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Breaking Free Kindle Edition
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Alice Goddard's "forever and a day" has disintegrated into a marriage that appears to be unsalvageable. Her husband's alcoholism and gambling debts have spiraled out of control, prompting Alice to make a difficult, life-changing decision on behalf of her family.
Trent Goddard is becoming his father, destroying his career and potentially his marriage due to repeated poor choices. When he loses what is most precious, can anyone or anything give him hope?
Enjoy this sadly realistic story of life and love, lost and found, mercy and grace.
What if…after nearly 20 years of marriage, your spouse started staying out late and coming home drunk? Or stayed home hugging whatever booze is in the house. What if…you think he/she might even be having an affair? Then really creepy things start, such as thugs showing up at the door looking for him/her. You worry about your kids, as one is starting to emulate your spouse with tantrums, disrespect, drinking. How best can you honor God and your vows, even when it seems the Lord isn’t going to answer? Finally you take the kids and move out, but the kids are so angry that they stay with a different friend? Your mother tells you to go home and work it out, not wanting to hear what’s wrong.
Or think about this…What if…everything you do is hurting the love of your life, but you don’t know how to change? You want to stop drinking, but not drinking is torture? You love to play cards and watch the chips stack up in front of you. Maybe you’ll make up for what you lost yesterday. Then, on a losing streak, you owe the club a lot of money. Thousands. Bank accounts are empty, the mortgage is late…then the guy you owe the big bill to sends his kneecap breaking thugs to your door. They watch your house, follow your spouse. Your spouse leaves; you aren’t sure where the kids are. How did things get this bad?
The characters in ‘Breaking Free’, primarily the husband, Trent, and wife, Alice, are very realistically portrayed. This couple and their children were probably more challenging than most characters to work with due to the feelings of hopelessness and despair; I really commend the author for the vulnerability and authenticity of this suffering family. She successfully conveyed the pain of each family member. In addition, Alice’s best friend Beth and her new friend, Betty, gave massive injections of prayers and God’s grace. Ethan does the same for Trent, with one big difference – it is one addict or alcoholic who can best help another, because it is harder to con a fellow addict or alcoholic than a spouse, boss, or friend.
This novel is remarkable in its depth and scope. It is an excellent portrayal of what happens in families belonging to churches around the country and looks realistically at challenges that we as Christians need to address. The author writes as if she had walked many miles in both Trent’s and Alice’s shoes. My experiences are different in many ways, but I have walked a few of those miles; they are better with Jesus than without Him! The plot was not predictable as every family is different and hitting bottom is different for everyone. I would love to see a follow up novel to this, but was very satisfied with the ending. This novel firmly places Jennifer Slattery as a ‘go-to’ writer of authentic Christian fiction. I highly recommend ‘Breaking Free’ to fans of the author, to those in the church who don’t understand but want to, to those who may be in the downward spiral of addiction of any kind or alcoholism, to those who appreciate excellent Christian fiction and might be in various 12-step groups and Celebrate Recovery.
From a grateful heart: I was given the book by Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and here is my honest review.
~ What ~
This three-hundred-and twenty-page paperback targets those who like contemporary Christian romances. With no profanity, topics of gambling, dog-fighting, alcoholism, and divorce may not be appropriate for young readers.
In current-day Seattle, Trent and Alice Goddard’s marriage is rapidly falling apart after nineteen years. Following in his father’s footsteps by drinking heavily, the husband has become a poor example to his two teenage sons. With large gambling debts and production issues at work, Trent sinks deeper into his addictions while his wife abruptly leaves him, losing her two son’s faith in her in the process.
Only when both individuals look inward and call out to God, do they find the strength and peace when they realize what is the most important.
~ Why ~
With the topic of a marriage that is falling apart due to an alcoholic, gambling husband and wife who wants to give up, the book focuses on how God allows us to hit rock bottom before we turn to Him for help. I like how the author weaved the iconic locations and streets into the story.
~ Why Not ~
Some may not like that the book describes the downward spiral of what happens to a family dealing with alcoholism. Others may notice cliches in the characters of some of Alice’s church-goer friends and homeless alcoholics.
~ Who ~
Having written several novels, Slattery writes Christian living articles and devotions on her blog as well as ministers to the poor and homeless. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and teenage daughter.
~ Wish ~
I wish the ending were not as abrupt or predictable, but it does leave room for a sequel regarding the family’s problems.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for a reminder how drinking and gambling can devastate more than one person but an entire family, this is a good reminder that God’s love, mercy, and grace can help at one’s darkest hours.
Thanks to the Book Club Network, New Hope Publishers, and the author for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.