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When You Believe    by Deborah Bedford order for
When You Believe
by Deborah Bedford
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

High school counselor Lydia Porter is pleased when one of her favorite students, sophomore Shelby Tatum, drops by her office one afternoon. But Shelby has a tale to tell that turns Lydia's world upside-down. She has been sexually abused, and accuses the wood shop teacher, Charlie Stains.

Lydia knows that she must report the accusation. What makes it so difficult is that Lydia and Charlie are secretly engaged. They kept their relationship quiet because of working at the same school. Now, Lydia is caught between the man she loves and her abused student. Though Charlie denies the charges, no one is sure what to believe. Will the truth prevail? Will Lydia discover God's plan in this devastating mess?

I didn't want to like When You Believe at first, being unenthusiastic about stories of people who have to defend themselves against false accusations. But below the surface, this story is about knowing and trusting God. Lydia is so happy to have finally found love, and when Shelby points the finger at Charlie, Lydia's faith in God and everything she believes in is shaken.

The author states that many incidents in this book are based on fact. Though the issue of sexual abuse of a child is a difficult one to read about, Deborah Bedford handles the complex subject in a sensitive way that brings hope. If you've been traveling through a trial in your life, When You Believe will help you find God's hand, even when it seems absent.

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