The Ultimatum – by Nancy Moser (2004)

In the tiny Kansas town of Steadfast, a waitress named Annie leads an ordinary life with her husband Cal and daughter Avi. Annie has recently become a Christian, and Cal is none too happy about it. Her commitment to live by faith in Jesus causes a lot of friction in their marriage.

In a nearby town, a runaway named Jerod hides from his dad, finding a job washing dishes in a restaurant. His hard-working nature impresses the owner, Jinko, who offers Jerod some work on the side. What kind of work? Stealing valuables from people’s homes while they are dining in the restaurant. Jerod’s conscience bothers him at first, but the allure of easy cash is just too much to pass up.

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The Good Nearby – by Nancy Moser (2006)

The Good Nearby

I have to admit that I picked this book because I really liked the picture on the cover. Who wouldn’t? The little girl looks so carefree. The story begins with seven-year-old Gigi. She’s an only child who is mostly ignored by her parents. But Gigi has a grandma that loves her to pieces, and tells her that she can be “the good nearby”. Whatever is going wrong in the world, she can be the “good” that God put in someone else’s life.

The book jumps back and forth from her childhood to adulthood. She endures a miserable marriage to a man who treats her like garbage. Then some other women who care about her come into her life. They are a blessing to her, and in the end she blesses them in an unusual way.

The themes of domestic abuse and supportive friendship run side by side throughout the book. The love of a grandmother and her strong faith in God also were a major part of the story. The novel reminded me that each one of us has the ability to share the love of Jesus with those around us.