~ About the Book ~
After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations.
Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart?
Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction
Release date: 1 October 2017
~ Excerpt ~
Sunday night, Esther got into bed, visualised for ten minutes and praised God for victory before she drifted off to sleep on a cloud of confidence. No nightmares and the deepest sleep since her diagnosis.
She woke with a smile. What a difference peace of heart made. Now she could get on with her life again. She had a wedding to prepare for.
An enormous yawn and a stretch. A lance of pain seared into her armpit.
The stomach ache of fear was back in an instant, like it had never left. Prickles of sweat dampened her hairline. With her shaking right hand Esther checked for the lump. It was not only there but appeared to have grown. As if it was mocking her.
How could she still have cancer when so many sincere Christians had prayed? Had they missed something out and so negated all their prayers? Could she have committed some sin? Did God have some sort of ‘faith gauge’ and the needle had wavered and found her wanting?
Tears trickled into her pillow. How was she going to tell her father? Everyone was sure to ask and then look askance at her as if she was at fault. Didn’t she have enough to cope with?
Where was God? He wasn’t supposed to take holidays.
She’d always been told he was her loving Heavenly Father. Well she wasn’t feeling the love at the moment. She had friends who believed God was like someone jabbing pins into a butterfly they’d caught for their collection. Were they right? Or was God delaying to test the sincerity of her faith?
Well, she’d be sincere. This was one test she wasn’t going to fail.
~ Review ~
Finding out you have breast cancer a couple of months before your wedding is enough to throw anyone’s life into a tailspin. But what if your father is also the pastor of the second-biggest church in Sydney; a church that has built its popularity on the belief that a strong faith brings health, wealth, and prosperity? What if your fiancé is your father’s protégé; the man being groomed as his successor? And what if, despite their prayers, God doesn’t heal you?
These are the kinds of questions that Esther faces in Grace in Strange Disguise, and I love that this story doesn’t try to answer the question of why healing doesn’t occur, but simply tells the story of how Esther and those around her respond to this turn of events. In that sense, this is a story every one of us can relate to. How do we respond when we face trials and persecution? How do we respond when God says, “No”?
Despite the seriousness of the subject and the emotional ups and downs Esther faces, this is an uplifting and encouraging read. Not only does Esther’s faith eventually flourish, but she begins to see opportunities to share her faith with others she meets during the course of her treatments. And much of this is down to one character in particular—a character Esther never would have met if she hadn’t had cancer: Joy Wong. Joy has earned a spot in my list of favourite secondary characters for her ability to use story (particularly Biblical stories) to engage listeners and illuminate Truth; something the author herself is passionate about. (She has a non-fiction title called ‘Telling the Gospel Through Story’ that I’m very eager to check out).
As for Esther’s family and fiancé, I’ll let that story tell itself. I’ll simply conclude by saying this was a story I easily became absorbed in, and I can’t wait to read the next part of Esther’s journey.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Christine never intended to become an author. If she ever thought about writing it was to wonder if she might write a missionary biography. So it was a surprise to her to write poetry, non-fiction and now be working on a novel.
Christine has worked in Taiwan, with OMF International, since 1999. It’s best not to ask Christine, “Where are you from?” She’s a missionary kid who isn’t sure if she should say her passport country (Australia) or her Dad’s country (New Zealand) or where she’s spent most of her life (Asia – Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines).
Christine used to be a physiotherapist, but now writes ‘storyteller’ on airport forms. She has written a book on storytelling and spends her time either telling Bible stories or training others to do so.
In her spare time, Christine loves all things active – hiking, cycling, swimming, snorkelling. But she also likes reading and genealogical research, as that satisfies her desire to be an historical detective.