Marriage is never easy…
…But anything worth having is never easy.
It isn’t often that I pick up a book or this topic and end up ripping it apart to such an extreme that I never finish it. I didn’t have to do that with Shadow Dancing. And what a relief and joy it is.
I have said before of Jennifer Sienes books, that they are quickly becoming some of my favorites. Instead, she is one of my favorite writers. There hasn’t been one of her books that I have read that did not entertain, educate, and encourage me in some way. It is clear that she has either done her homework and taken the time to study or she has a lot of life experiences to share through her stories.
Shadow Dancing follows a married couple who has been hit with every parent’s nightmare. The loss of a child. The result is months of brokenness, questioning God, and heaps of avoidance tactics. Bekah and Mitch go through their individual journies of understanding through grief while trying to figure out what to do next. Ms. Sienes beautifully, and gutwrenchingly takes her readers on a journey through each stage of their grief while dropping powerful Truth nuggets through Bekah’s parents and Brother Paul. I found myself glued to every word, hoping that this couple would find their way through the fog (I won’t tell if they do or not).
*** The publisher gave me a copy of this book through CelebrateLit Publicities. A positive review was not required.
About the Book
Book: Shadow Dancing
Author: Jennifer Sienes
Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction/Southern fiction
Release Date: April 18, 2023
Wading through grief is like dancing with shadows.
Bekah Casey’s been on a tear for near a year, and the anger clings to her like cheap perfume. If only the Lord would wash it away like He did with her sins, she might could find her way out of the mire. Instead, she escapes from the one person to blame for all her ills—her husband Mitch.
Now she’s living with her mama and daddy, working two jobs, and facing a future that looks bleak as a middle-Tennessee winter. Her mama’s all the time telling her that the good Lord works in ways too confounding to comprehend, and if she’d learn to trust in Him, her life will look a might brighter. Easy for her to say.
When things go from dark to disastrous, Bekah figures she’s got two choices—sink in her sin or dig her way out.
Mitch Casey never did put a whole lot of stock in faith. Didn’t appear it helped Bekah any either since hers went sideways the minute things got hard. Still, he’s willing to take whatever abuse she throws his way if it helps her muddle through the grief. Then one poor decision, a night in jail, and a divine assignment with a local pastor puts Mitch on an unexpected path.
When you’re dancing with shadows, who gets to lead? Find out in the next book in the Bedford County series.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies–two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.
More from Jennifer
Last year I was interviewed on a Christian podcast, and the host asked me, “How do you come up with your story ideas?” There are as many answers to this question as there are authors, but he wasn’t satisfied with mine. I told him they truly come from the Lord. I think he wanted tips to encourage would-be writers. I’m sorry to disappoint, but although I might have a story sketch in my mind, it never matches the completed project. Why? Because I’m not in control.
Over the last several years, I’ve discovered that my writing journey is as much spiritual as it is creative. Shadow Dancing is a perfect example. It started with my intention to fictionalize the past marital difficulties of a young couple in my church. But before I finished the first chapter, it became clear the Lord had other ideas. The initial plot I’d fixed in my head doesn’t resemble the finished novel in any way—unless you consider the main characters are separated. The theme of my novels always reflects what I’m wrestling with in my heart at the time I’m writing it.
The major theme in Shadow Dancing is God’s sovereignty. Most of us have no problem accepting His will as long as our lives are going well. It’s when something difficult happens we begin to doubt His goodness. How often have you seen a tragedy pull a fellow Christian away from the Lord? The question, “Why would a loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?” has been a stumbling block for many people—both Christians and non-Christians alike.
But sometimes it’s the tragedies in life that draw people closer to God as they realize He’s the only hope they can cling to. This was the case for me. I believed in God, but I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, when my ex-husband of 23 years abandoned me. This was on the tail-end of my daughter’s near-fatal car accident that left us with months of rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury. It’s when I realized that believing I was in control of my life and that of my children was a lie from the enemy. We cannot protect those we love by hovering over them or keep a marriage intact by sheer will.
I wanted these truths to play out in the lives of Rebekah and Mitch Casey. In the light of heartache, Rebekah’s spiritual walk goes in one direction while Mitch’s goes another. But through it all, they are left with hope. That’s what I desire every word I ever write to point to. The hope we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And isn’t it the greatest gift to know our loving and merciful God has us in the palm of His righteous right hand—forgiven and free? So much better than relying on our own flawed and sinful selves.
I pray Shadow Dancing reminds you of everything we have and will continue to have as adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. Hope of eternal life in a world where heartache and sin will be a thing of the past.
Locks, Hooks and Books, May 27
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, May 28 (Author Interview)
Holly’s book corner, May 28
Splashes of Joy, May 29
An Author’s Take, May 30
By the Book, June 2
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 2
JESUS in the EVERYDAY, June 3
For Him and My Family, June 4
Older & Smarter?, June 5
The Lit Lady, June 5
Sylvan Musings, June 6
lakesidelivingsite, June 7
Back Porch Reads, June 7
Texas Book-aholic, June 8
She Lives to Read, June 9
Books I’ve Read, June 9
To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card & a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.