Ostracized. Excluded. Shunned.
That was the day when everything changed for them; the day when the church in Ruthie’s small West Texas town collectively turned its back on the mother and daughter. No more Sunday school; no more church picnics; and worst of all, no more relationships; at least, with those in the church. For the next thirteen years, backs were turned when Ruthie or her mom walked by. Faces averted. Hearts withheld.
And Ruthie somehow survived. She worked at the high school and the local United grocery store, hoping to save enough money to leave Trapp, Texas, and attend college. And Ruthie did have some relationships (besides her mom); her aunt, uncle and cousin; her coworkers; some of the grocery store shoppers. But those in the church? Not only did they never reach out to the Turners; they actively steered clear of them. And church, for Ruthie, came to mean the same thing as “hypocritical” or “untrustworthy.” Never a group to be approached; rather, one to be feared and avoided.
However, a new family has come to town. Dodd Cunningham, along with his widowed mother and his brother Grady, has been called as the new pastor of the church (and hired as a new high school teacher). Ruthie, to no avail, tries to stay out of the new family’s way; she’s pretty sure that anyone connected with the church cannot be trusted. Dodd’s younger brother Grady never met anyone he didn’t like; mother Milla is both open and welcoming; and Dodd finds Ruthie both lovely and intriguing. And he can’t quite figure out why she is so abrupt and closed off at the same time that he’s puzzled by the church’s treatment of her.
Ruthie’s life is further complicated by the arrival of convicted (and released) felon Clyde Felton, whose drinking and skulking around both frighten and intimidate her. She’s not only afraid of Clyde, she’s afraid of what Dodd will think of her when he hears of why the church has rejected her. Even though she’s not quite sure why they did, herself.
But that secret is about to come out of hiding. What will happen to Ruthie, the church and the rest of the citizens of Trapp when the truth is revealed? Will Ruthie make her peace with God? And what’s ahead for Dodd and Ruthie? You’ll never be able to predict the unfolding events….but you definitely don’t want to miss them!
Varina Denman’s novel Jaded, winner of the ACFW’s (American Christian Fiction Writers) Genesis Award for Romance, is one of the best I’ve read this year. Her characters are appealing and fascinating. The story of a broken family, deeply wounded by the church, and the ways that God begins to lead them to reconciliation and healing, is engrossing and truly a page-turner. I was so glad that I discovered Jaded in the summer, rather than during the school year, because I absolutely couldn’t put it down. Varina is definitely one of my newest author faves. Like me, fans of Jaded‘s Ruthie, Dodd, and Trapp, TX, will be delighted to learn that this book is the first of a planned three (and you can find book 2, Justified, at Amazon or your local bookstore now!).
And one of my readers is going to be so blessed. Varina Denman is providing an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of Jaded for one very fortunate reader. So enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below (U.S. residents only, please!) for your chance to win!
Enjoy—and I hope you win! –Wren