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06 Dec 2021
Christian Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction

Breath of Heaven (An Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction Novel, #1) 

Breath of Heaven (An Orchard Grove Christian Women’s Fiction Novel, #1)

She hasn’t fallen out of love with her husband. She just can’t stand his church. Katrina’s idea of a pastor’s wife doesn’t match reality. She expected a warm welcome and spiritually stimulating conversations. The last thing she expected was a church congregation that was so imperfect. So…human. As Katrina adjusts to her new title as pastor’s wife and the small town living of Orchard Grove, she’s … and the small town living of Orchard Grove, she’s grieving what she had to leave behind. Everything that identified her as Katrina is gone: her music, the symphony, and the city life that made her feel alive.

 

Journey to Orchard Grove, where Katrina’s attempts at filling the void with her husband’s affection leave her feeling more alone than when she was single. What will it take for her to realize it’s only when she surrenders to the One who loves her unconditionally that she will be truly satisfied.

 

Come sit in the pews where real believers face real struggles and come face to face with the God whose plans are far more glorious than what the mortal mind could ever imagine.

 

Is your God too small?

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  1. Avatar of nicolechristianfictiongirl
    nicolechristianfictiongirl

    Ephesians 5:1-2 states, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” These two verses illustrate one of the main themes I believe Alana Terry wants her readers to glean from this very well-written novel. The main character of Breath of Heaven is Katrina. Katrina is a very young, newly married woman. Her husband, Greg, is the pastor of a little church in Orchard Grove, Washington. I’m going to be honest, I struggled hard with the congregation at Orchard Grove Bible Church. They are selfish, self-focused, underhanded with their comments, and SO gossipy. They frustrated me at almost every turn. I’m an introvert through and through, so the idea of people being up in other peoples’ private business is abhorrent to me. I was right there with Katrina every time she complained (in her head) about the congregants and their very annoying ways. About 3/4 into the book, however, I started to dislike the thoughts I was having about these busybody characters. My thoughts were not imitating Christ, and I didn’t like it. Instead, I began to consider how Jesus would have treated those people. I know for a fact that He would have shown them love because it says so right in Ephesians 5:1-2. He would not have been judgmental. He would not have had rude thoughts about them. And, He would not have wanted to make excuses to get away from them. Jesus would have just shown them His love, His kindness, His mercy, and His grace. Ephesians 5:1 tells me to imitate God, not tear people down, which means I need to show people love, kindness, mercy, and grace — even people who seem undeserving.

    Reading this novel convicted me of my tendency to judge. I judge people and it’s a really nasty habit. Like Katrina, I realize that I am no better than anyone else. I sin, too. There is a moment in the novel where Katrina states, “The problem with sins was they were like dirty dishes. No matter how many you confessed, there were still more to be forgiven for the next day.” The real problem is that we go about our day doing things we do not realize are sins. I get frustrated when I am driving because someone cuts me off and I have to slam on my brakes hoping I don’t hit the guy. I judge the person to be a jerk. BAM! I just sinned. I feel justified to call the driver who cut me off a jerk, but that is my sin of judgement smacking me right in the face. Katrina is totally correct — confessing our sins to Jesus often feels like an endless list that never goes away no matter how hard we try. Thank goodness Jesus “gave Himself up for us” so we have a way to a cleaner heart and a clear path to God.

    I felt Alana Terry did an excellent job of illustrating how naive we can be when we first get married. When we are six we see marriage through rose-colored glasses and stick to this rosy picture as we get older even though evidence points otherwise. Then we are shocked when our rose-colored glasses are removed. We’re blown away by how hard marriage is — at least I was. What Katrina goes through during the first few months of her new marriage was a struggle to read because it reminded me of my first two years of marriage. They were exceptionally tough years, and my husband and I had a few really dark days — days we weren’t sure we were going to make it through. I absolutely loved when Katrina realizes that her husband is not responsible for “completing her.” It took me two solid years to learn this lesson. The only One who completes me is God, likewise for Katrina in this story. Once I learned this lesson, my marriage became a gift from God rather than the burden I had allowed it to become.

    Alana Terry is a fabulous storyteller. Her writing is stellar, her characters — especially Katrina — are so well written and realistic, and her story line is captivating. I really could not put this book down. This was the first book that I’ve read by Alana Terry, but it definitely won’t be my last. I am so glad I got the opportunity to read Breath of Heaven. It was a blessing to me for several reasons, but mostly because this book held a mirror up and I realized I have a lot of work I need to undertake — with God’s help, of course. If you are looking for a great novel to escape into, I highly recommend Breath of Heaven.

    I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  2. Avatar of djman72
    djman72

    In this book you learn about the struggles a new pastor and his wife go through. Orchard Grove is a hard church to please with the gossip and complaining. Alana Terry will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. This book is truly inspirational and you will feel God working throughout this book. I had the honor to review this book for the author for a honest review.

  3. Avatar of pat
    pat

    When I read this book I felt all kinds of emotions. This minister’s wife is so vulnerable & I started wondering how much I have caused pain for minister’s & their wives in the past. Made me want to pray for both pastor’s & their wives more! Also to remember to encourage not judge which we can only do through the Holy Spirit. If one is continually being criticized by their flock it is no wonder there is burnout! This book gives a lot of food for thought about our congregations ministers, & their wives & how we treat them. I received a complementary copy of this book & I am reviewing it voluntarily.

  4. Avatar of deb
    deb

    Having grown up in a small town & living on the same block with both my church and the pastors house I have always been aware of some of the dynamics of their lives. It wasn’t until attended as an adult, however, that I realized more of the challenges faced by not just the pastor but his family as well. But in this wonderfully written book Alana broaches so many topics that I have never thought of! The challenges Katrina & Greg faced were beyond what could have been met without the help of God! Going into a marriage is difficult enough to adjust to especially when Katrina was not given a healthy example. But pulling her out of the big city & her music activities alone are a huge adjustment. I love the way Alana described the way these things alone affected her. With being such a private person the added affect of having had a miscarriage touched every area of her life. Greg knew what living in this small town was like as he grew up there. But the incredible demands put on him by the church are something only one with the talent (and likely experience) of Alana would be able to describe so effectively! I love the way the bad habits of so many of the church members show that we are all sinners save by grace! The many experiences faced by both Greg & Katrina individually, as a couple & leaders of a church helps readers come to the realization that our pastor and his family are people just like anyone else. I believe this book is a stark reminder to us all to not put them on a pedestal as well as how important it is to give them space & time for privacy. The way Alana has of bringing out the raw, personal side of people is shown once again in this well written book. It shows how each person has a past and present struggles not often written about as it doesn’t fit with the “happily ever after” scenario.

  5. Avatar of tumcsec
    tumcsec

    This was a breath of real life from Katrina’s point of view. She had no idea when she married Greg what it would be like to be a pastor’s wife. Married young, taken from big city to small community, one where everyone knows everybody’s business, especially in the small church where Greg is the new pastor. Gossips, critics, backbiters, all things you wouldn’t necessarily expect from Christians. And just because they live in the parsonage that the church owns, members think they can drop in any time they want.
    I felt sympathy for Katrina. She had an idealized notion of what married life would be like. Not very realistic at all. Her salvation is her music and her violin. I loved the descriptions of how she felt when she was playing. Interesting to note also was how her upbringing by her mom affected her adult life. She also had a nervous habit of twisting her wedding ring around on her finger.
    I enjoyed stepping into the lives of Greg and Katrina and the Orchard Grove Bible Church. It was a breath of fresh air from the cookie cutter, happily ever after stories.
    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through CelebrateLit but was not required to write a review.

  6. Avatar of deana
    deana

    One of the things I like best about this author is how she takes a subject and writes honest and realistic stories that readers can relate to. I appreciate her transparency and compassion as she tackles subjects that are hard to talk about. As I started reading the book, I instantly started having memories of my dad. He was a baptist preacher and I remember how my brothers and I were under a microscope among the congregation. My mother was always this quiet person who obeyed whatever my dad said. We presented ourselves as this loving family to the church . What people didn’t know was the dark secrets that were hidden from the church.

    Katrina is a wonderful character who wanted to make her husband proud of her. Her position as the pastor’s wife was prestigious and the congregation watched her every move. The author portrayed Katrina perfectly as she felt pressure from everywhere. There is always that one woman in the church who takes it upon herself to tell the pastor’s wife what she thinks of how the church is running. Mrs. Porter maybe meant well, but I felt she put a lot of pressure on Katrina. It is so easy to point fingers at someone else, so you don’t have to address your downfalls. ” The problem with sins was they were like dirty dishes. No matter how many you confess, there were still more to be forgiven for the next day.”

    Greg is a good character who wants to succeed as pastor so bad, that sometimes it interferes with his home life. I wondered if he would ever catch on that his wife was so unhappy. Gregg is focused on the elders, phone calls from the congregation at all hours of the day and trying to juggle a home life. There is also the gossip that goes on at church. There is no hiding from it, it is always lurking ready to pounce and cause friction in the church. I loved how the author talked about control and acceptance. I have found it to be one of the hardest things to overcome especially in a church. Katrina wants to be accepted so bad, that she allows others to control her and ultimately make her insecure.

    Bitterness creeps up on Katrina throughout the years and suddenly spills into her marriage. One of the key messages in this book is about communication , pride and forgiveness. The deeper Katrina felt trapped in her marriage and the guilt she feels, the more isolated she becomes. Temptation sure has a way to enter our lives so innocently that before we know it, we are trapped. Gregg and Katrina seem to drift apart. Will they be able to find their way back to each other? Can Katrina deal with her past and find peace? The book takes a look at sin in a way that allows readers to not feel condemned but allows us to know that we can be set free from sin. The key is to remember that when we hold in our sin, the enemy has a way to push you deeper into guilt and isolation. I loved how the story is centered on a pastor and his wife. We take for granted that they should always be there for their congregation, but forget they need encouragement and prayer. Thank you for a book that everyone should read to better understand the pressure ministry can put on people.

    I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

  7. Avatar of jsisemore23
    jsisemore23

    Breath of Heaven

    The book was very good from start to finish. I loved Katrina, she was so patient with her husband Greg. They are newlyweds and Greg is a pastor and just keeps his best to please everyone. Katrina plays the violin but is hard for her to play for others. She is a character that will definitely stay with me, she had a hard time being a pastor wife but I could see why. Greg had so much to learn in being a husband and not just a pastor. Katrina playing the violin was really special and reminded me of someone that I really enjoyed her playing. So nice when a book brings back memories. I would really love to read more about the characters in this book. This would make a good Hallmark Christmas movie. I received an complementary copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review, this is my own opinion.

  8. Avatar of pamelamorrisson
    pamelamorrisson

    Breath of Heaven is a lovely story written from the perspective of a new pastor’s wife. Not only are Katrina and her pastor husband young newlyweds but city girl Katrina is unaccustomed to small towns and the expectations church members have for their pastor’s wife.

    The book is well written and realistically told as would be expected from an author with experience as a pastor’s wife. The reader may well wonder how much of the story is drawn from her own experiences. I enjoyed reading Katrina’s story as she walked through numerous difficulties and temptations to come out on the other side contented with her life as she learned to depend on the Lord rather than others.

    I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

  9. Avatar of annerightler
    annerightler

    Breath of Heaven by Alana Terry is the third book in her Orchard Grove Christian Women’s series and is a thought-provoking look at a young woman’s struggle in her new role as pastor’s wife. Small town, gossipy women, living in a glass house, trying to live up to too many expectations, and a miscarriage as well, Katrina is definitely struggling. Would this new role strengthen her faith or would she fail? Maybe she shouldn’t have married Greg after all. Terry has done a great job portraying Katrina’s endeavors, her anger, her bitterness and her desires. Having been in Katrina’s shoes, I think this is a fairly realistic look at a what it is like to be the wife of a pastor of a small congregation. I, too, like Katrina, want to be like Grandma Lucy, an older woman in the church, someone whose faith is so steadfast and powerful, whose prayers shatter the darkness. The author also writes of music, music that is one’s life, that touches one’s spirit, and when sung or played for the audience of One reaches the gates of Heaven to bring honor and glory to the God who takes delight in His children. I love Alana Terry’s books and this one did not disappoint. Looking forward to reading more in this series.
    I received a complimentary copy of this book via CelebrateLit. A favorable review was not required and opinions are my own. This review is part of a CelebrateLit blog tour.

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