Stories of redemption are perennial hits with readers of faith. In Grace from on High, author Elaine Martin recounts the story of her marriage and family and their growing Christian faith.
Grace opens with Elaine and “Larry” (she changes the names of family members but uses her own) experiencing a rough patch in their marriage; he’s inattentive and spends too much time partying with friends. Elaine prays for guidance and decides to lean on God for a solution. Eventually, she and Larry develop a very devout Christian faith. As their family grows, they move several times, either to be closer to their extended family, for better working conditions, or to accommodate their larger brood. They pray for guidance and seem to get it at every turn.
Martin is clearly earnest in her desire to share her story, but the decision to subtitle it “A Novel” while clearly stating it’s a true story is confusing. Additionally, there are times when the point of view shifts without warning, jarring the reader. Occasional misused, misspelled, or made-up words (“convicted” for “convinced,” “bride’smaid” for “bridesmaid,” etc.) add to the muddle.
Also, there’s very little for the family to overcome, since they seem to have their prayers answered within the hour or sooner. (Martin relates how she and her son saw a storm coming while out walking and how their prayers kept a small pocket of blue sky overhead until they reached home, whereupon it began to “poor” [sic] down rain.) The lack of tension and conflict diminishes reader engagement.
Despite the story’s flaws, the book clips along steadily, and readers who enjoy seeing strong faith rewarded will find some of the anecdotes in Grace from on High appealing.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.