The Promise

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Title: The Promise
Series: The Restoration
Author: Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2013
Pages: 304

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Tom Anderson lost his job five months ago and hasn’t told anyone, not even his wife. He leaves each morning pretending nothing has changed and spends his days in coffee shops and bookstores job hunting. The stress of keeping his unemployment a secret is pushing him and his wife apart and putting his marriage in danger. Tom is going to tell her after he finds a job, if his marriage lasts that long.

Jean Anderson knows something is wrong with her husband. He’s been coming home angry and bitter for months now and he doesn’t want to talk to her about anything anymore and it’s scaring her. With the chasm growing between her and her husband, she begins to suspect that her deepest fears might be a reality and she has no idea what to do about it.

When Jean goes to the doctor, she realizes just what has her husband so frugal and it makes he think about what he has done with his day all these months. It’s up to Tom to prove to her that he hasn’t done anything but lie and that it’s her he loves. With his marriage on the line, Tom must really evaluate his life, marriage, and his goals in life. Also, he must realize why he kept his secret for so long and try and make it up to Jean.

Can Tom win back Jean after a five month long lie or will he lose her forever? Can Jean forgive Tom for his lie or will she leave him despite his pleas? Will Jean believe Tom when he says he hasn’t cheated or will she believe her fears instead? Will Tom’s reasons for keeping his secret be confronted and conquered or just buried for another time?
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The first book in this series wasn’t very relatable to me because of the wide age gap between myself and the main characters. This book is a tad different. Though there is still that wide age gap, it’s much smaller and Tom’s story was much more relatable to me. I was able to see bits and pieces of my childhood amidst the memories of the characters and that definitely made me be able to connect with this book more than the first.

First things first, I have to address Tom and his real reasoning for hiding his unemployment. I won’t give to much away but I will say this, though his method was extreme, the reasons he kept his unemployment a secret made quite a bit of sense and seemed like something someone would do if they didn’t want to disappoint someone who had put a lot of pressure on them. Though I wouldn’t be able to keep a secret that big for that long, I can understand his reasoning and understand the desire to not disappoint someone you love.

The storyline is interesting and, though it’s not very fast paced, engaging if the topic is relatable to you. There were times I had a hard time keeping my attention on the book, but that might be because I’m not married and am not very knowledgable about marriages, so I might not be a very good judge of this book as far as pacing goes. However, one thing I can’t deny and see despite my lack of marriage experience, is that the marriage advice and images on how to heal a breaking marriage were spot on and very helpful for me for the future.

My favorite part of this entire book was seeing the transformation of all The marriages in this book once they put the Lord first in their marriages and lives. The transformation was into something I rarely see anymore and it gives me great hope that marriages don’t have to be this awful institution that many make it seem. This book portrays marriages as work and sacrifice and love and trust and I felt that that was very accurate and gave me a realistic view as to what marriage entails.

I’ve been reading Dan Walsh’s books for a while now and his storytelling ability never ceases to amaze me. That’s why I keep coming back for more from him. Dan’s coauthor is another story. I haven’t read much by him. My fourth book by him, all fiction, but all of those books have one thing in common, they either show what a marriage that revolves around Christ looks like or how to fix a marriage at its breaking point and I love seeing that. Both authors are amazing at what they do and both authors and this book come highly recommended.

Overall, a great book about fixing a marriage. The pace for me got a bit slow at times, but in general, I liked the pacing. This is great for people who want a great story about marriage or want to figure out how to fix a marriage in fiction form. Keep your kids away from this one but it’s great for adults. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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The Dance

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Title: The Dance
Series: The Restoration Series
Authors: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
Publisher: Revell
Published: April 1, 2013
Pages: 352

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Marilyn Anderson is tired of playing the role of perfect wife. After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn’s marriage has gotten as cold as the arctic and all appearances are just that. She has everything she could ever want – a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, the financial freedom to be a stay at home mom, and an enviable collection of stuff. But the one thing she desires she doesn’t have, love. She’s tired of trying to connect with a man that doesn’t want to, so she moves out to collect herself and see what happens.

Jim Anderson is a successful businessman that gives his wife everything she needs, except love and attention. With him so busy with his real state business, he doesn’t even realize anything’s wrong let alone listen to his wife when she drops many hints for him to help her fix their marriage. When Marilyn leaves, Jim is shocked and furious. He has to sort through the past to fin what went wrong and to get his wife to talk to him.

As Marilyn rediscovers herself amidst a new job, a new roommate, and dance lessons, she begins to see what she almost gave up. Meanwhile, Jim is being illuminated as to what went wrong in his marriage and how he can fix it. Jim is doing the unthinkable to save his marriage but Marilyn still doesn’t want to talk to him and definitely doesn’t want to see him. He has to find a way to show her he’s changed.

Will Marilyn go back to Jim or will she like her newfound freedom too much to go back? Will Jim be able to change enough to get his wife back or will his stubbornness ruin his marriage? Will Jim win back his wife and do something he never did or will he decide that his wife isn’t worth what he took away? Will Marilyn’s bitterness of her rocky marriage destroy any chance of repair?
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I’ve read fiction by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley before and loved Dan Walsh’s books and Gary Smalley’s co-author-ship with Karen Kingsbury and those memories were what drove me to review this book. I may have erred in that decision. This book is fantastic and one of the best that I’ve read like this, but like the others I feel like this book is beyond my reach. I’m not married nor even in a relationship right now, so this book, though probably great for the future, isn’t written for me and isn’t on my list of favorites.

The overall storyline is fantastic and with two veteran writers behind it, it can’t help but be perfectly executed. The story progressed very well and I loved how the story ended. I loved how Jim changed and what he did to win Marilyn back. Though I don’t wish bad times on my future marriage, this is what I want my future husband to do if it ever got that bad. Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh crafted the perfect marriage fiction book with this one.

The subject of this book is something every marriage needs and possibly will go through. The potential end. Though I’m not married and probably won’t be for another five to ten years, I learned a lot and I learned about core fears. I also learned that a core fear of mine is the fear of failure. I don’t want to fail at anything and the idea makes me extremely scared. I think that this book married, engaged, or single can help you and show you what makes a good relationship.

Though this book wasn’t really for me, I can appreciate the subject and the story. The smoothness and progressiveness of the story alone makes this a fantastic book, but add on some teaching for anyone who is or will be married and you get a fantastic book. These authors work really well together and I look forward to reading more from them as a team and singularly.

These two work awesome together. Dan Walsh is an amazing storyteller and Gary Smalley is one of the best marriage counselors out there. As a team they created the best fiction book about marriage I’ve ever read and recently I’ve read quite a few. Like I said, though this book wasn’t for me, it was still a fantastic story and that alone makes this a great book. I fully intend to read the rest of this series.

Overall, a great story just for pure enjoyment by also a great book to help with a marriage. Though the subject and audience is a little bit older than me, I loved the story and the hope it gives me. I highly recommend this book to readers who like their story to have substance. This book really isn’t best for anyone than adults, but maybe this book could be used to show teens to not give up just because it gets tough. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are her own.*