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The Still of Night    by Kristen Heitzmann order for
Still of Night
by Kristen Heitzmann
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Jill Runyan has spent fifteen years running from past mistakes. She has a good job as a special education teacher, excellent friends, and a decent boyfriend. Jill is devoted to the Lord and tries to live her faith, even though her closest friends aren't believers. She is haunted by the memory of the child she bore while in high school. Giving her baby up for adoption was the most difficult thing she ever did. And the fact that Morgan Spencer (her high school boyfriend and the babby's father) doesn't know the child is alive, makes it hard even now.

Morgan Spencer has made a fabulous life for himself. As a business consultant, his strengths lie in rescuing companies and making them thrive. When he left for college all those years ago, he believed that Jill aborted their baby. This emotional trauma cut him so deeply that he turned from his faith and sought solace in alcohol. His extreme wealth, material possessions, and even the good deeds he does for others, can't seem to fill those empty places inside.

Jill receives a letter in the mail from her child's adoptive mother. She learns that Kelsey has had leukemia for a number of years and that her last chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant. Jill rushes to be tested, only to find that she is not a match. Morgan is the last hope. Does Jill have the strength to confront her past and tell Morgan about his daughter? Can either of them handle the feelings that surface when they see each other again?

The Still of Night is emotionally trying but ultimately heartwarming. The characters attempt to make their way in the world, despite shortcomings and blind spots. This makes it easy to put yourself in their shoes. None of their decisions are easy, and my heart broke for the angst of each one and its consequences. I also appreciated that some of the storylines weren't resolved completely. The fact that every situation didn't wrap up nicely in a neat package made the book much more true to life.

This story includes many of the same characters from the author's previous A Rush of Wings. Morgan had a role in that book, as well as continuing characters Rick and Noelle. Though this newest offering does stand alone (enough background information is provided to bring readers up to speed), I recommend that you read A Rush of Wings first, as it adds depth and meaning to the characters and their struggles.

Spiritually, the novel deals on many levels with the fears and doubts Christians experience. Why does God allow good people to suffer? Do the sins of parents affect their children? This book doesn't offer pat answers, but does lead the reader to look to the Bible for understanding. Be prepared to laugh and cry, and ultimately to have your faith stretched and developed.

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