"Sometimes it's like trying to swim upstream. You fight the current the whole way, and only those determined to tough out the heat, animals, natural disasters, and blase attitude make it. This country isn't for the fainthearted or idealistic." ~Rhonda, aid worker down in Haiti.
"Love is a really strong word." ~Kaylan, nutritionist volunteering her skill in Haiti.
"Pray for Kaylan and leave her in the capable hands of the God who has her wrapped in his arms, even when she can't feel him right now." ~Pap, Kaylan's wonderful Grandfather.
This book will be on my Best of 2014 list, I just know it.
Shaken is an emotional tour-de-force.
I cringed at the scenes of the earthquake's destruction, and the descriptions of life ebbing away in the rubble wrenched my heart.
Once she was lifted from the ruins and returned to America, Kaylan's reactions to the tragedy were visceral and I longed for Kaylan to experience peace again.
I love the fact that her renewal was not easy, or simple, or instant. I appreciated the fact that she knew she had lost her old self, and that she'd never be the same again, but that bit by bit she could find goodness in life once more.
That is what gives this novel its power, it is honest and real and heart-wrenching. (It is also never graphic or heavy, so don't avoid this novel out of those concerns.)
As well as being the story of a young woman who undergoes a baptism by fire, this is also a family story.
God brings Kaylan back to life slowly, using the people around her to help her and support her. She has three great brothers, the kind who tease her kindly and look out for her and spend time listening to her and threaten to throw her over their shoulder and carry her if she's late for dinner. :)
And she has Pap... who made me laugh so hard when he told her that he was old and lived vicariously through her so he needed the details of her date.
Which brings us to another element of this novel, the love story. It was a genuine love story, which is oh so rare and precious, where there is a bond being formed and sacrifices made and trust growing along with affection. As a SEAL, who bears the weight of responsibility for all of his men, Nick understands guilt when you lose somebody. Through this story, his own patience and love God shine into Kaylan's life when she needs them most. Perhaps best of all, as good as he is as a man, he knows that he can't save her.
He alone can't be her rescuer. Yet he also knows her Rescuer, and he knows how to guide her to Him.
Thank you to the Booketeria for my review copy! I'm so happy to see that book two, Shadowed, also features Kaylan, and that chapter one was included at the end of Shaken.
Kariss Lynch is an author to take note of, people. Refreshing, Real, and with a well-wrought message of Redemption that doesn't feel preachy, it just feels right.