Carrie Daws' book, Crossing Values, grabbed my attention from the first page, and I was drawn into the story and invited to stay as if I belonged. I appreciated her ability to weave the small town setting of Crossing, Oregon located in the Cascade Mountains into her story. She did a remarkable job with the characters and highlighting their pain and struggles in a way that is genuine and real.
Drawn in by Peter's family in the same way they welcomed Amber, I felt like part of their home immediately and as though I had been encouraged to go inside, take off my shoes and make myself comfortable by the fire. I sensed their love for God and admired their desire to show that same love to others who crossed their paths. Reading this story was almost like being adopted into their family. The cast of characters is engaging and believable, supportive of each other, and people I would like to get to know and have as my own personal friends. Peter's relationship with God is deep and personal, and his desire to obey God is inspiring and challenged me to do the same.
Clearly evident throughout the story is the way God uses Peter and his family to draw Amber closer to Him. God's love for her is evident in the gentle way He pursues her, encouraging Amber to open up her heart and yield her hurts to Him for healing. I sensed the struggles in both Amber and Peter and found myself rooting for them as I read this book. I felt Peter's internal struggle to know God's heart and his desire to do God's will and not hurt the people he loves. Amber deals with learning to depend on others, ultimately finding peace after she bravely risks letting people get emotionally close to her.
Delivering a powerful message on trust and loving God, this book is realistically written and easy to read. The humorous scenes are believable and funny; the sad scenes touched my heart and brought me to tears. Two questions I kept asking myself as I turned page after page are, "How much do I trust God?" and "How much do I show God's love to people I don't know?" Filled with good-natured teasing and humor, this novel is as uplifting as it is convicting.
Carrie did a great job writing this gentle love story and has something unique to offer her readers. This is a great story for all ages - from teenage daughters to grandmothers. I won't hesitate to recommend this book to my nieces, sister or mother. I'm also planning on getting a copy to place in our church library. I encourage anyone who wants to read a clean romance novel with an uplifting message to get this book.