Alison Strobelís The Heart of Memory deals with consequences and faith. Savannah Trover, a renowned Christian speaker and writer, undergoes heart transplant surgery and realizes how much she has put God to the side in her life. She resolves to focus more on Him after the heart transplant, only to discover when she awakens that her faith has been replaced with anger and disbelief in God. Now she must reconcile the supposed woman of faith she used to be with the new, angry woman she has become.
The book is written in third-person from the viewpoints of three characters: Savannah, her husband Shaun, and her daughter Jessie. Shaun keeps hiding things from his wife -- things involving their ministry -- and his secrets start to build a wall between them. Savannahís attempts to hide her own problems make the wall only higher and thicker. Jessie is angry at her mother, feeling as though she is insignificant in her motherís life. She also is frustrated because she feels as though she is invisible in her motherís shadow. In fact, Jessieís characterization as a wounded daughter is excellent, making her the most dynamic character in the book.
After the heart transplant, Savannah feels as though she has lost faith in God, but she has no clue as to why. All she knows is the anger she feels toward Him and the doubt that He even exists. As the major player in her womenís ministry, she forces herself to hide her feelings and pretend that things are normal, even though they arenít. Finally, she breaks and tells her husband and best friend her problem. However, that solves nothing and only makes everything worse. Her husband is angry at his wife because he is counting on her to help him mask the growing financial issues their ministry is facing. Her friend is no help either. Finally, Savannah goes to someone with whom she broke off communication twenty years ago, in search of answers. What she finds surprises her and the readers.
Savannah as a character is slightly predictable and not very relatable at the beginning of the plot. I empathized more with her daughter. But after the heart transplant, dealing with her problems, and the changes she finds, Savannah starts to seem more like a real person. Her relationship with her daughter is strained, to say the least. Jessie has felt like she has been forced to play second-fiddle to Savannahís ministry, instead of being a major part of her motherís life. She also feels as though she has never measured up to Savannahís expectations. Savannah and Shaun keep building walls to protect their secrets and pain, almost to the point at which Shaun begins to consider the ramifications of divorcing Savannah.
Overall, the novel was good. I would have enjoyed it more if Strobel had delved more deeply into the theme of how God is faithful even when we have doubts, as found in 2 Timothy 2:13, ĒÖif we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.Ē Biblical themes such as this were touched on, but only lightly. Savannah herself never really thinks on it, nor do any other character weigh in on this issue. Nevertheless, I believe women, especially older moms, will enjoy this book. Ė Nathan Sturgis, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Beloved Christian writer and speaker Savannah Trover expected to wake up from surgery missing her former heartónot her former faith. Now her anger toward God threatens to destroy her family and ministry. Can she ever trust her heart again? This compelling new relational drama from Alison Strobel explores the difference between emotional faith and life-giving truth.