Treva Langston is a lot like me. No, I’ve never been a high-powered lawyer, owned a large ritzy home, purchased designer clothes or counted myself as one of the upper-middle class. No, I’m not a deeply coloured African American woman who struggles with deeply rooted issues concerning her self-worth. But still, I see parts of myself in Treva. Like Treva I experience times when I don’t want to cook, don’t want to clean, and focus more on my own interests than upon loving my husband and children, though I do all of these things daily. So despite our many differences I feel that Treva – and through her the author whose imagination she sprung from – are my bosom sisters in Christ.
Debut novelist Kimberly Cash Tate took me by surprise with her first entry into the Christian fiction market, Heavenly Places. Tate captured my heart with her richly executed characters and frank, introspective prose. The women she has created are beautiful, flawed, imperfect women of faith who depend upon God to carry them through and heal their wounds. When six of these ladies come together for a study of Ephesians, that’s just what He does – shows up and takes control of the steering in each life. While each woman is impacted by God’s love and guidance, the tale revolves around Treva who, once revolving only around herself, is experiencing a shift in orbit. God is about to become the center of her universe.
Throughout their time together in God’s word and by lifting each other before the throne of grace, each woman experiences God at work in her life. There is no doubt – these women can pray! One of my favourite aspects of the book is the impassioned, authentic prayer that pours from the hearts of these women. After reading this title, women will be longing to find a vibrant, tightly knit women’s Bible study modeled after the inspiring example presented. I’d be ready to sign up today!
The only low-point worth mentioning are the cathartic scenes of emotional healing that occur at each Bible study. While moving, the manner in which the women fly to each other in tears time and time again does become somewhat repetitive by the book’s end. I would have appreciated a greater diversity of reactions and description, but this repetition does little to detract from the novel’s merits.
Healing past wounds, reconciling family members, bringing people to Jesus and a good dose of personal conviction – God is all over this book. As He takes these situations in hand, readers experience joy, heartache, sorrow, regret, cozy familial love, freedom and the ecstasy of being in God’s will. To think, Tate accomplished all this in the hours before her children rose in the morning and entered their busy homeschooling schedule. I’m impressed – Heavenly Places is the best women’s fiction I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it. Kimberly Cash Tate is an author to watch. I hope she puts pen to paper time and time again, crafting more stories for God’s glory.