Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman

I may have mentioned that Kathryn (Katie) Cushman is one of my favorite authors. Consequently I jumped at the chance to be a part of the CFBA tour for her newest book, Another Dawn.

The Story. Single mom Grace Graham wants to do what’s best for her son Dylan. That’s why she chose not to have him vaccinated. Her close friend and co-worker/boss Jasmine is dealing with an autistic child — one who had been developing normally until a week after he received his shot. And Grace has done her homework — she’s read what a host of other moms in similar circumstances are saying, in contradiction to the latest scientific studies. In the end she made the choice she thought best for her son.

But when she leaves California to help care for her father as he undergoes knee surgery, she finds that her decision has ramifications she never considered. Like so many other things in her life — her break-up with Steve, her decision to take time off from work when Jasmine needs her most, and her anger toward her father after her mother died.

Strengths. Katie is a master at revealing both sides of an issue in a sympathetic way. She does so beautifully in Another Dawn. But this book is not a mere “issue” book. Yes, the central external conflict deals with a relevant question that confronts parents today, but there’s so much more happening in this story. There are relational issues between the protagonist and her father, her boss/friend, her sister, and her former boyfriend. There’s also an internal conflict about how she handles problems, and there is a spiritual dimension that overlays all. In other words, this is a complex story.

However, the complexity never feels knotted. It’s masterfully interwoven and makes this book speak to readers on a number of different levels.

Is it entertaining? Completely. I found it to be a compelling story, one that had one mystery after another waiting to be unraveled.

Moreover, this story digs inside hearts. It confronts because the character is forced to confront. It is full of faith and encouragement even as it works as a needle excising a splinter or a scalpel cutting away infection.

Weakness. In a large part, Another Dawn shows Christians working out a set of problems. The one question that came to me after I finished the book was about the back story. With Grace’s past, I couldn’t help but wonder when she stopped running from God, as it seems she was doing prior to Dylan’s birth. As I recall, Grace did say something about not talking to God much lately, but she seemed to pick up where she left off without acknowledging sin in her life.

I know this is a somewhat contentious issue these days. Does “Christian fiction” need a “conversion”?

Katie did a beautiful job portraying real people who happened to be Christians. Consequently, I was surprised when in the end I didn’t see what I would expect from a Christian who has strayed from God.

Did it ruin the story? Not at all. Was it theologically unsound? Not in any way. It was silent, is all. Many people may not think twice about Grace’s past.

As I write this, however, it seems like her realizing she had run from God as much as she had run from her other problems could have made the story even stronger.

Recommendation. Must read for those who enjoy women’s Christian fiction. Must read for parents of younger children. Highly recommended for anyone (yes, even men) who enjoys a well-written story.

In conjunction with CFBA I received a free review copy of this book from Bethany House.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm  Comments Off on Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman  
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