It’s no surprise to anyone that the year 2020 has been, well, unusual. If you’ve been following me for awhile, or know me in real life, you know that I feel everything, and I feel it deeply. So let’s just say that 2020 has been an exhausting year. A couple weeks ago, I was feeling overwhelmed by everything when my amazing friend and roommate, Megan, pointed out that I hadn’t really taken a vacation this year. The only time I had really taken off was to get dental work done (and let’s just say that’s not a vacation), and that I needed a break. So I took a few days off for a “staycation” and planned absolutely nothing. I knew I needed rest, so I would listen to my body, and trust the Lord’s prompting on anything else. Around the same time I was planning this, I got word from one of my favorite authors, Melissa Tagg, that she was releasing her latest novel, Some Bright Someday, and needed reviewers. So I signed up and got the book about a week before my vacation but decided to wait to read it until I could just sit and read. If I’m honest, I’ve had a hard time reading lately because I feel guilty that I’m reading someone else’s book when I should be working on editing my own. But this felt right. I spent the first couple days of my vacation mostly just sleeping and watching Netflix, and honestly it felt amazing. So Friday evening I started the book, and read most of it on Saturday and Sunday. It was the first time in a long time that I allowed myself to just sit and read. And it was glorious. So here’s the review. It will pretty general so as not to reveal any spoilers. I’ll post the back cover description first.
He’s torn between love and honor.
Lucas Danby has always regretted the decisions that caused his dishonorable discharge from the military—and he’s never stopped trying to redeem his honor. He's spent the past decade taking on dangerous short-term missions as an elite private soldier—the only part of his life that's ever gone right. But the high-risk work never cures his shame. Now he’s stuck stateside, mentoring a new recruit. Worse, he's sick of lying to the people he cares about most—including the woman he’s secretly loved for years.
She can’t escape her house of memories.
Jenessa Belville should be happy. She's the hometown girl everyone loves, after all. But she’s also the last Belville left—and if she had her way, she'd leave the name and all its painful memories behind. Which is exactly what she hopes to do once she sells Belville Park, the massive estate she inherited from her parents. First, though, she needs to restore the property’s once-glorious gardens. But on the same day she puts up the “For Sale” sign, she discovers three children hiding in the caretaker's cottage, thrusting her into the unexpected role of temporary guardian.
Fighting for their future means healing from the past.
Struggling to mentor a young man with scars nearly as piercing as his own, Lucas offers to help Jenessa restore the Belville grounds. Though drawn together by a trio of kids who tug on their hearts and the sparks they can’t deny, past secrets and current sorrows threaten to pull them apart. Only the brightest love and hardest sacrifice can turn the house Jenessa never wanted into the home she and Lucas have always longed for.
Some Bright Someday takes place in the fictional town of Maple Valley, Iowa. Those familiar with Melissa Tagg will recognize the town from several of her other books and let me tell you, I wish this place was real. From it’s random festivals, to his coffee shop literally just named Coffee Coffee, Maple Valley has a charm about it that makes you wish you escape there for real. Also featured from previous books are several people from the town, including a few of the Walkers, and a group of friends turned family that we first met in previous book Now and Then and Always. Most you know how much I love books that feature strong friendships, and this book definitely fit that bill. It also demonstrated how hard friendship as adults can be. That even with people you trust, sometimes it’s still hard to open up to them. We see this in both Jenessa and Lucas. As much as their friends mean to them, they have to get past their own hesitations to truly let people in. Through many twists and turns, Lucas and Jenessa have to learn to trust not only each other, but the other people in their lives.
I think what I most appreciated and enjoyed about this book was how relatable it felt. Without revealing too much, both Jenessa and Lucas are broken people. People who aren’t always sure what to do with their faith, people who struggle with the emotions that come not only from past baggage, but just from everyday life. People who have doubts and fears but try to trust God anyway. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “I happen to think a weathered faith is a good faith. It means you’ve been through a storm and back. Or maybe you’re still in it-still fighting. Maybe your belief is battered and weak. But that just means you’re in a prime place for a rescue. For a miracle.” I’ve talked before about how God often reveals things to me through fiction. Through not only the fiction I write, but also the fiction I read. And this is what God showed me through this story. That even when I have big feelings, even when the world feels like too much, I can trust Him. That even if that trust feels flimsy and my faith feels battered, He’s still there to rescue me. That sometimes the “little things” can still be overwhelming, but they aren’t too much for Him. I’m not too much for Him.
If I’m honest, 2020 has been hard in a lot of ways. I’ve had it easier than some; I still have a job, I don’t live alone so social distancing hasn’t been as difficult. I’m a natural homebody so not being able to go places hasn’t been a huge deal. But it’s still been emotionally draining. And thus working on my book, on the one big goal I had for 2020 has felt overwhelming. When I sit down to work on it, I feel overwhelmed and unable to focus on it, especially with everything else going on in the world. But this staycation, this period of rest, this amazing book I got the chance to read, all of those things have shown me that it’s okay. It’s okay if my book doesn’t come out until 2021. It’s okay if I take longer than most people would. It’s okay if I feel likes deeper and harder than most other people. It’s reminded me that God’s timing is perfect. I think that one of the reasons that Melissa Tagg’s book always resonate with me is because she allows God to dictate what she writes. She allows Him to use her words to touch people. And that’s what I desire. So I can’t let myself get too discouraged when it doesn’t go how I think it should, or how I imagine someone else would get it done. I have to listen to His promptings. And you know what? It’s made me feel creative again. It’s given me new insight on Worthy of Redemption. In fact I think when I’m done with this review, I’m going to work on some more editing.
So, this review may have turned a little bit more into personal reflections, but, hey isn’t that what great art does? It causes us to think, to reflect. And Some Bright Someday did exactly that. If you’re looking for a fun read, but also one that feels real and honest, pre-order this TODAY! It’s only $2.99 for the e-book (which is a STEAL). I’ll link the pre-order Amazon link below.
Christ-Follower. Writer. Caffeine-addict.