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Book Review: One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

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Nora Peterson is planning the perfect Christmas, possibly the last that her family will celebrate together. Her twins are high school seniors who will soon be lighting out of the family nest, and she’s determined to make some precious memories before their departure. Fraternal twins Christi and Charlie are far from identical in terms of appearance and personality, yet they share the invisible bonds that many twins experience. This bond is torn asunder and the structure of the family notably weakened following a tragic accident.

A single, widowed mother who works the emergency room as a nurse, Jenna Montgomery fears her only daughter will not see another Christmas. Suffering from a weak heart from a young age, Heather’s life perches tenuously on edge; any illness has the potential to throw her over, and she becomes progressively weaker each year. God gives them a miracle and new hope for life as the long wait on the organ donor list comes to an end.

One Perfect Day follows the lives of these two women in parallel, alternating chapters as their stories unfold. The loss of her son plunges Nora into emotional trauma while the donation of his heart provides a new lease on life for Jenna’s daughter. These two women will never meet, yet their stories are joined together as Heather receives Charlie’s donated heart.

Lauraine Snelling is a consummate and prolific Christian women’s author. She delves into emotionally charged situations, producing realistic scenes of grief, mourning, cautious elation, and new hope. Both families struggle to adapt to the momentous changes in their lives as their stories are related in tandem. Nora’s descent into unbearable grief is written so strongly that it nearly overpowers the glimpses of praise and refreshment in Jenna’s story.

Enveloped in her own despair, Nora sets herself at odds with God, enraged by His taking her son. As the Peterson’s struggle to adapt to the loss of their son they must learn to reach out to their remaining child as she sinks deeper into the darkness. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how faint. Conversely the Montgomerys are faced with new independence and a newly birthed spirit of enthusiasm from Jenna. New dreams and desires erupt from the hearts of both mother and daughter. Knowing that a future is possible for Heather opens a realm of previously unexplored possibilities to each of them.

Throughout all of these changes God is present to walk His children through them. Using believers in the lives of these women He uplifts, encourages, and supports them through their respective periods of growth and change – even when it appears that His presence is missing.

The strength of this title is found in the fluctuation of emotions the characters endure. Snelling's depiction of Nora’s abrupt slide into a depression seemingly without end throbs with authenticity. Likewise the tentative tendrils of a newly blooming romance are suitably cautious and tender as Jenna begins to open her heart. It is this ring of truth combined with the emotionally dramatic that brings readers back to Snelling’s works.

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