The Holy Secret by James Ferrell

Title: The Holy Secret

Author: James Ferrell

Publisher: Deseret Book

Release Date: April 2, 2008

ISBN: 978-1590387184

Size: 224 pages, hardback

Genre: General, Inspirational

Many today carry a secret: We do not love what we have been commanded to love. We do not love what is holy. Although we might reverence things that are deemed holy—the temple, for example, and the scriptures, and the Sabbath—we do not love them. Not really. Not with our whole souls.

The Holy Secret is the story of a man who learns how to love what matters. As he does, he learns another secret: Love for holiness transforms life itself. His realization of what he had been missing may lead you to some discoveries of your own!

The Crayon Messages by Christine Thackeray

Title: The Crayon Messages

Author: Christine Thackeray

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Release Date: April, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59955-148-7

Size: 128 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″, paperback

Genre: General, Women

Cath Reed has been feeling desperately lonely. With a husband alway traveling, a daughter on the brink and still adjusting to her new ward, she hopes her new visiting teaching route will bring some much needed companionship. Then she finds out she has been given the hardest visiting teaching route ever with the surly inactive Bishop’s wife at the top of the list. At least her companion Gwen seemed nice, an older woman in a nursing home who said no one had visited her in years.

Using this to her advantage, Cath calls her new sisters and convinces them to cheer Gwen up. Surprisingly most agree but when Cath arrives at the Pleasant Valley Home for the Elderly she is disappointed to find Gwen fast asleep. Apparently Gwen has a sleeping disorder called KSL and no one knows when she will wake up- it could be weeks. Armed with a bucket of crayons and a handful of paper, Cath convinces the sisters to write Gwen notes so when she does wake up, she’ll know some cares. What no one guessed is that Gwen would write back and change all of these women’s lives forever.

Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar

Title: Keeping Keller

Author: Tracy Winegar

Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.

Release Date: March, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59955-115-9

Size: 5.5×8.5 paperback; 218 pages

Genre: General

Keller is a force to be reckoned with!

The year is 1955, and few people understand or tolerate mental handicaps. For Beverly and Warren Vance, the daily struggle to live with their handicapped son, Keller, is taking its toll. Keller is large for his age and often aggressive, prone to throwing tantrums and breaking everything in sight. Beverly and Warren have been encouraged to institutionalize him, or at least keep him out of public view. But they decided long ago that trying to teach and raise him was a better option–at least until now. When a shocking development and a disastrous incident complicate their decision, the lines between right and wrong become increasingly blurred. Yet in the end, through their own choices they come to understand that the most important thing in life is family.

Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom

Title: Bound on Earth

Author: Angela Hallstrom

Publisher: Parables (Bentley Enterprises)

Release Date: February 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-961-4960-9-8

Size: 6×9; 212 pages

Genre: Literary

“In this novel, Angela Hallstrom demonstrates an admirable mastery of the art of fiction. In essence, it is the history of an extended Mormon family. Composed of vignettes–some of which have been published as stories–the novel advances from the present into the future, retreats momentarily to the past, or works laterally to include nearly simultaneous episodes. The point of view shifts deftly among a widowed grandmother, her son and daughter-in-law, their three daughters and their husbands. The style is strong and functional, unerring in its cadence and nicely balanced between the formal and the colloquial.

“The subtle background to this novel is the Mormon world view, established without preaching or assumptions of superiority. But it presents a far from idealized vision of reality. By moments the members of this extended family writhe with conflict, tension, depression, self-pity, and misbehavior. The attempts of the strong willed mother to guide and intervene often disrupt rather than heal. Her husband nearly succumbs to the veiled allurement of a seductive sister in their ward. A teen aged daughter conceives a baby out of wedlock. Another daughter is distraught by the birth of a fourth son, deeply disappointed that she has not at last borne a daughter. Yet another daughter marries–and determines to stay with–a bi-polar husband who periodically lapses into abuse. Yet ultimately their underlying bond with one another–their willingness to affirm whoever claims a place among them–triumphs. Though bound on earth, this is a family that will endure in eternity.

“If there’s a lesson to be learned from this novel, it’s that the pain and endurance required to create a family are worth it. In the final vignette, the dying matriarch of the family attends the celebration of the wedding anniversary of her son and daughter-in-law. She is greatly comforted just to be there, watching while “wives turn to husbands, fathers to children, and life keeps spinning forward, loose and free as a ribbon off a spool.” In heaven, she concludes, “there will be children there, and music, and cake, and husbands and wives and daughters and sons.” That is a picture of eternity that she can accept. —Levi Peterson, author of The Backslider and editor of Dialogue magazine