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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications; First Edition edition (November 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825420083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825420085
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,783,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“It’s not like gravity suddenly loses its grip and you float upward. You don’t follow a beam of light up, up into heaven. It’s not like that at all. You walk to the edge of a cliff, turn your back, close your eyes, and lean your head and shoulders out so far your legs can’t keep your balance and you fall down, down, down. I know Jesus will catch me. But I still can’t do it. Not yet.”

To distract herself from the pain of her failed marriage, Laurelle, the mother of five-year-old twins, decides to visit a dying, homebound member of her church. Despite running two plant-care businesses and being reluctant to open herself up to this peculiar older woman, Laurelle continues to visit and hears fascinating stories from Rhoda’s colorful and heartbreaking past in Depression-era Texas and Calexico, California.

Laurelle grows to trust Rhoda and adapts her quiet strength as Laurelle struggles to be a good mom to her son and daughter, determines what role their father should play in their lives, and wonders whether she could have a healthy relationship with another man.

Internally broken yet determined to be strong, Laurelle searches for truth and healing through Rhoda’s stories and her own daily life, and tries to find a way to love others truly, deeply, and without restraint. Laurelle and Rhoda both learn that while life can be hard and disappointing, to hope is a decision.

Judy Alexander works as a freelance writer and photographer and teaches a public relations course as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Irvine, California. Her essays and fiction have been published in The Community Inc., Pacific Review, Pleiades Magazine, and Concho River Review. The mother of two sons, she lives in Santa Ana, California.

About the Author

Judy Alexander holds an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Irvine, and she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in social ecology. She currently works part-time as a Web-content and newsletter writer at a mortgage services company and also teaches a public relations course as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Irvine, California. Her essays and fiction have been published in The Community Inc. (http://www.thecommunityinc.com), Scribbling Towards Forgiveness, Creative Roadblocks, Pacific Review, Pleiades Magazine, and Concho River Review.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a valuable lesson to us all I think.
Susanna Hutcheson
She is the manager of Henderson's Wholesale Greenhose which is a job she comes to love and for which she has proven skills.
Erika Borsos
I look forward to more from this author in the future.
Heather Brush

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Erika Borsos VINE VOICE on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
Judy Alexander writes an intriguing tale about how Laurelle, a recently separated mother of twins eventually comes to grips with divorcing from her husband and gets her life back on track. It is not an easy journey. She is the manager of Henderson's Wholesale Greenhose which is a job she comes to love and for which she has proven skills. At times, she has emotional upheavals which make her doubt her abilty to make it - as a single mom. Her love for her children, her independent spirit, and her courageous nature come forth in ways she did not expect.

The intensity of her love for Mitchell and Marnie her five year old twins above all comes through in this very engaging and well written story. The
characters are believable and the reader develops a fondness for all of them. Laurelle notices a jogger comes around her neighborhood on a regu-lar basis. It turns out to be the minister of a local church. Eventually Laurelle visits his church and joins for the sake of her children, who need stable values and a proper moral upbringing. Later, Laurelle learns she benefits more from this decision possibly than anyone could have pos-sibly predicted. To her surprise, Mark, the minister shares his personal story with her, that he is divorced and turned to the church and entered the seminary after his marriage broke up. He seems to understand her personal and emotional upheavals more than she thinks. He suggests she visit an elderly shut in, Rhoda who was a church member and Sunday school teacher, until her illness prevented her from traveling in a car, even the distance to church. While initially leery of making the visits to Rhoda and her husband Tony a regular habit. Laurelle found herself drawn to this emotionally honest elderly lady, who it turned out was not as old as she looked.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cathe Fein Olson VINE VOICE on February 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
Laurelle, a recently divorced mother of 5-year-old twins, is struggling to make ends meet. In order to give her children some stability, she gets involved in a church and ends up visiting an sick, elderly woman. As the woman shares the stories of her life, Laurelle is drawn in and has to decide if she wants to let down her barriers and trust someone again.

Realistic characters and situations plus good writing make this a very compelling read. Though it's definitely Christian lit, it's not overly preachy and the characters are definitely not holier-than-though types - they are real people dealing trying to get through tough situations the best way they can - and in the process learn that they are not alone.

A very enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a warm story about a woman who must overcome many problems and come to grips with life. Very true to life in that way. The nice thing about the story is that Laurelle, the mother of five-year-old twins, reaches outside of herself to find peace and happiness and fulfillment. This is a valuable lesson to us all I think.

I remember my own mother who had cancer telling me to stop thinking of myself and find someone to help or someone else to think about and be concerned about. She said it would make me feel better. Sure enough it did. And it helped her when she did that as well in her own struggle.

I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Brown on December 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
This modern situation of a single mom is believable, humorous and real life. The struggles she goes through with her twins, ex, parents and sister are not sugar coated, although they portray a Christian ethic. The love story that is hinted at is intriging.

The real entertainment is the plethora of oral stories that are passed down to the protagonist. It is like getting through a hectic day of stresses and sitting down to hear your grandmother tell you about what went on in her day. The modern story vs. the olden days is a wonderful contrast. Ms. Alexander has woven a lot of history into a novel. She has incorporated unique items, such as roller pigeons and revenuers.

Very warm. I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Laurelle visits a dying, homebound member of her church, as a desperate attempt to relieve her mind of the burden of her failed marriage. In "Desert Medicine", Author, freelance writer, photographer and professor Judy Alexander crafts an elaborate, touching tale where a hurt woman is healed by the tales of another and uses the strength gained to attempt to become a better mother to her children, dealing with her troublesome Ex-Husband, while considering if a relationship with another man is really possible. "Desert Medicine" is a touching tale from first page to last and is highly recommended to fiction fans everywhere and for chick lit community library shelves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lori Kasbeer on February 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Desert Medicine is about a young mother of twins who is going through a divorce and has lost her sense of family. Laurelle refuses to feel sorry for herself, or to be classified as a "bitter divorcee," so she volunteers to help an older woman who has cancer. Laurelle has found that the older woman, Rhoda, had also lost her sense of family many years ago.

Laurelle grows closer to Rhoda, while at the same time struggling to be a good Mom. Through stories Rhoda shares, Laurelle begins to find healing. But in the end both Rhoda and Laurelle find out that life is hard and there may be much pain in the journey but to hope for the future is a conscious decision they both had to make.

This is not a book you can read and just walk away from. You think about it days later. If you are involved in a book reading club, this book would be an excellent book to discuss. Desert Medicine brought out every emotion in me, anger, joy, frustration, and crying at different times throughout the book. As a reader you become part of Laurelle's life, and when you finish the book you feel like you have lost a friend. Even when you are close to completing the book, you still have no idea how it will end. Alexander took all the emotions I felt throughout this book, and pierced my heart right up to the final page. This is a book you don't want to give up on half way through; there is treasure at the end. Life is messy, and filled with imperfect people, but God is sovereign and can work through all situations. I recommend adding this book to your must-read list of 2008.
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