Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Crossroads (Cathy Bryant) Book Review

2016 Reading Challenge

40. Crossroads by Cathy Bryant

After a devastating divorce, a bitter single mom and atheist starts her own real estate company in the nostalgic and picturesque town of Miller’s Creek, Texas. Then her young daughter’s disturbing symptoms lead doctors to discover that her leukemia has relapsed. With her new life now turned upside down, Mara Hedwig struggles to keep her business afloat. And her daughter’s worsening condition forces her to rethink her beliefs about Carter Callahan and his God. Will Mara make the return to Christian faith in the face of life’s greatest challenge?

An ex-military operative struggles with the return to civilian life while coping with his rebellious teen-aged daughter. During a house-search, Carter meets Mara, a headstrong Realtor who wants nothing to do with his God. But when Mara’s little girl is diagnosed with leukemia, the clock begins ticking for him to convince Mara to return to a life of faith. Just as he seems to be making headway, circumstances beyond his control throw his efforts into a tailspin. Can Carter learn to rest in the sovereignty of God?

My Review:
Mara is trying to get her real estate business off to a good start after getting over a bitter divorce. Relatively new to town, she's determined to make things better for her five year old daughter, Ashton. Just as she's starting to get her life back on track, Ashton's leukemia relapses. From everything Mara's been through, she has lost faith in God and doesn't know what to believe anymore. Meanwhile, Carter is also raising his teenage daughter, Chloe, on his own. He's a police officer trying to get his life together after dealing with post traumatic stress disorder after fighting in the war. Chloe's in a bit of a rebellious phase after getting abandoned by her mother and starts getting into the wrong crowd. 

Mara and Carter meet by chance when he becomes one of her clients. Their personalities clash just a bit at first, but they become friends. Not knowing what else to do, Carter asks Mara to take Chloe under her wings. Unfortunately for Chloe, Mara recognizes that she's bulimic (Mara used to be as well and can see the signs in Chloe). Once Chloe promises to stop and get better, Mara let's her be an assistant. Bad habits are hard to break, however, and after a little while, her secret comes out to Carter and they finally work together to overcome that.

Mara and Carter soon start a budding relationship. Obviously, they have their problems and you can't help but wonder if it was doomed from the start. For starters, they have their hands full with their respective daughter: trying to open up the communication lines with Chloe and get her back on track and dealing with treatment and side effects for Ashton's cancer and a not so good looking prognosis. Mara gets overwhelmed when she meets Carter's family. And of course, they deal with what could be a deal breaker for Carter: that Mara doesn't believe in God and is headstrong about it when it's brought up. Carter feels like Mara was put in his life for a reason, making him determined to bring her back to her faith no matter how long it may take. It takes some time, but Mara faces her fears and becomes vulnerable. When we go through hard times, we tend to break away from faith and hope (and it's perfectly understandable). It's always possible to go back to it, but it doesn't happen overnight. Everything works out and Carter and Mara realize that they're meant to be together. Don't worry, things work out for Chloe and Ashton as well.

For me, I felt that Ashton and Chloe were the glue that kept the story together. I believe that if it wasn't for them, Mara and Carter would not have survived their relationship. Chloe and Ashton were close to each other from the start. When Ashton became sick again, it helped bring about change in Chloe. Chloe felt abandoned by her mother and dealt with body image issues (hence the bulimia), but once she had someone like Mara in her corner to tell her like it is and not give up with her, Chloe was able to open up more and make those changes she needed to heal. Ashton was my favorite character. As much as she had been through and was going through, Ashton never gave up and remained as upbeat as she could. She seemed wiser than her years and showed good character and personality.

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


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