I have not walked every road of pain. I’ve had my bouts of bad days, certainly, but I’ve been spared the private agonies of such trials as clinical depression, post-traumatic stress and sheer panic. I can only imagine what it must be like to feel as though you are tethered to nothing.
My dear friend Sharon Hinck’s newest release, Stepping Into Sunlight, ushers the reader straight into the shadowy world of emotional turmoil and she does it without melodrama. It feels real. Sometimes a little too much so.
Here’s the set-up: Penny Sullivan witnesses a terrible crime, one that shatters the routines of daily life and leaves her in the grip of fear. Ordinary days become more than she can handle. Her military husband is away at sea and she has a 7-year-old son depending on her so hiding isn’t an option. She formulates a restoration plan to keep from losing it compltely – do one kind thing for somebody every day.
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about it: “Hinck, a 2008 Christy finalist for visionary fiction, offers an especially grounded tale of sudden trauma and slow healing. Narrator Penny Sullivan witnesses a horrific crime shortly before her navy chaplain husband is deployed, so she is forced to cope alone with the psychological fallout from what she saw. Family issues from her past complicate her struggle and enhance its credibility. Strong Christian themes form a natural part of the narrative. Penny Sullivan’s faith is shaken, and she wonders why God would appear to permit evil and whether her emotional turmoil can be healed. A supporting cast of characters, from a nosy neighbor to the busy faithful servant to the downtrodden who heads a local mission, adds quirk and richness. Hinck is a mother of four, and it shows in authentic details in her characterization of the narrator’s worried, loving seven-year-old son who gets his first pet in some cute comic relief. Hinck has done her homework on post-traumatic stress syndrome, and is not afraid to show readers that challenges can deepen faith.”
Sharon has created wonderful new blog to dovetail with the release of the book where other bloggers can step up to the challenge of doing one kind thing everyday, kind of a pay-it-forward response to personal loss. It’s hard to wallow in self-pity when your feet are busy propelling you forward to help someone else. You can find the Penny’s Project blog here.
If you’d like to win a copy of Stepping Into Sunlight, just toss a comment onto my blog here by Monday, Sept. 29, at midnight. I’ll draw a winner Tuesday morning.
Life ain’t easy sometimes. The sun is usually shining somewhere, though. We just have to find our way out of the shadows and step into it.