Rachel’s Prayer by Leisha Kelly examines the struggles of two close families during World War II, as young men from both families leave to fight.
The story tends to go off on tangents that appear to have no other purpose but to further over-emphasize the difficulty and pain that these families—the Worthams and the Hammonds—are besieged with. Apart from that, this book can be difficult to read because the narrator of this first-person tale changes with each chapter. It is true that this technique significantly opens the story and allows the reader to see important details from the eyes of the character most deeply involved, but it is also confusing and challenging to read. However, if the reader can overcome this nuisance, several interesting characters will be discovered within the tale.
Sarah Jean Wortham and Franklin Drew Hammond are the two main characters in this story. Sarah’s brother Robert is fighting in the war, as are Frank’s three brothers, Kirk, Joe, and Willy. Frank walks with a limp and is, for insufficiently explained reasons, illiterate. Because of this, he was unable to go to war and, instead, stayed at home with his verbally abusive father. Sarah is a quiet and gentle girl who struggles with her emotions while her brother is at war, and begins to wonder if her Christian faith is lacking.
Julia Wortham is Sarah’s mother, and the third narrator of the story, though she doesn’t feature as prominently as Franky or her daughter. Julia’s point of view is mostly used to provide the reader with thoughts that are more mature than what would naturally come from the younger narrators. Rachel, though she is mentioned in the title, is barely even mentioned in the book. She is Robert’s girlfriend and is waiting for him to return in the hope that he will propose to her.
Overall, this book was a decent story. If I had read Leisha Kelly’s other books and had already known these characters, I may have found the story more interesting. At the least, I likely would not have gotten so lost in the opening chapter when there are too many characters running around and it is nearly impossible even to tell which ones are the protagonists. After the difficult first chapter, however, the story picked up and seemed promising for a few chapters before settling into a steady, but somewhat dull, saga. I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind a rather predictable story that is highlighted by interesting characters. – Sarah Haines, Christian Book Previews.com
War threatened to pull them apart. Hope bound them together.
Nothing has been the same for Samuel and Julia Wortham since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. All around them young men are enlisting for the service, leaving the safety of the rural community that has sheltered the Wortham family since the Great Depression.
Now their own beloved son Robert has gone to fight for his country, along with three of the Hammond boys. Julia's heart aches for the boys while Robert's girlfriend, Rachel Gray, offers a prayer that changes the lives of all who hear it. Those left behind struggle to find their place and God's plan amidst the chaos of war.
As the letters from Robert and the Hammond boys slow to a stop, can those at home find God's peace?