Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director-and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."
This is a book that I don't know why I kept delaying to read. I loved the original Yada Yada Prayer Group series and had been very excited that a spin off series had been created. When I finally did read it, it was a breath of fresh air. Yes, characters from the original books are sprinkled throughout but the story is Gabby's story. I really felt for her throughout the book. There were times when I did want to shake her for being unreasonable but for the most part, I totally sympathized with her. There were so many issues that were pressing her from being away from her kids, dealing with a mother in law who doesn't like her, trying to cope with her own mother who is suffering dementia, and having a husband who is no help whatsoever. I really liked her adventures at the women's shelter. It really makes one think about those who live there and those who run the place to give those women hope.
It always amazes me when an author is able to write a character that is so easy to hate. And I hated Philip. I could not believe the way he acted towards Gabby and how he would treat her. He was just absolutely horrible. He wasn't physically abusive but he was emotionally abusive towards her. There are signs of how his childhood and relationship with his parents might attribute to how he views his marriage but it's still no excuse whatsoever. I have no idea what he wanted from Gabby except maybe make her into his trophy wife. I mean he didn't even want his kids up there with them, he never fought to have them stay in Chicago. By the time the end of the book comes, I just wanted to kill him! Honestly, there was so much rage in me towards him.
The book ends on a huge cliffhanger but luckily I already owned the second book it the series and finished that one (now just waiting anxiously for the third). I've read that some people complained how they don't like being left hanging in a series, but that's the point of a series - to keep you reading the rest of the books in the series.
Even if you don't like Christian fiction, I really think you will like this book. It does a wonderful job at opening your eyes about the homeless and women's shelters and what goes on to run such a place. The book is never condemning or preachy. Even though faith issues are talked and touched upon many times, it's more a discovery of them rather than evangelizing. I felt this book to be WAY more realistic than most Christian fiction. I wasn't surprised by this as the books in the main Yada Yada Prayer Group series dealt with issues not found in other Christian books. And that is the reason why I would be comfortable recommending this book to non Christian readers. It's so nice to read books that don't just stay in the bubble and will reach out and make you uncomfortable.
Where Do I Go? by Neta Jackson is published by Thomas Nelson (2008)
This review copy was provided by the publisher