, as so many women struggle with it today.

I especially liked a subplot involving Christina, a pregnant teen who becomes close to the Andersons. I found her story to be the most touching of any in the book, and I look forward to reading more about her in the next book in this series.

The only thing I didn't really enjoy about the book was the way the spiritual lessons were incorporated. Don't get me wrong; the lessons about humility and the sufficiency of Christ are important ones. However, the way they're incorporated (through a Sunday School curriculum) felt out of place to me. When I read these sections, I felt like I was reading a Bible study book instead of a novel. It just became a little too preachy.

Overall, I enjoyed The Desire. It definitely feels similar to Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series (which she wrote with Gary Smalley), and that's a good thing. If these books would spawn a saga similar to the Baxters, well, I'd be a happy reader for years to come! 4 stars.

Buy the book.

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of many books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, The Discovery, and What Follows After. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury and The Dance and The Promise with Dan Walsh. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Missouri.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. 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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