Reviewed by Sheryl Root
Lightning & Lace by DiAnn Mills
"Diann's characters are wonderfully crafted in all three of her Texas Legacy books."
Lightning and Lace concludes Diann Mill’s Texas Legacy trilogy and, as much as I enjoyed the first two books, this one was by far my favorite. I immediately related to how both main characters, Bonnie & Brother Travis, sought to hide things they were ashamed of doing from those they cared about, even after they had changed and sought forgiveness from the Lord. Yet they learned that God can use even our mistakes, when we are truthful and humble, to bring much good for His kingdom.
Bonnie Kahler, still mourning her husband Ben’s death almost three years earlier, is struggling to get out of the black hole where she has retreated. Her weakness caused her to seek relief through wine, which helps her to sleep, but Bonnie knows she is losing control and cries out to the Lord for his help. Her grief over Ben’s death has been all-consuming and she has neglected her children because of it. Now Zach, her twelve-year-old son, has become someone she doesn’t even know. He’s turning into a liar and a bully, even toward his own brother and sister, and Bonnie is determined to get Zach the help he needs and become a better mother.
Brother Travis Whitworth has come to Kahlerville, Texas to take over the pastorate from retiring Reverend Rainer. He prays that the mistakes he made at his last pastorate in Tennessee will not follow him to Texas. He has done everything in his power to alter his physical appearance with wild hair, baggy clothes, and spectacles. Looking pleasing to women disrupted his ministry before—he doesn’t want it to happen again. Travis knows that the Lord has forgiven him, and called him to Texas, but would the people of Kahlerville understand?
Travis’s first meeting with Bonnie Kahler is less than cordial, but he sees much in her to admire and respect. When Zach is arrested for stealing, Travis feels the Spirit’s nudging to take the boy under his wing. He sees the pain and hurt behind Zach’s anger, and his heart goes out to Zach and his family. Reluctantly, Bonnie agrees, knowing that she can no longer discipline her son. If something doesn’t change soon, she’ll have to send him to military school. Could God really work a miracle and give her son a changed life? Can He bring healing and wholeness back to her family, despite her many mistakes?
Stories that resonate with me most are those where God’s grace and mercy is shown through, and to, flawed and sinful human beings. Bonnie’s problems, and the mistakes that she makes, are no different from those many of us make today. She gave into running away from her pain rather than facing it and doing what was best for her children. Yet, as God’s Word says, He can restore the years that the locust has eaten. Seeing these very current issues, set in the late 1800’s Texas, made me realize how timeless our human relationships are, both the good and the bad of them.
Diann’s characters are wonderfully crafted in all three of her Texas Legacy books. While you might expect the relationships of the three Andrews siblings to be similar, each is as unique as the Texas landscape itself. Leather and Lace, the first in the series, tells the story of older brother Morgan Andrews and female outlaw Casey O’Hare. Lanterns and Lace, second in the series, is middle brother Grant Andrews and Jenny Martin’s story. And Lightning and Lace is youngest sister Bonnie’s story. While each book in the series stands alone, if you are able to read them in order, it adds even more depth and richness to the stories. I felt like I was a part of the Andrews’ family.
In fact, Diann did such a great job making even the children come alive and seem like family to me, that I’m hoping she will consider following up with a new series to tell their stories. Maybe Texas Legacy: the Next Generation? :)
Sheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.