For the detours of life: Review of Heart Echoes by Sally John

I’m a day late with my book review this week. Our son was sick and spent most of the day sweating and sleeping on my lap. Which means I had time to finish a book while watching The Olympics. (Talented, I know.)

The book was this one:

I’ve never read Sally John’s books before. And although this is the third in her Side Roads series, it would seem that you’re not “out of the loop” having not read the first two. Looks like the other two have different characters but contain similar themes about marriage. (A side note: I learned that Sally John grew up in Moline, Illinois, just a hop, skip and a jump from my hometown of Dixon, Illinois. Though she lives in California now, I will forever claim kinship with her for her midwestern roots.)

Heart Echoes starts with an earthquake and never lets up in intensity. Teal Morgan is trapped in traffic when the quake hits. Her husband, River, is home, trapped under a stack of bins in their garage. Daughter Maiya is nowhere to be found. They all physically survive the quake; it’s the aftershocks that almost destroy them.

Teal has been hiding the identity of Maiya’s father for all of her daughter’s 16 years. River, her stepdad, is the father Maiya never had, but she’s at an age where she starts questioning and seeking. River lost his first wife and unborn son in an accident a decade earlier and the quake stirs in him feelings of loss and the risks of love. Their lives were headed in a predictable direction before the quake. Now, they find themselves on a detour none of them asked for.

Their journey to truth, wholeness, joy and a beautiful life is intense and heartbreaking at times. This story reaches deep inside to our darkest parts and brings them into the light of love. It’s not always pretty, but it is beautiful.

Like life, itself.

Bravo, Sally John. You have drawn a picture of marriage that is gritty and untidy and insecure yet flourishes with patience, commitment and love.

I’m a new fan.


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