Y’all, I had not planned to write a Book Review on my blog so soon after doing an Author Spotlight. My plan was to wait a while, but THEN I had the wonderful opportunity to read an ARC of Phoebe and the Rock of Ages by Becky Doughty. After reading it, I can’t help but share my thoughts with you on the book. First, here’s the synopsis to give you an idea of what the book is about:
MEET PHOEBE GUSTAFSON
Phoebe Gustafson has been running wild her whole life. A gifted artist, she portrays people and places the way she wishes they were, not the way she really sees them. Her jaded perspective is born out of disillusionment, betrayal, and loss, and of memories too painful to dwell on. Rather than face the past, Phoebe charges full throttle into the future, never investing in anything or anyone for longer than it takes to finish a job.
Trevor Zander, a gifted musician, is bone-weary of always being on the go. He dreams of putting down roots and staying in one place longer than the time it takes to plan the next tour. While on a much-needed break, he happens upon a damsel not in distress, but he can’t resist helping her anyway. He’s entranced by the view of the world through Phoebe Gustafson’s eyes, and commissions her to help him redefine his image and brand.
When a family emergency and the charming, unconventional Jesus-Freak, Trevor Zander, converge on her life at the same time, will Phoebe find the courage to remove her blinders and discolored filters so she can truly see life, and love—and herself—the way they really are?
MEET THE GUSTAFSON GIRLS
When Paul and Simone Gustafson are killed by a drunk driver, the lives of their daughters change irrevocably. Although raised by loving grandparents, it’s the G-FOURce—the Gustafson Four Sisters Club—that binds them together when their differences would tear them apart. All grown up now, Juliette has become the quintessential doormat, Renata, the self-appointed matriarchal figure. Phoebe is, at least according to Renata, borderline narcissistic, and Gia is on the verge of a major identity crisis.
Then there’s Angela Clinton, the senior class darling who drove her cherry black 1970 el Camino into the side of their parents’ car on the night of Juliette’s high school graduation. Angela’s prison sentence is winding down; soon she’ll be eligible for parole and moving back to town. Will the G-FOURce be strong enough to hold them together as they step into the eye of the storm that’s been brewing for the last fifteen years? Will they finally be able to let go of the past and embrace the future, no matter what it holds?
Let me start by saying that I highly recommend reading the first two books in this series before reading this one. You could read Phoebe and the Rock of Ages on its own, but I think the reading of it will be that much sweeter and the power of it that much more powerful if you read Juliette and the Monday ManDates and Renata and the Fall from Grace first.
On to my thoughts on Phoebe and the Rock of Ages. This book right here is my FAVORITE of the series. The other two books written so far are wonderful, but this one . . . this one is even beyond wonderful in my opinion. After not really knowing what to think of Phoebe in the other books, I fell in love with her in this one. Learning her struggle, hearing her thoughts, being able to see her soft side, the hurting side, the part she tries to keep hidden opened the door on my compassion for her.
Phoebe and the Rock of Ages is believable, real, raw, and powerful. I felt every drop of emotion, of the struggle each character had. I felt like this book lived and breathed as I read it. It is a beautiful demonstration of the way God works, His power, His might, His love, His unfailing pursuit of us. It’s so full of God’s truth being laid out and spoken to such real life struggles and hurts. The words I have seem inadequate in describing the beauty of this book, the way Becky Doughty brings to life such great and precious truths of God’s Word and His grace.
This book reveals the masks we hide behind, sometimes that mask being our belief in our own piety. It reveals the way the enemy works to make us feel alone in our struggles, how he tries to keep us from reaching out for help. It shows how openness and honesty allows for real healing to take place and the burden to be shared.
I’ve never seen a more genuine, real, healing take place in a book before; the freedom that comes from getting it all out, of verbally sharing your secret struggles with a trustworthy person and how the struggle begins to lose its power over you in that moment and light begins to shine in on the dark places and freedom marches in to send captivity on its way.
Phoebe and the Rock of Ages is so richly full of truth in a way that calls out to you, to the part of you that is desperate for honesty, for being free, for healing. So many of the truths shown in this book are truths God has worked so diligently to show me over the years, so they resonated with me as I read. I would venture to say that there is some desperately needed truth for everyone in this novel.
It’s amazing how God gently, lovingly works on our hearts to change us, to make us more like Him, to prepare us for things ahead, to see things differently, more from His point of view and you can see that clearly in this book.
This book resonates. There’s forgiveness. There’s healing. There’s hope. There’s struggle. There’s hurt. There’s pain. There’s real life. There’s redemption and grace and genuine, believable change. There’s bitterness and holding it all in and then finally letting it all out and finding the beginning of freedom. There’s openness and honesty. There’s peace. Comfort. Quiet hope. There’s God working and orchestrating, bringing good from that which was meant for evil. There’s prayer. There’s spiritual warfare. I can’t even begin to relate all the incredible elements of this book.
I cannot recommend Becky Doughty‘s Phoebe and the Rock of Ages enough. I read most of my kindle books on an app on my phone and I have a tendency to screen capture the pages that have words that stick out to me, things that meant something to me as I read them. With this book, I think I ended up screen capturing half the book.
There are some other things I would really love to share with you, but to do so would involve “spoilers” and I don’t want to spoil anything about this book for you before you read it! Check it out and see if some part of it doesn’t resonate with you!
Phoebe and the Rock of Ages releases today on Amazon and it’s available on Kindle Unlimited for those of you who use that service.
**I received this book free of charge from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions in this review are my own.