~ About the Book ~
“I’m saying that I’m not going to trash someone else’s reputation in a futile attempt to restore mine. Everyone would believe her. Why shouldn’t they? It’s probably the only lie she’s ever told in her life. Just happens to be the lie that ruined mine.”
Words have power. Add a solid reputation behind those words, and they have the power to destroy.
It began with a lie.
Mac’s life changed irrevocably with a false accusation. Blissfully unaware of the carnage she left behind when she moved from Brant’s Corners, Savannah Forrester is back and when Mac sees her at church–with a boy–he wants answers.
For eight years he’s lived under the cloud of her accusations–without defending himself. He kept her secret. He endured the shame and the life-altering consequences.
Savannah can set the record straight. Mac says no. The ultimate question remains: what is best for Rory.
And who is Rory really?
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Release date: 3 March 2013
~ Excerpt ~
The guilt, shame, and remorse he expected showed up a few hours later. Seated beside him, a quarter mile off the highway on a little used dirt road, Savvy wept. “I’m supposed to feel guilty—repentant. I’m not. I’m not sorry at all. What kind of cheap girl does that make me?”
Tucked into the corner of the truck, Mac held her close, stroking her hair and trying desperately not to revel in hearing words he wanted to hear. He tried a dozen times to say something—anything—that would make her feel better, but the words refused to come. Then something in her shifted. He felt her pulling away and couldn’t stand it. “Savvy, I don’t know why it’s so bad for Christians. I don’t know and I probably should, but I don’t really care.”
“No, listen. Right now, you’re all torn up because of something that you keep saying you don’t regret. Either you do and just can’t admit it to yourself…” His thumb brushed across her lips, trying to stop her from speaking, “—shh. It would be understandable. It’s not an insult to you or to me if you do. I would understand, and if you were talking to anyone at your church, you’d understand.”
“Yeah… but that’s not it, Mac. It’s really not.”
“Okay, then. So you’re not ashamed. Maybe that’s because what God designed turned out to be as good as He made it to be. Why should you be ashamed of that?”
“Because God said no.” As he started to speak, Savvy shook her head. “No, Mac. He did. He said in what, Corinthians? Timothy? One of those. He said that the promiscuous wouldn’t inherit the kingdom of God.
“Man, Savvy! You’re not exactly promiscuous! One time with one guy—it’s not like you’re sleeping around with half the town!” Mac forced himself to lower his voice. “I hate seeing you hurt like this. I knew we should have left.”
She fumbled with words for a few seconds before she asked, “If I said I didn’t want to—go there again, would you ask me out again?”
Savvy’s eyes sough his, staring long and deep until she saw whatever she needed to see. “You mean that.”
“Yep.” Yeah, you’re a walking dictionary, Mac. Why don’t you add an uh huh next time?
“What if—” Her eyes dropped to her hands. “What if I did?”
“Want to…” she whispered.
The lump in his throat swelled a bit more and then dropped to his stomach.
~ Review ~
I think I officially have a new favourite Chautona Havig book—and perhaps a new favourite Chautona Havig hero, because you couldn’t prize Mac out of my heart now with a crowbar. He’s the poster boy for turning the other cheek—before he was a Christian, no less. Would most guys act with the same restraint he did? Probably not. And yet I had no trouble believing that Mac would. Everything I knew about his character and circumstances suggested he would have behaved exactly as he did in this book, and knowing that most people in his circumstances wouldn’t have only made this story more powerful. I think I’m a wee bit smitten…
I applaud Chautona for taking the road less travelled with this topic and for handling it the way she has. While it’s fairly easy to guess the major plot points of the story, the way it unfolded—particularly the characters’ feelings and struggles—often turned my expectations and assumptions on their head. It kept me thoroughly engaged.
I have to say, I identified with Savannah much more than I would have liked. I’ve been the goody-two-shoes, the model child with the reputation to uphold. I might not have made the same mistake as Savannah—praise God!—but the pressure (particularly from ourselves) to maintain that reputation is enormous, particularly when we’ve stumbled. It’s pride, pure and simple; but in the heat of the moment, it can push you to do or say things you wouldn’t have believed yourself capable of.
But I digress. I loved these characters—yes, even ‘Savvy’. And I identified with these characters so strongly—with their emotions and their struggles. And Rory! I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a precocious child captured so well on the page. He is utterly delightful and good for quite a few laughs besides. But most of all, I loved Mac’s journey—coming to know Christ, dealing with unjust persecution in the years of Savannah’s absence, and then adjusting when Savannah moves back to Brant’s Corners: the gradual rebuilding of their relationship, the amends made, the forgiveness given and received, the way Mac loves Savannah and Rory even when it’s buried beneath the hurt. It’s a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for us in so many ways, and an equally beautiful story in its own right. Brava, Ms Havig!
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 ~
Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie and Past Forward Series, Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert. With dozens of books to her name, Chautona spends most of her time writing, but when she takes the rare break, she can be found reading, sewing, paper crafting, or sleeping and dreaming of finishing the dozens of books swirling in her overly-active imagination at any given moment.