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Shades of Morning: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Marlo Schalesky
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.00 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Marnie didn’t know much about miracles.
Mistakes maybe. Accidents. And monstrous mess-ups. She knew a lot about those.
But miracles? Those were for other people.

Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.
Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned.
            As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Book and coffee shop owner Marnie Wittier lives on the opposite end of the country from where she grew up; she needs that much distance from her past. But her past won't stay away; her estranged sister, Rose, dies and Marnie is named guardian of Rose's 15-year-old son, Emmit, who has Down syndrome. Another complication: Rose's attorney is Taylor Cole, whom Marnie once loved. The complicated family history unreels in the narrative, alternating with Marnie's learning to cope with the sweet and very challenging Emmit. Schalesky leavens a story that could be sad with friendly, quirky touches: Marnie's customers, her iguana Max. Some devices seem contrived: Marnie's box of memorabilia that signifies major life events, the cute meeting between Marnie and Taylor. But Christy-award winning Schalesky (Beyond the Night) has a good feel for psychological complexity. And a reader won't see the nice twist at the end coming until it hits like the California earthquake that opens the book. The story's not 100% plausible, but it's satisfying and charming. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for
Shades of Morning

“Will Marnie and Taylor, torn apart sixteen years ago, find a way to overcome, seemingly impossible, barriers and find happiness? Shades of Morning, superbly crafted by veteran author, Marlo Schalesky, presents a sense of family and love that will touch the reader's soul.  The book is a memorable journey into a woman's heart and the lessons she learns about real family loyalty.  Reader, prepare yourself for a surprise ending!”
— Irene Brand, best-selling author of Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska and Made for Each Other

Shades of Morning is magical! Full of the wonder of love, true love. It surprised me on every page. I loved it!”
— Deborah Raney, author of Almost Forever and the Clayburn Novels 

 “Each of Marlo Schalesky’s inspirationally unique stories are “like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get” and Shades of Morning is no exception. From the first page, I fell for the beautifully drawn and flawed characters, and by the end, I wanted to hug them, especially Emmit. What an angel.” 
— Tamara Leigh, author of Nowhere, Carolina and Leaving Carolina

Shades of Morning is a gripping story of grace and forgiveness in the face of years of secrets, half-truths, and running. Yet it is so much more. Marnie and Tyler became people I cared about from the opening pages, yet I wondered how the tangled web of their past could ever unravel to show the promise of a future. And the image of God revealed in the prose speaks to me even now after I’ve reached the end.”
—    Cara C. Putman, author of Cornhusker Dreams and Stars in the Night

“Poignant. Heartfelt. Compelling. This latest novel by Marlo Scha...

Product Details

  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1601420250
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; 1 edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4C02
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,914 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heartwarming Tale... July 12, 2010
This is a story of love, loss and family secrets. Marnie had moved to California 16 years ago and opened a book/coffee shop. She thought that secrets of her past were just that, secrets, until she gets a letter from a lawyer she knew from her past, telling her that her sister,Rose, had died in a freak accident and that she was now guardian of a 15 year old nephew, that she did not know she had. Marnie has no desire to be a guardian or parent of anyone, let alone a nephew that turns out has Down's Syndrome. Marnie has a box called her 'regrets' box that she has used for momentos and slips of paper of memories and regrets that she would like to forget. Emmitt keeps opening this box and with his insistence Marnie is able to face the regrets and sorrows that this box contains.Emmitt proves to be a handful and Marnie is stressed to the breaking point trying to do the right thing by Emmitt and still run her business. Marnies life is turned upside down what with having no clue how to take care of a Down's child and deal with the secrets of her past which include Taylor Cole, her sister's lawyer. Taylor had once been a man that Marnie had loved and it is because of this love that Marnie flee's across the country. As time goes by Emmitt and Taylor work their way to her heart and she learns to find the love that she thought she would never know again. Her faith in God has been tested over the years and Marnie is not sure what she should believe in. The ending, which of course I will not write about as that would spoil the story for the reader, I was totally unprepared for. Needless to say the whole story comes together in the end. I feel that Emmitt restores her faith and she is able to do what is necessary to find and keep the love she thought was lost to her. I really enjoyed this story and like I said was very surprised at the ending..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching story with great characters! August 9, 2010
Years ago, Marnie Wittier moved across country and started a new life, but when her sister is tragically killed in an accident, she leaves her 15 year old son, Emmit, to Marnie. The plot thickens as Marnie's old boyfriend, her first and only love, Taylor, is the lawyer charged to make Emmit's transition successful. Emmit shows up in California with an extra surprise when Marnie meets him and discovers that he has Down Syndrome. She doesn't believe that she can be someone's mom, let alone deal with the extra needs of this child; so she and Taylor start an email communication, and they both remember the past.

I loved this book, mostly because of the characters: Emmit with Down's Syndrome, Marnie with her boxful of regrets, and Taylor who just watched and waited. I have a heart for special needs kids, so Emmit just touched me; the way he loved and the joy he had was beautiful. I personally found one of the major twists in the story was unnecessary, and because of that twist, there was, what I felt to be, a bit of a discrepancy. Even with this one complaint, I would highly recommend the book.

The narration flows smoothly from present day Marnie to her memories, to present day Taylor and his memories. Each event and memory works together to develop and grow the characters. God works on the hearts of all the characters, but especially Marnie who begins to understand the strength of God's forgiveness. The novel had a strong theme and life application. I finished the book attached to the characters and thanking Jesus for his grace and second chances. He is an amazing God, and He regularly uses circumstances and people to bring us closer to Him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and Moving July 23, 2010
"Some people were meant to love. Others only watched from the outside....because once, a long time ago, she had a single chance to love. One glimmering impossible opportunity. And she'd blown it. Big time."

Today Marnie meets her sisters' child for the first time. He's fifteen and has Downs's syndrome. How could her sister Rose, keep a secret like this? Taylor, the executor of her sister's will and former friend was asking the impossible; she couldn't raise Rose's son, Emmit. Marnie was single and had a coffee shop to run, people depended on her. Her life was full, and no room for anything else. But the longer Emmit stayed and the more she learned about him, a surprising thing happened. Marnie realizes she needs him. "Emmit was showing her the way home. He was showing her how to trust," in people and in God again.

Taylor realizes he has his own struggles with God and Marnie...."God, who wanted him to let go. God, who had never stopped pursuing him. God, who wanted the past for Himself." Why couldn't he let go? What was he afraid of?

I'm so glad I received a review copy of this amazing, powerful, heartfelt story. Marlo has a talent to captivate you from the start and immediately draw on your heart strings, because her characters are believable and they deal with circumstances beyond themselves. I felt for Emmit's situation as he was forced to live with an Aunt he'd never met.

This author captures the endearing qualities of Emmit and the real issues he struggles with being a Down's syndrome teenager, but at the same time you'll see the simple way he views life and knows what's important. He hopes Marnie realizes it before it's too late.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
It took a while to get really interested in this book. There was a lot of jumping from one time period to another.
Published 17 months ago by Sue
3.0 out of 5 stars Faithful Folios Review of Shades of Morning
Customer Video Review
Length: 0:25 Mins
Published on July 30, 2010 by Shawneda
5.0 out of 5 stars Great summer read!
I loved this book! I had a hard time in beginning getting into it, but after I figured out what was going on then I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published on July 21, 2010 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Morning Review

Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. Read more
Published on July 21, 2010 by TAMARA CONNER
3.0 out of 5 stars A good story that goes off balance in the end
I enjoyed reading this book right up until the end. It started off well and became a real page turner as I couldn't wait to find out if my guesses as to the secrets of Marnie's... Read more
Published on July 17, 2010 by F. Jury
3.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Morning...
The advanced press all sounded positive so I was excited to begin Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky. Read more
Published on July 16, 2010 by T. Kerns
4.0 out of 5 stars mysterious and other-worldly
If you like mysteriously lovely and other-worldly reads, this is the book for you. It's a satisfying story of redemption and forgiveness with moments that reminded me of "Expecting... Read more
Published on July 16, 2010 by Jamie Driggers
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing love story
This gripping novel was well-written and I loved the plot twists. It was a page-turner, especially towards the end. Read more
Published on July 16, 2010 by H. Main
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good, some bad.
Marnie's doing OK with her bookstore and coffee shop business. Well, she's lonely, and her life is full of regret. But she escaped her past and created this new life for herself. Read more
Published on July 16, 2010 by WordLily
4.0 out of 5 stars Shades of Morning
I truly enjoyed this book, even though I didn't like that it kept saying how many sins, regrets, etc everyone had. It took a long time to find out what their sins were. Read more
Published on July 16, 2010 by L. Slawson
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More About the Author

Besides writing books that I hope you'll buy (!), I also run an engineering firm and have recently earned my Masters degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Originally, I was a research chemist (I got my bachelor's degree in chemistry at Stanford University in 1988), but I always knew I wanted to write. So, I'm grateful to be weaving stories that whisper of grace, of mystery, and of surprise. Find out more about me at or like my Facebook page at


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