In Desert Gift, author Sally John writes about giving everything over to God through her characters Jack and Jill Galloway, and ultimately about rediscovery. As an expert on marital advice, a radio talk show host, and a best-selling author, Jill has dedicated her life to making marriages work. Turning that life upside down, Jack announces that he wants a divorce as Jill is walking out the door on a nationwide book tour. She goes on with the book tour and the breakdown inevitably happens. She realizes that her private life is nothing like her public persona.
John tells the story from the points of view of Jill, Jack, and even Jill’s sister, Vivian. The reader gets to see Jack’s confusion, Vivian’s sisterly love, and Jill’s pain, which all help her regain who she was. While staying with family, Jill meets Agnes, who advises her to lay all her problems at the foot of the cross and trust in God alone. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Jill does an overhaul of her life resulting in many life changes, including aspects of her marriage.
Through many events, such as moving in with her parents, working with her sister, learning of her son’s surprise engagement, terminating her book tour, and ending her radio show, Jill becomes a new woman. She sets aside the bossy, stubborn, and prissy aspects of her former life so that she can draw closer to God and discover his will for her life. With the advice of many, Jill lays down the aspects of herself she can no longer respect so that God can help make her into a new person.
Although focused on important contemporary issues, Desert Gift takes a long time to finally get moving. The lead draws the reader in, but then the story drags for a long time, giving too much back story and character angst and not enough action and plot momentum. The book does not completely satisfy in entertainment value. In spite of that, the story is filled with biblical references and solid advice that can be applied to all relationships, not just struggling marriages; I recommend this book to anyone who been in a difficult relationship or wants to draw closer to God. – Kailey Traylor, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
What does a nationally known marriage expert do when her own marriage falls apart? Just as Jillian Galloway sets out for a publicity tour to promote her new book, her husband drops a bombshell: He wants a divorce. Jill flees to her parents’ home in the California desert, wondering whether everything she’s built her career on—indeed, everything she’s built her life around—is a sham. Navigating this “side road” of life is an uphill climb that leads to new understandings about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with the One who created marriage.