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  • Writer's pictureSusan Aylworth

Time to Read!

It’s hard to avoid the down side of being homebound, but today, let’s look at the silver lining. We can easily find up sides, too.

For me, house arrest means extra time to write. (Just wait ’til you meet the Daughters of Destiny!)  It also means more time than ever to read, and, like most inveterate readers, I have a tall TBR pile awaiting my attention. I’ve recently read some very good books which I’d like to share with you.

Americans were horrified by the kidnapping of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in June of 2002 and astonished at her return nine months later. Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up does not detail that nine-month ordeal of brutal horror, although some parts of her experience are woven in. She covered the details in My Story. For this book, she has interviewed a number of other people who have also suffered trauma, some in a harrowing few minutes, others over much of a lifetime, to discover the common threads that help people not only survive, but thrive and put the horror behind them. Her book offers clues for healing and hope at any time, but seems especially insightful now. I recommend it highly.

Also highly powerful is Stay, a new book from Catherine Ryan Hyde. Most readers first came to know her when her book, Pay It Forward, was made into a movie. I’ve now read a number of her books and they almost all carry those same themes of reaching out and connecting with others. Stay deals with the ultimate existential question, the same one voiced by Hamlet: “To be or not to be.” I found it highly insightful, uplifting, and life-affirming.

As these stories suggest, I too am interested in survivors. I have them all around me. My hometown is only a few miles from Paradise, California, which burned to the ground in a dramatic conflagration in November, 2018. What was it like to be in Paradise six months later? That’s what Sunny Ray wants to know when she drives into the Sierra Nevada foothills. Her intention is to document survivor stories for her graduate studies. Almost everyone is cooperative except Deputy Sheriff Evan Ray.

As their work forces them together, they make a few powerful discoveries of their own. When can tragedy give way to healing, and maybe even, to love? Join Sunny and Evan to find out.

Sunny’s Summer, Book 2 in the Seasons of Destiny series, is on sale for only 99c this week. Pop over and have a look! Then read, find joy in the moment, and stay happy, sheltered, and safe.

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