Julian Goetz, a famous photographer, is trying to fly home to celebrate his wife's birthday with her, when he gets bumped from his overbooked flight. Katherine Cramer, seeing his plight, offers him her seat on the plane, while she returns to a hotel and a man with whom she's having an affair. The plane crashes, and Julian never makes it home to spend Ada's birthday with her. Katherine is faced with the realization that it is her cheating that saved her life, and she isn't sure she will ever forgive herself for the fact she lived, while Julian died.
Life is forever changed after the crash. Ada, who has only been away from her father's oppressive cult for a few short months, is unsure what to do, or where to go. She believes her only option is to return to her family. But she may be able to learn a little more about her husband and the God he so loved through a camera lens and five Pulitzer-prize winning photos. Katherine is determined to put her marriage back together, but it's a struggle not only to patch up her relationship with her husband but also with her two teenage sons, Ethan and Bryce. Ethan, a sensitive young man with a heart condition, has often wondered why he was allowed to live, while so many children with his same defect died. His questions only grow deeper when he finds out that his hero, Julian Goetz, died in a plane crash that should have taken his mother. His questions send him on a journey, both physical and spiritual, until he finds the One with all the answers.
This is a great story about a God Who loves people and reaches out to them in their low places. It is only when you get to the end and look back that you realize this is the basis for the book. I liked how parts one and two were in reverse order--we see what happened to Julian, then we learn more about him, and how he came to be where he was. I thought the narrative of the story was a little stilted, and almost boring sometimes, but since the story itself was good, it didn't stop me from reading and enjoying it. I liked how Ada's story ended, with a future full of hope and possibilities, and a new relationship with God. However, I was a little disappointed in the ending for the Cramer family. I assume, though, that Ms. Parrish wants her readers to believe that they fixed their marriage and that Ethan led them all to Jesus. That's what I'm choosing to believe at least.
This is the first of Christa Parrish's books that I have read. It was a little odd, and perhaps a bit different than books I usually read, but I liked it. It is one that I would definitely recommend.
I was given an advance copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. Look for this book at your favorite bookseller on or around January 27, 2015.