Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday: The Truth about Therese and Rachel's Contrition...

...and I thought I'd mention, too, that hey, maybe this Wednesday you should be reading Finding Grace!  Or giving it to your teenage daughter to read!

Shameless, I know.  I'll get to that in a minute.  But first I do want to tell you about the two books I'm currently reading.   (I can't seem to stick to just one at a time these days--so many books, so few hours in the day!)
The first is one I told you about on the link-up last Wednesday: Henri Gheon's The Truth about Therese. I'm still only about half-way through this slim volume, but it's simply beautiful--a must-read for fans of the Little Flower, for sure; but I think almost anyone would enjoy it and be inspired by it.

The second book I'm currently gobbling up is Michelle Buckman's Rachel's Contrition. This novel was the 2012 winner of the Catholic Writers Guild's CALA (Catholic Arts & Letters Award) for adult fiction.  I was lucky enough to meet the author herself (a really sweet woman!) at the CWG conference in NJ earlier this month, and we did a book swap: I gave her a signed copy of Finding Grace, and she in turn gave me a signed copy of Rachel's Contrition.  (I was practically star-struck, being around all those authors!)
Clutching my precious hand-signed copy, with a personal note inside that says,
"To Laura, God bless you on your journey."
Buckman's novel is extraordinarily well-written, and it's a real page-turner.  Be warned, however: this is no lighthearted "beach read."   The subject matter is quite difficult: after the death of her baby daughter, Rachel Winters' marriage falls apart, she loses custody of her four-year-old son, and she is in danger of losing her very sanity as well.  Her grief is so well-described and so harrowing; any mother will be able to relate to it--because even if she hasn't lost a child, she imagines every awful accident that could put her in Rachel's shoes.

What really drew me to this book (long before I met Michelle Buckman in person, when I saw the title listed on a Catholic blog I was reading) is the fact that St. Therese of Lisieux actually plays a big role.  When she's about as down and out as she can get, Rachel Winters finds a tattered holy card with a "sketch of a nun" on it--and as the story goes along, St. Therese seems to start doing for Rachel just what she promised before her death, when she said she would spend her heaven doing good on earth...showering roses from the heavens.

My little heroine, Grace Kelly, also develops a special relationship with St. Therese, so I was curious to see how Buckman would incorporate this saint near and dear to my heart into Rachel's story of pain and healing. In fact, Buckman and I got talking and found out that we both possess genuine relics of St. Therese.  I inherited mine from my grandmother, and Buckman was sent hers by a friend just as she was finishing up Rachel's Contrition.  I feel a real kinship with her now.

Okay, so that's what we're I'm reading Wednesday.  Now about you, and this book I think you (or your teenage daughter) might like...well, instead of telling you about it myself, tomorrow I'm going to post a fairly recent review by writer Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur.  So if you come back then, you can see what she had to say about Finding Grace.  (Can you tell that I went to some marketing presentations at the CWG conference? And that I learned that if I really want the young people for whom I wrote this book to ever read it, I've got to travel a good bit outside my comfort zone and promote the heck out of it?)

Okay, enough about that--now you can click your way over to Jessica's, if you want to see where all the other noses are buried today!


  1. The books sound fascinating, including Finding Grade...making myself a note to check back :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! The two books I was reading are indeed fascinating--I finished Rachel's Contrition and it was amazing. It makes you want to really model yourself after St. Therese. The main character begins to try, and her transformation from the beginning of the book to the end is so wonderful. I recommend that book highly.

      As for mine...that would be great if readers found it fascinating. If you read it, let me know what you think!

      Thanks again.