The Road to Mercy is a story about Life. Living it, Loving it, Misunderstanding it, Enduring it, Bearing it, Healing from its more broken days.
A pregnant woman has been given a disturbing prognosis: Abort this unexpected baby or risk her own newly-fragile health.
She chooses Life, for the baby and for herself, and she's willing to make the sacrifices needed to give them both the best chance possible.
Her husband agrees with his brave wife, and together Josh and Bethany prepare for eight months of challenges.
Bethany will be heavily medicated, on high does of drugs that could be habit forming and may affect the child.
Her style will certainly be cramped, as anything that stresses her could harm her barely stable condition.
Mostly, she needs Josh to understand why she seems to be a different person. Between the mood-swings and the meds, she feels like a stranger to herself!
But Josh seems to be barely coping. He's a rising star in the CCM world, touring and singing his heart out, and he's hardly ever home in Nashville.
The last thing he's doing is supporting Bethany.
Frankly, as I read, I was grinding my teeth almost every time Josh appeared in the story. And that's a good thing. Here's why: Because it was real.
Josh and Bethany were not perfect super-people. He, especially, was not. He worried about providing because he wanted to give her the best, and when he was caught up in the worry he got mad over things that weren't worth it. He made his wife cry. And he was concerned that the heavy medication was going to leave her addicted, which left her feeling pressured. He wanted to be a great husband and planned to be a great father, but he was human and he fell short. He sometimes focused more on himself and his image and career than he did on ministering to her.
Yet... he was growing. He was moving toward a destination, on a journey of faith. Like his wife, he was on The Road to Mercy.
Meanwhile, for Bethany, I rejoiced every time her angels came on the scene. Bethany's main angel was her friend Alex. I called her St. Alex throughout the story, because she was so patient and kind and forbearing. She was with Bethany through all the ups and downs. Alex defines "Friendship."
And I saw two things in this story. When a woman decides to be brave and to sacrifice herself and take the difficult road of Pro-life, she needs all the support she can get. Whether she's married or not, she needs people to step in and be her Alex.
No matter who we are, we are made in the image of God. And no matter what we believe, every human is inherently responsible to honor every other man and woman of any age or stage because they are also images of God.
We know that life is precious and beyond our understanding, and we know that human life is especially sacred.
As Christians, we who have been given eternal life in Jesus Christ, we are doubly responsible to uphold life and to protect life, no matter who's life is at stake.
The Road to Mercy affirms that in a fine piece of story telling.
Thank you Fred and Nora St. Laurent at The Book Club Network, Bookfun.org for my review copy!
Kathy Harris is an author by way of a "divine detour" into the Nashville entertainment business. After graduating with a Communications degree from Southern Illinois University, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to work with a well-known gospel music quartet. A few months later, The Oak Ridge Boys began their transition into country music, and Kathy had the opportunity to help build an entertainment empire from the ground up.
She worked her way to becoming a member of the Operations Management Team, eventually heading up the company's public relations and marketing department. A lifelong fascination for books and editing led to her working as a book agent for Oak Ridge Boys' vocalist Joe Bonsall. Joe, subsequently, published three books, including his bestselling inspirational biography, G.I. Joe & Lillie.
For several years, Kathy freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote, as well as ghost wrote, news stories and columns for various music publications. In 2007, she sold her first Christian non-fiction story, "Walk on Water," which was included in Thomas Nelson's All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa. That fall, one of her devotions was included in The One Year Life Verse Devotional, published by Tyndale House. Kathy's writing is also included in Chicken Soup for the Soul Thanks, Mom.
An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and former publicity officer for Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Kathy lives near Nashville with her husband and their Shiloh Shepherd dog. She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog, www.DivineDetour.com.
Abingdon Press released Kathy's Christian fiction debut, The Road to Mercy, in September 2012.