Monday, July 28, 2008

Desert Medicine

Author: Judy Alexander
Publisher: Kregel Publications
November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8254-2008-5
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary women’s fiction

Laurelle is recovering from the end of her eight-year marriage. She has five-year-old twins and two plant care businesses to keep her busy, but she still is hurting. She doesn’t want to join a divorce recovery group—after all, she’s not needy and doesn’t want to listen to others whine about their problems.

Recognizing her children’s need for structure, Laurelle visits the local church, even though she doesn’t believe in God. The pastor tells her to visit an old, homebound woman of his congregation who is dying from cancer. Laurelle has no intentions of doing so, but the pastor keeps mentioning it, so she finally drives out to visit the woman.

Rhoda, even though she is dying, loves to tell stories, and keeps Laurelle entertained by her life story that spans from Depression-era Texas to Calexico, California. Internally broken, Laurelle begins to find healing in Rhoda’s quiet strength and begins to hope again.

DESERT MEDICINE is the first book I’ve read by Judy Alexander, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. Laurelle is hurting and realistic, working multiple jobs to support her husband when her dead-beat husband lives it up with another woman, and not sending so much as a penny in child support.

The story is in Laurelle’s point of view, but starting in the third chapter, Rhoda’s stories are intercepted in, written in her point of view, but in a different font, so the reader is easily able to tell the difference. I enjoyed reading both Laurelle’s and Rhoda’s stories, even though their lives were hard and disappointing, this is not a depressing book. The ending of the book did throw me a bit, not as firmly wrapped up as I would have liked, but it was still somewhat satisfying. Pick up DESERT MEDICINE today. Discussion questions are included at the end. $14.99. 420 pages.

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