by Dee Henderson
This is the final book in O’Malley series, and focuses on Stephen, who is a paramedic. Completely burned out from his job (driving a squad to emergencies in Chicago is no tea party), emotionally exhausted from the illness and death of his youngest sister, and frustrated because the rest of his family have all become Christians and he can’t understand why, Stephen leaves for a long break. When he returns, he buys a small farm in a small town outside of Chicago, and is ready to start his new life.
I really enjoyed this book, as I have the entire series. This one involved a jewel thief parallel story line that seemed a bit obscure to me, but Stephen’s love interest, Meghan, is one of my favorite characters in the entire series, so the book was a bit of a toss-up for me. :-D I will say that it contains more excellent conversations about religion. I greatly appreciated this exchange–
“Why does it feel like God has conditions on loving me?”
“He doesn’t. You’re projecting your own list of what you think He should expect. It gets pretty intense when you realize He accepts you despite the fact that you’re a mess as the moment … Jesus is the kind who moves in, says I love you anyway, and then starts helping repair the mess. He means it when He says He loves you as you are, not based on what you’ve done. But He loves you too much to leave you in that chaos once you know Him.”
Henderson manages to capture that beautiful tension of the Christian life–Christ accepts us for who we are, without demanding us to “clean up” our lives in order to approach Him, but once we give our lives to Him, He helps us to clean them up, working alongside of us–a holy life is a result of a relationship with Christ, not a prerequisite.
I do feel like this book ends a bit abruptly. We’ve traveled along with this family for six fat books, and then it’s just sort of “and everyone lived happily ever after” kind of feel and that’s the end. Still, I really enjoyed this series as a whole, and this book in particular is an easy 4/5.