Emily Wierenga's debut novel is one of those stories that feels real when you're reading it.
In beautiful prose, she weaves together the memories and present experiences of one woman, Clara.
And I felt like I was "listening in," or reading a private journal, as Clara told the story from her heart.
It is the year 2000, and Clara's family is joining her on a road trip to New Orleans. Everyone knows this trip means a lot to her, and the destination involves a special event, but there are disparate parts of the story that need to be drawn together to show the whole, before they arrive.
So Clara begins telling the tale of her life, in the backseat of the car where she rides with her teenage grandson.
And as the miles roll on, so does the tale of A Promise in Pieces.
I was as captivated as her grandson, Noah. Clara tells us of her strict growing up years in the 1930's, and then the night she learned that the war was tearing a hole out of souls and families and nations, and the hour she slipped out of the house to join the nursing corps, and then her time in the thick of the devastation. And then we see how the WWII never left her, it broke her heart and yet expanded it and made room for so much love.
This story takes us along with Clara, through losses that shake her to the core and then her difficult return home and a search for purpose that leads her to places inside her that only God knew about.
Because Clara narrates many chapters, this book reads like a mini-autobiography. I was engaged from the start, and even when it switched to third person, I was invested in her story and wanted to know what happened next.
(This book would actually make a very cool movie, I think. You could have the scenes of the family on the road interspersed with scenes from Clara's life through the years.)
So whether you like contemporary family stories, or if you enjoy historical novels, and if you love tales of women trying to find identity and value and forgiveness and a reason to go on, then try A Promise In Pieces.
Thank you Litfuse for my review copy! I'll be looking out for whatever Emily Wierenga writes next!
(I'm using Emily's personal bio here, I hope it encourages you to visit her personal blog.
I think you'll find something to touch your heart there, as well as in this novel. )
I’m Emily, and I’m honored and humbled to meet you, friend.