This is my review for the novel Waiting for Butterflies. If you would like to read an interview with Karen Sargent, and some behind the scenes facts about the book, go to this post.
~ About the Book ~
Longing for her family after her sudden death, Maggie becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing.
Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. — A tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond possible, Waiting for Butterflies will embrace your heart and not let go.
~ Excerpt ~
Sam sat on the top step and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees. Sorrow tightened around his throat.
“Mags.” Her name sounded comfortable in the air around him. “I miss you so much.” He lowered his head as he allowed his emotions to surface. He pushed past the grief of missing her, the anger of losing her in such a senseless way, and focused instead on the love he shared with his wife. “I don’t know what to do without you. I need to know what you want me to do.”
Sam studied the sign in the yard. “What about Blake Real Estate? How would you feel if I turned it over to Laura? And what do I do about the girls? I’m trying, but I’m not doing a very good job helping them through this. Olivia copes by escaping reality, and Rachel escapes by keeping herself distant.” He lowered his head. “I don’t know how I’m going to get myself through this.”
Sam tried to imagine a time beyond this tragedy, a morning when he would wake up to sunshine streaming through the window, and his first action would be to breathe in the morning air rather than to roll over to feel the empty place beside him. He wondered how it would be if the first thought on his mind were, What am I going to do today? Not, How am I going to get through the day? He doubted the possibility of a new normal.
“And what about my job?” Sam shook his head as he prepared for his confession. “I did something really stupid, Mags. Really stupid.” His fists were clenched, and a vein bulged at his temple. He fought his imagination as he visualized scenarios of everything that could have gone wrong because he left the girls alone. “I feel like I’m two separate people—a father, and a detective—and without you, the two don’t mix,” Sam confessed. “But what choice do I have?”
He twisted the wedding ring on his finger. “I need you to tell me what to do.”
~ Review ~
Make sure you have a tissue box handy when you pick this book up—you’ll find yourself reaching for it on more than one occasion as you progress through the story. Karen Sargent has written a heartbreaking, but ultimately healing journey for her characters as they come to terms with the death of Maggie, beloved wife and mother. It’s one I couldn’t help but be drawn into, and I found myself willing these characters to find their way and to reach out to one another—and God—in the process.
Before her death, Maggie kept a journal that had the following inscription on the front: If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. For her, the butterfly became a visual reminder for those times when she began to fear the unknown, that good things—even beauty—can come from change. But for her husband, Sam, faith like Maggie’s is incomprehensible in the face of her death. He has no idea how to balance his dual roles as a senior detective and a father now that Maggie is no longer here, and his grief is deep, both for his loss and his past and present failings.
For their eldest daughter Rachel, a sense of guilt over her mother’s death causes her to make unwise choices, such as isolating herself from her best friend and those who love her. Her story becomes quite suspenseful toward the end, and leads to one of the most poignant moments in the novel: the moment Maggie understands the good that has been wrought through the last few months of agony her family has endured without her.
When I first read the description for this book, the fact that it described Maggie as a ‘lingering spirit’ gave me some pause. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this aspect of the book. However, as the author herself has stated, this is not a ‘ghost’ story, nor is it meant to suggest that people’s spirits can linger in the way that Maggie’s does. In many ways, Maggie’s presence in the novel is a metaphor for the way in which a mother’s love and influence continues to linger even when her physical body is no longer here. But fiction also gives us the ability to explore ‘what if’, and this novel does that in a respectful way—one that beautifully illustrates that good can come from even the most devastating changes.
This is a poignant debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review.
Release date: 4 April 2017
Publisher: Walrus Publishing
~ About the Author ~
KAREN SARGENT creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. A romantic element is woven within each story. In addition to writing inspirational novels, she blogs at The MOM Journey, where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Her writing has been featured on ForEveryMom.com, ModernSimplicity.org, and is forthcoming in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine (March 2017). When she is not writing, she teaches high school and college English. She is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and resides in the beautiful Arcadia Valley with her husband and two daughters.
~ Giveaways ~
There are TWO giveaways associated with this book release. The first is through Singing Librarian, for one of three print copies of the book. You can enter this giveaway by clicking on the graphic to the left.
The second giveaway is through Karen’s website, and includes not only a physical copy of the book, but a beautiful collection of butterfly-themed items as well. You can enter this giveaway by clicking on the graphic below.
~ Tour Schedule ~
March 30–Paulette’s Papers | Faithfully Bookish
March 31–Zerina Blossom’s Books
April 3–Book by Book | Soulfully Romantic
April 4–Mel’s Shelves
April 5–Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
April 6–Smiling Book Reviews
April 7–Singing Librarian Books
April 10–cherylbbookblog | Fiction Aficionado
April 11–Puddletown Reviews
April 12–Reading Is My SuperPower