The January book club pick was Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. Participants read the novel and chose one or more discussion questions from the back of the book to address in a blog post. This month's host is Lydia from The Overweight Bookshelf. To join our discussion, link up your post at her website.
May 2010 by Tyndale House
Paperback, 384 Pages
Own-Previous Review Copy
Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank–toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything—to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . even overcome the impossible.
Review- Originally posted on May 13, 2010:
When Jenny ventures home to reconcile her relationship with her father, little does she know the journey her life will take. Her ultimate goal is to seek the forgiveness of her dad, she wants him to accept her and Bella. Knowing Bella will have a home and a family to take care of her is the last step in Jenny's plan so she can go in peace. She can't ignore the fact though, that David, Bella's father must be told about his daughter. She figures on waiting until the last minute but seeing how in life nothing ever go's according to plan, David finds out and all of Jenny's "planning" are thrown out the window. Now facing death that wont let go and facing a battle to fight for her daughter, Jenny is shocked to find love, hope and forgiveness along the way.
Truly exquisite writing, I connected with Jenny so deeply that I felt every emotion she felt, I cried when she cried, I was angry and frustrated when she was and I was angry that she was dying. The talent of a true author is when you can take the most painful story and showcase an entire circle of human emotion. Jenny with losing hope and feeling stuck in a desperate situation, Jenny's father with his anger and bitterness and Mama Peg with her strength and humor. Although Jenny's past began with mistakes, you see the goodness that came out of them. She was an amazing strong character, a woman who faces anger, death and deep resentment but also is able to forgive, heal and incredibly put others before her own desires. I wrapped myself around these characters like a warm fuzzy blanket and enjoyed every minute with them.
A tremendous, heart breaking story that brought tears to my eyes throughout almost every chapter. Many books have the ability to make me cry, but this story literally had me sobbing by the end. After I finished Crossing Oceans I would just think about it and start crying again. Goodness Ms. Holmes, you broke my heart a thousand times and then put it back together again.
5/5- Christian Fiction
Book Club Discussion Questions
~May contain spoilers~
Was Jenny right to keep Isabella’s existence a secret from David? How might things have been different if David had known about Isabella from the beginning?
Obviously Jenny should have told David she was pregnant before disappearing. Perhaps David would have had a change of heart…perhaps he never would have married Lindsay…..hmm then again maybe not. I guess ultimately Jenny needed to get away and sort through her feelings, although I think she kept Isabella a secret for way to long. Its always a tricky game when you hide from people or a problem, sometimes that- I need a little break- from this person/situation becomes the crutch that you use to never repair or resolve the relationship and that’s when you welcome bitterness into your life.
Describe the way Jenny’s feelings for David change throughout the story. Do you think she was ever really in love with him?
I think Jenny goes from bitterness, to resentment, jealousy, to extreme anger and then ultimately forgiveness and grace. I couldn’t help but feel all these emotions with her. In the beginning David made me extremely angry and I wanted David and Lindsay to mind there own business. It was so emotional for me as the reader because I felt everything Jenny did. I wanted to smack him…trying to remind him…yeah well buddy you’re the one who dumped her so deal with it….I thought he was impatient and at times rude and heartless. When Jenny finally reached the forgiving point and the complete sacrificial deeds she did at the end I was almost done for…I realized I had been very harsh on David and needed to forgive his character as well.
I think David and Jenny’s relationship was one of teen romance and desire more so than love. Jenny may have been in love with the idea of David, but not David himself. I think David was scared of Jenny and what loving her would mean to his status. He was all about..."David" and Jenny didn't fit into that perfect life he had envisioned for himself. Not until the very end did I see a little spark of change.
If you were in Lindsey’s position, how would you have reacted to Jenny’s return? What would have been the most difficult thing for you to come to terms with?
I think as a woman…my immediate reaction would have been fear. Lindsay had to have had a spilt second where she thought, is this woman trying to steal my husband….or will my husband leave because of his daughter? I think the hardest thing for Lindsay to accept is that Jenny gave David the child she had been unable to do…talk about insecurities……
Overall Jenny’s death, even though tragic and tremendously sad, brought goodness. David changed, him and Lindsay received a child, one they desperately wanted. Jenny found true love and her father healed immensely. The story was about returning home, forgiveness, second changes and love.