Title: Need You Now
Author: Beth Wiseman
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2012
Brad and Darlene Henderson moved themselves and their three teenagers from Houston to Round Top, Texas, after one of the kids got into some trouble. Brad commutes back to his accounting firm in Houston, a 90-minute drive each way, to provide for his family. He works long hours, hoping--and expecting--to make partner, very soon; his goal is to earn enough money for Darlene to be able to refurbish her late grandparents’ farmhouse in whatever manner she desires.
Darlene has been a stay-at-home mom, but two of the children seem to have adapted well to small-town living, and middle kid Grace is the “perfect child” who never gives her parents reason to worry. So Darlene decides to apply for a teacher’s aide position at a small, private school “of last resort.” She is hired on the spot, and tensions begin to rise at home. A budding friendship between Darlene and Layla, the woman at the next farm, introduces other stresses, but also brings blessings to the whole family.
After a major threat to Grace comes to light, Darlene begins to feel as though the crises come from all sides. Grace, who really wants to be that “perfect child,” holds in so much that she has begun hurting herself. Dave, the widowed father of one of the students at the school, begins to pay too much attention to Darlene at a time when she and Brad are not communicating well. About the time Darlene is sure she can handle no more, Layla is critically injured.
Brad is faring little better than Darlene, but while they love each other deeply, they are not working together, and the problems mount up. Fighting, fear, secrets, guilt and the desperate effort to keep up a good front only make matters worse, until a major loss brings them—especially Darlene—to the breaking point.
Need You Now touched more than one emotional place in me. My heart ached throughout much of the book for the Hendersons, Layla and other characters. But this story speaks to the pain of a marriage in crisis, even one involving two people of faith who are totally committed to each other; and of a family in crisis, when someone’s deep needs are not being met. And as so often happens with people of faith, the breaking point leads this family back to the One who makes it possible to triumph over all that would destroy us. Wiseman reminds us, here, of two truths: No sin is any worse, or any less serious, than another; and we must—we really must—forgive one another.
This is my first non-Amish book by Beth Wiseman. While I have enjoyed most of her Amish books and novellas that I have read, not even the best of those can compare to this book for complexity, depth of character and storyline development. I would give Need You Now six stars, if it were possible. I cared about these characters, every one of them. They are all as broken as I am, and their triumph is mine.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.