Reviewed by Sheryl Root
She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt
"I've never been disappointed when reading a book by Angela Hunt."
Angela Hunt takes us back into the hectic and humorous life of Jennifer Graham, apprentice mortician and single mom, in She Always Wore Red, second in the Fairlawn series. Now that Jennifer has made the decision to stay in picturesque Mount Dora and run Fairlawn, the funeral home her great-uncle left her in his will, she thinks life will finally begin to settle down. Instead, the demands of attending mortuary school, being mom to sons Clay and Bugs, and helping to run the funeral home keep Jen busier than ever.
When Jennifer meets newcomer McLane Larson at a book club meeting, she feels an immediate connection. McLane is alone in town—newly married with her husband serving in Iraq—and expecting a baby. Then McLane reveals to Jen that their ties go deeper than mere friendship. Despite her confused feelings over this revelation, Jen knows McLane needs her support now more than ever. But their fledgling relationship soon faces its first challenge when McLane considers making a decision that goes against everything Jennifer believes in. Through their interactions, Angela Hunt realistically portrays the delicate balance we all experience when trying to love a person even when we disagree with their thinking or actions. Jen has to decide if her desire to show the love of Jesus only extends to those who behave as she thinks they should, or if she can truly show the unconditional love of Christ.
Racism is a topic that Angela deftly explores throughout this story. Jen doesn't think she is prejudiced until she confronts her own feelings about McLane's husband being black. Then she starts to see the realities of race all around her—from an interaction outside the supermarket to a funeral for eighty-eight-year-old Levina Gifford, the housebound woman who "always wore red."
Perhaps the most heartrending portions of this novel are those that deal with trusting God's plan even when we don't understand it. "God is God and we are not" is easy to say but harder to live. Who among us, like Jen, hasn't had to wrestle with the fact that our prayers aren't always answered as we'd like them to be? Learning to trust in God's character, even when we don't understand his ways, is a painful but necessary lesson for all of us as we mature in our walk with Him.
I've never been disappointed when reading a book by Angela Hunt. Her characters draw me in and, through every story, I learn truths about myself and about God. While this book is second in a series, reading the first book, Doesn't She Look Natural?, is not required, although I'd recommend it. Your time is always well spent in the entertaining and thought-provoking world of an Angela Hunt novel!
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.