Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Chance at Forever (Teaville Moral Society series) - Melissa Jagears

Teaville, Kansas and Mercy McClain finds herself in a predicament. She will protect all children from the bullying she experienced as a child. So, when her former tormentor arrives for a job interview as a Math teacher, Mercy wonders if anyone on the board recognizes him. Should she tell them exactly who he is?

Changing his name from George to Aaron doesn't mean he can escape from his past. Not that he wants to. Aaron Firebrook is very much aware of what he did when he was younger. And, he's returned to Teaville make amends.Then he meets with Mercy at the interview. She can make or break his new found career in teaching. He'll find employment elsewhere until he hears news of the position.

Aaron finds the job he needs and strives to keep himself to himself. He's on a mission to seek out those he mistreated. Some have forgiven his actions, others, like Mercy, have not and are making him work hard for redemption. Again, not that he's complaining. He was a bully but he has to solicit forgiveness of others.

Mercy bites her tongue when she discovers that Aaron has a job at the orphanage. Should she say something to Mr. Lowe about who Aaron is...was? A bully shouldn't be around children. But, the young woman has to put her trust firmly in the hands of God. Yet, is so difficult. Can she stand being around Aaron when he evokes awful memories of his teasing? Running the orphanage along with her brother and sister-in-law will mean that she can avoid as much as possible.

Then she finds her brother, Timothy frequenting the town's saloon. Whilst the work at the orphanage is geared toward the unwanted children of prostitutes, Mercy doesn't expect to see kin in the less than desired parts of town. Timothy would lose his job if she mentions anything to Nicholas Lowe (owner of the orphanage). But Timothy is hardly around and then she finds him drunk in the kitchen.With no help from his wife Caroline, who enjoys the finer points of living at the orphanage but wants little to do with the children themselves. However, with confession comes consequences such as will they all lose their jobs and a home.

When Aaron shows a gentler, kinder side, especially with a troublesome child called Jimmy, Mercy starts to doubt her prejudice. Has she been wrong to hold on to the past so vehemently? After all, she's not facing Aaron, a schoolboy, but a man. Can a bully change?

With Timothy's questionable behavior, Caroline's apathy, and then the unexpected request for Aaron to adopt one of the orphans, can Mercy accept her bully's help but even more so, God's?

A great story of redemption, forgiveness and understanding. Many stories will portray a bully, few will show what led them to that point. Jagears has written an understanding tale, one that captures the emotions of its lead characters, all of which are well defined. Although part of a series, the story reads well as a 'stand-alone'. A recommended read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House to review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique.

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