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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: Shards of Ashley by Karen Wiesner

This is a lovely story - once again Ms. Wiesner creates wounded characters who find redemption through love.
Shards of Ashley (Book 5 of Family Heirloom Series)
by Karen Weisner
Book 5 of the Family Heirlooms Series
Inspirational Contemporary Romance by Karen Wiesner
Available now from
Whiskey Creek Press
978-1-61160-017-9 (trade paperback); 

978-1-61160-016-2 (electronic)
Click here for a printable order form
The paperback may be available at a significant discount with this special order form
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My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Five Family Heirloom: Learning trust
In order to reconcile her past, she must face the terrible truth she buried long ago...and, in doing so, she gambles with her heart and the salvation of her own soul.

Ashley Savage grew up in a troubled home with a competitive, pampered sister and an abusive, ridiculing mother who played at being a Christian when she needed to...and led Ashley to more addictions than one child could handle. As an adult, Ashley tells herself she's put the extreme fears of the past behind her, but she spends most of her time repairing the crumbling wall holding back the horrors she's not willing to face ever again. She's become a woman against the world.

The one man who has the annoying habit of getting through her defenses is Jay Samuels, a military chaplain and soon-to-be pastor. Much as Ashley wants to leave him behind like she believes she has the rest of her past, Jay is ambitious to a fault where she's concerned. He hears only what he wants to hear?and he doesn't want to hear that she doesn't love him as much as he loves her.

But even Jay doesn't realize the extent of all she's buried deep inside her own subconscious...and what keeps her from giving herself willingly to the God she knows is drawing her inexorably to Himself, to the one place she can't run, where she can no longer hide...

Ashley was abused by her mother and step-father. When they sought friendship in a church family, she knew them to be hypocrites. At the age of fourteen she escaped her household to find oblivion in drugs with an abusive boyfriend.

Ashley finally broke free and was given a chance to change her life. She was mentored by an interior designer who taught her how to dress and present herself as well as how to dress interiors. Ashley has buried her pain and insecurities and remade herself into a disciplined, tightly controlled success.  Ashley doesn’t see herself as worthy of love and holds herself apart from everyone. She thinks even God didn’t love her enough as a child to save her from the abuse she suffered so she learned to rely only on her own efforts.

Jay has cared for Ashley since they met as teens. He is the pastor’s son and once he returns from his military service he will become the pastor of the local church. Jay and Ashley have remained friends seeing each other whenever he is home but they have no contact for the months he is away. Jay wants that to change. In fact, he is ready for their relationship to become serious and permanent. He knows that Ashley had a difficult childhood and he knows of her past escape into drugs and sex. But he doesn’t know all of her painful past as Ashley has never told anyone.

Jay realizes that he loves Ashley and he determines that he will not let her push him away.  It may take work, especially since his time home is limited, but he wants to convince her that she is worthy of love and he will stand by her.

Bit by bit Ashley’s defenses begin to crumble when faced with Jay’s steadfast and unrelenting love. Jay and Ashley share thoughts through Journaling and it is through that medium that Jay is often able to plant seeds of faith that opens a dialogue between them. Ms. Wiesner shares some beautiful thoughts on the rewards that can come from trusting in God to see us through suffering and pain. 

Although she resists, it is clear that Ashley loves Jay. Their moments together are very sensual, even without complete intimacy. I really enjoy the depth of emotion that Ms. Wiesner gives her characters.  The situations are real to live and there is plenty of warmth that overcomes the sad suffering of the past. I am always reminded how much I enjoy this author when I read her books. There may be too much emotion for me to read these one after another, but they are a source of delight when I pick them up once every six weeks or so! I highly recommend this author especially if you are looking to read inspiring romance and stories of redemption from difficult circumstances. .

I never heard the second part of  this expression but I think it is spot on:
“Your family is very traditional. The man is the head of the household and all that.”
“Maybe so. But didn’t someone say, if the man’s the head then the woman’s the neck? She moves him in the direction he should go.”  Location 1181.
Part of Ashley' fear of trusting:
They’d made her want to trust them. They’d made her want to trust God. But trust implied giving up all the protections she’d erected for herself.   Location 1966.
I received this title from the author for an honest review.

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