Lyndie James relocates with her family back to Holley, Texas, after living in southern California for twenty years. She immediately seeks out her childhood best friend, Jake Porter, for a position to exercise his Thoroughbreds. But Lyndie is surprised to discover that the once happy boy she remembers from childhood has become a depressed, dark, scarred man dealing with PTSD after several tours in the Middle East. Determined to break down the walls Jake has built to shut out all those who love him, she attempts to bring laughter and joy into every aspect of his life. But Jake’s fears prevent him from accepting all that Lyndie has to offer, causing them both to realize once again that only God can truly heal all their pain.
I am not usually one to cry at novels. But this book dealt with such heartfelt, deep, emotional situations that I found myself becoming teary eyed more than once. And I do not mean the occasional tear that is easily swiped away with one finger, but the kind of weeping that requires a box of tissues and the privacy of your own home to sob in peace. Usually, when a book makes you cry, even a well-written one, you still walk away feeling a tad depressed and out of sorts. Not so with this novel. Becky Wade did a phenomenal job of crafting a story that truly and fully put the goodness of God at the very center of every theme, and not in a way that was superficial or forced. PTSD is not an easy disorder to discuss, much less write an entire book about, but Ms. Wade blew me away with her accurate details about the condition and the hope that can exist for those who struggle with it. And I absolutely loved each and every one of the characters: their flaws, their optimism, their banter, their joys, their sorrows, and their relationships, both with each other and with God. Ms. Wade also introduces a character with cerebral palsy, another difficult condition, which accurately reflected how a chronic illness could affect an entire family in so many ways.
Least you think this novel was all tears, however, I must say that the dialogue between characters and the adorable thoughts of Lyndie created a novel with a surprising amount of optimism, spunk, and joy. The friendship of Lyndie and Jake, a glimpse of which is introduced during their childhood in the prologue, is special and explains Lyndie’s full resoluteness in helping Jake. In addition, Lyndie is perhaps one of the most creative people I have ever read about. The author’s ability to craft such unique and artistic aspects to Lyndie’s life is truly commendable. I also loved the parallelism between the heart of the racehorses and Lyndie’s desire to heal Jake’s broken spirit.
I also thought this cover was not only undeniably beautiful, but was perfectly how I imagined the characters would look like and how they would interact. Perhaps you cannot completely judge a book by its cover, but this one only made a wonderful novel even better.
This novel is, in a nutshell, absolutely perfect. I completely adored the spunky, moody, and thoughtful characters, each one so unique and yet so able to effortlessly interact with one another. Lyndie’s bright outlook on life despite her past trials and Jake’s brokenness create a masterful relationship that is interesting, unique, emotional, and genuinely true. The real feelings and real struggles were relatable and enjoyable. I became part of the characters’ lives and by the end, I wished I could simply call them up and go out for dinner together. The book contains so many deep spiritual themes that can be applied to my own life despite very different circumstances. With charming and engaging dialogue and incredibly deep character developments, this book flows impeccably from beginning to end. I truly cannot recommend this novel enough. It deserves even more than five stars!
I could go on and on about why you should read this book and how much I loved it. But I think the true joy of the novel is discovering the characters as I did. I hope you pick this one up, settle into your own Throne of Dreams (Lyndie’s favorite reading chair), and enjoy it over and over again.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.