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Friday, February 7, 2014

The Road To Mercy

Kathy Harris is an author by way of divine detour into the Nashville entertainment business.  She graduated with a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University and has spent the past two decades employed as a marketing director in the Nashville music industry.  Her move to Nashville after obtaining her degree from SIU was to work a well-known gospel music quartet transitioning into country music - The Oak Ridge Boys.  She was instrumental in building an entertainment empire from the ground up.

A lifelong fascination for books and editing led to her working as a book agent for Oak Ridge Boys' vocalist Joe Bonsall. Bonsall has this to say about Kathy's novel The Road To Mercy:  "The Road To Mercy is captivating from the very beginning...(it) will leave you a better person for having taken the journey."

For several years, Kathy freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote, as well as ghost wrote, news stories and columns for various music publications.  In 2007 she sold her first Christian non-fiction story, "Walk on Water" which was included in Thomas Nelson's "All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa".  One of her devotions was included in The One Year Life Verse Devotional, published by Tyndale House.  Kathy's writing is also included in Chicken Soup for the Soul Thanks, Mom.

An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the publicity officer for Middle Tennessee Christian Writers Kathy lives near Nashville with her husband and their Shiloh Shepherd dob.  She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog Divine Detour.

Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife, Bethany, face a difficult decision that also tests their faith.  A rupture in Beth's carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she's pregnant with their first child.  While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full term.

During the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, and Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage.  She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

My Thoughts:
A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to be involved in a chat with Kathy Harris and several other authors over at The Book Club Network ( as part of the Reader's Only Group. As a result of participation in that chat, I was able to get a complimentary copy of the book sent to me for the purpose of providing a review.  Ms Harris was very gracious and sent me a signed copy of her book along with a bookmark and personal handwritten note.
The Road To Mercy (published by Abingdon Press) was a delightful read.  Harris grabbed my attention in the first few paragraphs of the prologue and it was hard to put the book down until I had turned the last page.  This book has just about everything:  a tender love story, struggles with faith, enduring friendships, science versus trust in God, affirmation of the gift of life, and even a little suspense!
I immediately connected with the characters on a number of levels and Harris's rich characterization made it easy to do so.  Harris allows the reader to hear from the primary characters' points of view.  The trials and struggles in faith that Josh, Bethany and Dr. Abrams go through portray beautifully the truth of Philippians 2:12 ("Therefore my beloved as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.").
Harris adds depth to her story by weaving a little suspense.  She peppers just enough detail from the past throughout the book to keep you turning the pages.  That along with the emotional tension in Bethany's and Josh's relationship make for a book you do not want to miss!
I think my favorite character may have been Josh and Bethany's neighbor, Alex.  She is a beautiful character who portrays what a true friend looks like...self-sacrificing and faithful through the good and the very bad.
One of my favorite conversations in the book happened between Danny (Josh's bus driver) and Josh:
Josh:  "How do you handle .... death so well?  I know from experience, it's not easy."
Danny:  "Look straight down the highway," Danny told him.  He pointed with one hand, keeping the other on the wheel.  "Do you see how it disappears into the horizon when there's a rise ahead."
Josh:  "Yes."
Danny:  "That's like our journey in this life," Danny glanced at the bus's control panel.  "We're traveling seventy miles an hour.  That's too fast to stop if for some reason the road ends over that hill."  He shook his head.  "But we would never make our goal - the show tonight - if I didn't keep the pedal to the metal."
Josh studied Danny's face for a clue about what he was saying.
Danny:  "However," his driver continued.  "I have faith that the road doesn't end over that hill. My faith is based on past experience that I can trust the department of transportation to continue the road."  he glanced to Josh.  "Just as I know I can trust God for whatever is next.  Even for those things I can't see.....When the Lord calls us to the other side of the hill, the view will be completely different.  We will see things as He sees them."
Reading this book will help you to see your own journey in a different light.

Thank you Kathy for sending the complimentary copy of the book!  And thank you Fred for hosting the chat with Kathy and for all you do to introduce us to amazing authors who delight us with their gift!

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Happy Reading,