"Rhythms of Grace" by Marilynn Griffith
As a teenager, Grace Okoye was a promising dancer. But a brutal assault ended her career and changed her life forever. Twenty years later she returns to the small town of Testimony, Ohio to teach at a school for at-risk kids and hopefully come to terms with the incident that shaped her life in the hopes of eventually being set free.
But Grace isn't the only one in Testimony who needs to be set free. Her childhood friends Zeely, Ron, Brian and Jeremiah are all keeping secrets that are threatening to blow their lives apart. As they all work at the same school, teaching kids who are in the same situations they once were, the five of them find that they won't be able to hold their secrets much longer, and only through the grace of God will they truly be set free.
Rhythms of Grace is an emotional and soulful novel about redemption and forgiveness. As the lives of the five characters intersect, we learn along with them that we aren't the only ones who are hurting and that keeping it to ourselves never fixes the problem. This novel is a wonderful lesson in the power of friendships, forgiveness and faith.
The book is a bit longer and deeper than other Urban Christian novels. There is a lot more time devoted to setting up the stories and exploring the past. At times the writing seems a little disjointed, making the backstory hard to follow. But as the book goes on it smoothes itself out eventually lending the mystery to the backstory that it was attempting to achieve.
Griffith's characters are easy to become attached to and this is the kind of book that you don't want to put down because you need to know what is going to happen next. I look forward to reading the sequel Songs of Deliverance.