Summary from BN.com: Grace Graham is back in Tennessee with her four-year-old son on a short unpaid leave from work, helping her father recover from surgery and spending time with her sister. Shoal Creek seems more backward than ever after her years in California, and it's hard to find organic food anywhere.
When the unthinkable happens and her son is diagnosed with measles, Grace's fears over modern medicine take a dangerous turn. Worse, the town has fallen into quarantine and its residents focus their anger and blame on Grace. She is alone and scared, until one brave woman chooses to reach out a hand of forgiveness and mercy. But when the outbreak takes a life-threatening turn, will Grace be able to forgive herself?
This book is extremely relevant and realistic. You can turn on a news program, open a magazine or go on an online message board to read about the debate between vaccinations and the role they play in autism. There are many different views on this and some people, including several celebrities, have taken vocal stance on how they feel about the debate. The story in this book deals with a mother's decision on this very subject and how that decision ends up not only affecting her own son but other children and their families who had nothing to do with her decision.
This book is an extremely eye opening read. It takes a subject that I have never seen in Christian fiction before and ask a lot of hard questions to not only the characters of the book but to the readers of the story. I didn't always like Grace's character but I could totally understand why she acted the way she did due to learning about her childhood. Her love for her son is very obvious though some of her actions could have been handled better. Her immediate reaction of running away when things get hard is something a lot of people deal with and can relate to her feelings. Grace is called out several times about this but I will say that she was in two very bad predicaments and sometimes I felt that she was being treated unfairly. By the way, I found it rather interesting how many times she bought plane tickets and then literally at the last minute decided not to go on the plane. It must be nice to have an expandable budge.
I think the main thing to come away from the book is that you should realize that whatever decisions you make, even if there are meant only for yourself or those you love, can greatly affect others in ways you can't anticipate. What I think is the book's greatest strength is that Cushman doesn't take sides on the subject of vaccinations. I felt that she showed both sides equally and I didn't feel any of her own personal feelings to be injected (slight pun) into the story. This is shown at the end of the story when Grace still holds most of her beliefs even after all that has happened. I've read other books about similar topics where it feels like the author is preaching at you, but not so in this case. The same can't be said about some of the characters in the story. It's really sad at how even Christians become bitter, ugly and downright mean when they are in a crisis and the hatred in the words that spew out of their mouth are just means of hiding their hurt.
Overall, this is a really good read. It's suspenseful and keeps your attention throughout the entire story. No matter what your own personal beliefs on the topic, there's a lot to think about after you're done reading. I know that this issue will come up for me in the future when I do decide to have kids and I hope to do a lot of research when I need to make decisions for my children. Cushman's writing is very well done and it's a step in the direction that I hope more Christian fiction authors and publishers will follow. Putting Christians in realistic situations without sugar coating things and forcing them to actually act on their faith.
Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman is published by Bethany House (2011)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
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