Title: Grace in Strange Disguise
Author: Christine Dillon
Series: Grace, book 1
Major Themes: Australia, Cancer, Faith, Salvation
Synopsis: Esther’s life was nearly perfect, and she was content—until she suddenly found herself facing surgery and chemotherapy, and realized that her father’s mantra didn’t always hold true.
One day last week, I wanted something easy to read, that I didn’t necessarily have to write a review for. At times like that, I find the next book in alphabetical order on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet, so sometimes I come up with something unexpectedly good and sometimes I come up with a real dud. This time, I found Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon. As I do when I’m reading the next one in alphabetical order, I just opened it and started reading—and was immediately hooked. Apparently, this is a book I picked up for free a few years ago. Often a free book turns out to be subpar, but this one is very good.
Esther had a good life. Her father was a pastor of a mega-church in Sydney, Australia, and she had finally found a boyfriend that he approved of. She loved her job as a physiotherapist and now she was preparing for her wedding. Everything was going well, and she was pleasing her father. She had learned how to relate to him without rocking the boat, so he would never get angry with her, and she believed his frequent refrain, “Follow Jesus, and you will be blessed.”
Then suddenly, everything changed. With very little warning, Esther was facing surgery and chemotherapy. What was she doing wrong? An unexpected encounter sent her searching for answers in the Bible. Now suddenly, Esther had to make a decision. Should she believe what she found in the Bible, or continue to please her father and avoid conflict?
What better way is there to convey truth than in the framework of a story? In Grace In Strange Disguise the author clearly describes the way of salvation and demonstrates a very effective way of sharing the Gospel. The method that Grace learned reminds me of the Bible study a woman led a group of women through when I was at a ladies’ retreat several years ago. It really impressed me then, and I found it inspiring in this book, too. This is a great book for anyone who wants women’s fiction that is not romance. I really appreciated it, and found myself not wanting to stop reading because I wanted to find out what happened next.
One thing I found quite interesting was Esther’s father’s attitudes and the way he ran his church. It reminded me quite strongly of a cult that is based near us. We have a fair amount to do with people who have come out of it, and their stories sound a lot like what I read about in this book—things like “So now she was to be placed in the wrong.” The next sentence gives part of the answer to how to handle treatment like that: “Somehow, identifying what manipulative technique her father used, helped remove her from its power.” It felt like Esther learned the lessons she needed to faster and more effortlessly than is normal, so I would caution readers not to expect to see the same kind of instant change and growth in real life. There is a lot to learn here, though! And, now I want to read the rest of the series.
WARNING: Breast cancer is a theme throughout the book.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults