The Wonder of You, written by Susan May Warren and published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (2015) is one of the Christiansen Family novels.  It is a book most young women can relate to. The Wonder of You explores how two young adults can come to realize just how vital the Lord is in their decision-making.

Amelia Christiansen, 20, and Roark St. John, 25, are very different from each other. She grew up in a small resort town, Deep Haven, Minnesota. To study photography, she traveled to Prague. Roark, whose missionary parents died when he was a teen, has traveled many countries helping his Uncle Donovan with the family’s billion euro hotel business that he will someday inherit. Amelia and Roark met and fell in love on the Charles Bridge in Prague.

But Roark, running from tragedies in his past, pretended to be only a student. He failed to reveal to Amelia other pieces of information about himself. When she saw him on the bridge with another woman, not knowing the woman was just an old friend, Amelia cut her time in Europe short and high-tailed it home to her safe family and the high school boyfriend she had broken up with. Roark pursued her, but she and the large Christiansen family turned him away.

As The Wonder of You unfolds he’s back and more determined than ever to win her. He takes a job in the local coffee shop. At a creek-turned-raging-river near the town, Amelia witnesses a man attempting a daring rescue. She recognizes the man as Roark, but losing sight of him later she believes she only wanted it to be Roark. A couple of days later, she sees him and talks with him at the coffee shop. Her feelings, she discovers are a tangled mess.

The story shows Roark pursuing Amelia, sure she is meant to be a part of his life. Amelia is not sure at all. She still cares for him, but there is safety at home with her parents, the resort they own, her protective and sometimes overly protective five siblings and her old flame, Seth. Amelia, drawn to both Roark and Seth, decides to give both men a chance to win her heart.

Roark volunteers to help the Christiansen family and Amelia with a boy scout day trip. The demands of the trip and an emergency help Roark and Amelia gain a greater understanding and a deeper respect for each other.

Roark and Amelia feel a call from God, yet they can’t quite put their finger on exactly what that is. They are just hoping it involves each other. However, Amelia still seriously considers a relationship with Seth who is safe, would stay put and would make a fine husband. But as she continues to consider making a life with him, she feels unsettled. She wonders about her childhood dream to travel to other countries while pursuing her love of photography.

Roark knows his life has become very complicated. He will someday inherit a company that is worth billions, but he doesn’t know how to break that news to Amelia. He wants her affections to be for him and not his money.

Meanwhile, Seth is moody and angry with Roark, hoping he will simply leave town, so he and Amelia can continue where they left off. Seth is a Christian, yet he is somewhat immature.

Amelia can’t seem to make a choice between the two men, or even figure out if she really wants to stay home, or do more traveling. Roark finally reveals to Amelia that he is to inherit a hotel business. She leaves in a huff, feeling that he has lied to her and wondering what is the use of a relationship based on a lie. Her parents and siblings have come to love and admire Roark for the many amazing qualities they have observed in him since he has been living in Deep Haven.

I think that often young people are confused about God’s will and plan His for their future. There are some amazing lessons about waiting on the Lord in this story. Trust is something Amelia and Roark learn when a difficult trial arises near the end of the story.

In the end, Amelia learns she doesn’t need a man in order to serve and follow the Lord. She can do that trusting in Him alone. A relationship should only add to her love for the Lord. She learns she truly wants the man God had designed her to be with, someone who can serve the Lord alongside her. The story ends happily, with both Amelia and Roark finding their needs met in Christ and His glorious plan for their lives. A subplot involving Max and Amelia’s older sister, Grace, deepens and broadens the theme of trusting God with your heart.

 

Note from Nancy: A review on Amazon.com suggests that the novel assumes premarital sex. The author has Amelia and Roark kiss, but only kiss. This novel does make references to premarital sex having happened among Amelia’s siblings, but the family considers the premarital sex to be a mistake and a sin.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

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