This second course in the Defiance Texas Trilogy was a bit of a surprise to me. Instead of continuing with Jed Pepper’s story, Mary takes us deep into the lives of Daisy Chance’s fragile, drug-addicted mother, Emory, and Jed’s warm-hearted friend, Hixon, whose own life is marked by uncertainty and grief. From the story’s opening with the discovery of Daisy’s body until the very last page, Mary paints a heart-wrenching picture of the colors of grief, the depths of regret and guilt, and the stranglehold that drugs have on Emory. There are breathlessly touching moments of grace in Emory’s life as the reader is shown her inner struggle and the desperation she lives with each day. Doubts plague Hixon as he ministers faithfully to Emory even when nothing makes sense and his efforts seem futile.
Mary endears her characters to the reader by making them real even with the quirks that set them apart from the other residents of Defiance, Texas. Redemption shines through the pages as we realize that every life is precious, that God has a plan even when we can’t see it, and our job is to trust Him. I look forward to the final installment of this trilogy to find out what happens to these characters who’ve become like friends.
It’s probably helpful if you’ve read Daisy Chain, the first book in this series to understand the background and be more invested in the characters, but no matter how you do it, this is a series of powerful, redemptive books from a very gifted author.
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Blessings to you all!