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Of Stillness and Storm

Of Stillness and Storm

“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.” It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, La…

Title : Of Stillness and Storm
Author : Michèle Phoenix
Rating :
ISBN : 0718086422
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 pages

Of Stillness and Storm Reviews

  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    Aug 03, 2016

    “Back in our lives. Back in my bed. I tried to muster up the swells of anticipation that had preceded his returns in the early stages of our life in Nepal. But I couldn’t manufacture the longings, not anymore.”

    Lauren and Sam find themselves in Nepal with son Ryan, in support of Sam’s Christian trailblazing among the poverty stricken tribes. Ideally, it seemed like the right path to take despite the sacrifices. Sure, there are power outages and frugal living- things as simple as showering are a p

    “Back in our lives. Back in my bed. I tried to muster up the swells of anticipation that had preceded his returns in the early stages of our life in Nepal. But I couldn’t manufacture the longings, not anymore.”

    Lauren and Sam find themselves in Nepal with son Ryan, in support of Sam’s Christian trailblazing among the poverty stricken tribes. Ideally, it seemed like the right path to take despite the sacrifices. Sure, there are power outages and frugal living- things as simple as showering are a production in effort. While Sam is off living his dream, Lauren and Ryan are left isolated, with increasing strain within their small family unit. Ryan is slipping, and in sore need of his father’s attention the reader knows something bad is about to happen. Sometimes, the most gracious, christian people lose sight of their own children while on a mission to save the world. Lauren herself is a woman with needs, God-faring or not, and when a man from her past, Aidan, returns to her life through social media it fills a void she had been trying to ignore. Is she betraying her husband Sam? What constitutes betrayal? Is Sam betraying his family with his Christian Enthusiasm , his calling from God? Just how much hurt can such a calling excuse? And what of his son? How can a man who is selfless with strangers neglect the growing needs of his own boy?

    This isn’t my usual read, but I enjoy the other-side of the story when thinking about the children of missionaries. Asking kids to be selfless, to make mature decisions, expecting them to ignore their own needs because ‘it’s God’s will’ and ‘even terrible things that occur are destined’ just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Religious fervor can do as much harm as good, and how much of a voice do children have when adults call all the shots. From the start the reader knows Ryan didn’t want to go to Nepal. Lauren herself is torn between two worlds, and she is waking up to her son’s dangerous spiral into depression. I was surprised by what happens more between mother and son than by Lauren’s interactions and return of Aidan. It isn’t going to turn out as you would imagine from the blurbs. This isn’t some seedy novel, it’s actually more painful than I thought it would be. Destiny is a strange companion. I enjoyed the story- sometimes the Ideal is far more enchanting than the reality of someone’s dream. Just how much would you risk, and how beholden are you to a decision you made for your spouse’s benefit when you know in your heart something is off?

    Publication Date December 6, 2016

  • Laurie
    Dec 07, 2016

    When Lauren’s husband becomes convinced that God is calling them to minister to remote tribes in Nepal, Lauren finds it difficult to argue against both “God’s will” and her marriage vows. But two years in, Lauren is feeling trapped and their thirteen-year-old son Ryan has yet to adjust. Getting back in touch with a childhood friend awakens her desire to fight for her son – and for the woman and writer she used to be. This is a raw, intimate look at the toll the missionary life can take on a fami

    When Lauren’s husband becomes convinced that God is calling them to minister to remote tribes in Nepal, Lauren finds it difficult to argue against both “God’s will” and her marriage vows. But two years in, Lauren is feeling trapped and their thirteen-year-old son Ryan has yet to adjust. Getting back in touch with a childhood friend awakens her desire to fight for her son – and for the woman and writer she used to be. This is a raw, intimate look at the toll the missionary life can take on a family. It brings up hard questions about discerning God’s will and deciding where your priorities lie. Lauren is a very human, very relatable character whose struggles will be familiar to many Christians, and her story, though fictional, should be required reading for anyone involved in full-time ministry. This is an absorbing and important read.

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It’s due to be published on my birthday, so I’m considering it an early present. 🙂

  • Madelyn
    Dec 31, 2016

    Did I miss the memo? The one where it became “ok” to curse and use blasphemy in a Christian book? Well, it seems

    did. But this author apparently did not.

    You know, I’m astonished that Thomas Nelson printed this book. I’m disappointed, too. Because this disregards the basic, so very basic, principal of what Christian books are set to do.

    I have never strayed from my original viewpoint – If a book is marked as “Christian” it should have one goal, above everything: to inspire you to be more like

    Did I miss the memo? The one where it became “ok” to curse and use blasphemy in a Christian book? Well, it seems

    did. But this author apparently did not.

    You know, I’m astonished that Thomas Nelson printed this book. I’m disappointed, too. Because this disregards the basic, so very basic, principal of what Christian books are set to do.

    I have never strayed from my original viewpoint – If a book is marked as “Christian” it should have one goal, above everything: to inspire you to be more like Christ. Far too rarely have I found a book to meet that criterion (which should be very simple to accomplish).

    We’ve come to expect this type of verbiage and immorality from secular books. But I feel as if the safe house that used to be the Christian genre is quickly disintegrating.

    /////////////

    This novel is focused on an offbeat woman who spends 90% of the book with a vendetta against God and is consistently cursing Him (especially prevalent in the last fourth of the book)– yet still, when she finds herself in trouble, she revives her faith enough to pray “Please, God. Please.”

    It reminds me of a song. I long ago stopped listening to this artist, but his words ring true, even still.

    (

    )

    -NF, Oh Lord

    Everything about her mindset was wrong. Everything about the marriage was wrong. Everything about the relationship with the child was wrong. And none of it was ever resolved. “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix it all, but that was the moral of the story. Telling your son that he “didn’t do anything wrong” after he attempted to commit suicide… I’m dumbfounded. I honestly don’t get it. How could a book with such a potent message about the trials of a missionary life stoop so far. So utterly far.

    On another note, let’s discuss one of the most disgusting aspects of this book. The main character, Lauren, believes it is perfectly fine and acceptable to have a relationship with another grown man and tell him that she loves him (we’re not talking “I love you as my brother in Christ.” – we’re talking about a former boyfriend). She denies she was having an “illicit relationship” but, by all accounts, it pretty much was, by the very definition of the word “illicit” (she didn’t even tell her husband she was communicating with him!) In other words, she was loving another man besides her husband. And she thought it was ok. And there was never any remorse. Or condemnation. She was never apologetic. Can you even imagine? Finding your spouse telling another man or woman that they love them? I’m cannot even comprehend that. Why is this projected as acceptable?

    I’ve said this before, but I’ve received an incredible amount of backlash from it – so let me attempt to explain myself. I don’t read books with cursing, and I don’t believe in general that Christians should make a habit of it. (note: I am not, in the slightest, judging or condemning anyone, in any way.)

    You might think – one, two, three curse words. It’s not a big deal. To be perfectly frank, I used to believe that as well. Then it dawned on me that this is about so much more than cursing. It’s the mindset, it’s the heart. If an author (not specifically this one) has fallen to accept that the use of profanity is moral, where else have they compromised their standards, and what worldview will they be projecting in their books? In the case of this book, it was numerous sexual innuendoes and a mindset of God that is woefully inaccurate.

    ///////

    I will acknowledge this. It was well written, it was intriguing, and yes, I did finish it. Why? Because there was some sliver of hope in me that thought in the last chapter Lauren would repent, that thought in the epilog something would tie together and everything would come back to glorify Christ. It didn’t. And I hope I’ve spared you from having to find that out for yourself.

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.*

    *I do not intend for this to be a personal attack against the author.*

    Find the full review, with a complete content breakdown, on my blog, here:

  • Lisa Johnson
    Nov 27, 2016

    Title: Of Stillness and Storm

    Author: Michele Phoenix

    Pages: 336

    Year: 2016

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson

    My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

    Before writing the review, I took time to visit the author’s site and I hope others do as well. The ministry that Michele is engaged in is very unique as I haven’t heard of anything close to what she does. I also read of a woman with a grounded faith that came through adversity, trials and good experiences too. Most of all, at least to me, she is a flesh and blood example

    Title: Of Stillness and Storm

    Author: Michele Phoenix

    Pages: 336

    Year: 2016

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson

    My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.

    Before writing the review, I took time to visit the author’s site and I hope others do as well. The ministry that Michele is engaged in is very unique as I haven’t heard of anything close to what she does. I also read of a woman with a grounded faith that came through adversity, trials and good experiences too. Most of all, at least to me, she is a flesh and blood example of someone who is unashamed to speak truth about the experiences of Missionary Kids.

    Of Stillness and Storm is one novel that grabs the soul of the reader and its tentacles reach so deeply into the reader that it doesn’t let up until the end of the story. Well, maybe not even then because I don’t think I will forget this novel for quite a while, if ever. Michele uses flashbacks to take readers into a single family’s experience with answering a call to go to Nepal with young child. The father, Sam, is gone for weeks at a time. His wife, Lauren, works at a school and their son, Ryan, attends a different school and loves soccer.

    While in Nepal they begin to experience a slow disintegration of the family unit. The one member who carries the brunt of it is Ryan. Michele crafts a family that at times focuses on individual members. For me, Sam is someone I would love to shake till he awakes and sees how his choices have fractured his marriage and relationship with Ryan. Lauren had her part in the problems too as did Ryan. Some of these problems I think came out of Sam’s unwillingness to see what was really becoming of his family.

    When Lauren finally realizes what is going in her own heart, what an awakening occurs in her heart, mind and soul. I could relate to the shame a mother feels when she hasn’t made wise choices and how they affect the family. I could also relate to the healing Presence of God when I honestly faced the issues of my heart. Some things Lauren experiences, says or does are foreign to me and some I can’t say I understand. However, Michele did a wonderful job showing readers a world view honestly without covering it up to the sometimes negative outcomes when a family doesn’t focus on their family first before their ministry outside the home.

    A very raw, tough, gripping novel that I highly recommend for people to read, especially because it shows how real, loving and close God is to us. It reflects how He alone can make beauty from ashes!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  • Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
    Dec 14, 2016

    Of Stillness and Storm is one of those books that embeds itself deep in your soul, the kind of story that rolls around in your heart long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s sobering and raw and heartbreaking, yet even in the despair there is hope and goodness.

    Michèle Phoenix has created characters and settings and situations so vivid that you feel as though you are there in Kathmandu with them. You experience Lauren’s anger, Aiden’s desperation, and Ryan’s angry desperation. You also want to

    Of Stillness and Storm is one of those books that embeds itself deep in your soul, the kind of story that rolls around in your heart long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s sobering and raw and heartbreaking, yet even in the despair there is hope and goodness.

    Michèle Phoenix has created characters and settings and situations so vivid that you feel as though you are there in Kathmandu with them. You experience Lauren’s anger, Aiden’s desperation, and Ryan’s angry desperation. You also want to step through the pages of the book and shake some sense into Sam who proves to be a piety doppelganger to St. John Rivers from Jane Eyre. There are moments where you will grit your teeth in frustration, others where you will wince in disbelief. Still other moments will leave you gasping in stunned horror and groping for that box of tissues you should have kept handy!

    And yet … in the midst of those storms, comes a stillness. The peace that ushers in is palpable, the difference noticeable. Interestingly – poignantly, poetically – the stillness brings its own set of storms. And though there are dangers to be carefully navigated within the stillness, and though mistakes are made, it’s here in the stillness that we see a life redeemed from the pit. Not on the mission field where a father’s “calling” threatens to destroy every last fiber of his family’s faith, hope, and love. But in online messages sent to a hurting friend from a hurting friend.

    I’m still not completely sure how I feel about the storyline between Lauren and Aiden (in many ways it reminded me of Ethan Frome) but I said at the outset of this review that Of Stillness and Storm is a book that rolls around in your heart for awhile. And I can say this with certainty – After reading this beautifully penned novel, you will (hopefully) never see missionary families the same way again. Especially missionary kids who are so often overlooked in the shuffle. Maybe that means your prayers for them will be different. Maybe you’ll think about these families, these kids, more often and petition God on their behalf when you do. Maybe you’ll ask if there’s anything they need and you won’t mean just the peanut butter they can’t get there.

    Bottom Line: Of Stillness and Storm by Michèle Phoenix is haunting and poetic and not a book you can easily walk away from. It’s a cautionary tale and a riveting story, all at once. I’m still reacting to a lot of it, to be honest. In my spirit. In my gut. In my heart. Wanting to hug some characters close. Wanting to shake some sense into others. This is not a book to be read lightly but it’s one with the power to heal and the power to prevent. Which, really, is the best kind of fiction.

    (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)

    See my full review at

  • Paula Vince
    Dec 08, 2016

    The heroine of this story is Lauren, who unwillingly lives a spartan lifestyle in Kathmandu, Nepal, teaching English as a second language. Her 13-year-old son Ryan also hates the lifestyle to the point of sinking into such deep depression she can’t reach him. They are there because of Sam, their husband and dad, whose missionary zeal is the driving force.

    It’s all about warning us to take care before getting attached to zealots whose passion far exceeds our own. Sam is like a modern St John River

    The heroine of this story is Lauren, who unwillingly lives a spartan lifestyle in Kathmandu, Nepal, teaching English as a second language. Her 13-year-old son Ryan also hates the lifestyle to the point of sinking into such deep depression she can’t reach him. They are there because of Sam, their husband and dad, whose missionary zeal is the driving force.

    It’s all about warning us to take care before getting attached to zealots whose passion far exceeds our own. Sam is like a modern St John Rivers from Jane Eyre. Deprivation is a badge of honour to him, but a pain in the neck to his family. He keeps his conscience clear because he doesn’t expect anything from his wife and son that he’s not prepared to give himself, but never stops to consider that few people are designed with his tireless ardour. He even worded his marriage proposal like an exam, telling her he didn’t want to be the sort of guy who’d lose track of his goals because of his family. Sadly, Lauren didn’t recognise the warning and duck out like Jane Eyre, but got attached to him anyway.

    Her attitudes and motivations are easy to understand. She grapples with guilt because she knows that compared to him, she’s just going through the motions. She finds herself eagerly catching up with her old friend Aidan on Facebook. He offers something she’s not getting from Sam, being a free-spirited artist who even disregards the conventions of the English language.

    The person I felt for most was Ryan, since kids don’t get to choose their parents, then get dragged from pillar to post. The story raises so many questions. Should those with such strong standards for the way they approach mission work even have families, since it’s clear they’ll be pushed into second place and forced into molds which don’t fit them? Maybe people like Sam should follow the example of St Paul, who probably didn’t for that very reason. Can we ever force ourselves to take on the burdens of someone else’s heart, no matter how much we love them, and should we even be expected to? Can decisions which we make with the shortsighted, rose coloured glasses of youth cast shadows over us for the rest of our lives? In my past, I’ve come across a few deep and meaningful Sams who I greatly admired, but as I read this novel, I felt grateful that I married my husband instead 🙂

    It wasn’t the style of book I usually go for. I’m not a fan of gut-wrenching heartache (of which this book has its share), but sometimes when you’re making requests for ARCs based on brief blurbs, you have to accept the risk. I’m a highly sensitive person and also a bit on an empath, which makes it easy to take others’ grief on myself. When an author’s writing makes me fond of characters, it sticks with me for ages when horrible things happen to them. That’s why I’m not giving it full marks, but I know this is a personal thing. Michele Phoenix’s writing certainly deserves five stars, and she does warn us herself in the notes at the back of the book that this is a cautionary tale.

    Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for my review copy.

    For more reviews and book talk, visit my blog,

  • Laura
    Dec 14, 2016

    I was immediately attracted to this novel. From its poetic title to its symbolic book cover and book description. My instincts were right. Of Stillness and Storm is full of depth, rich in character with an expat and missionary setting that pulls you in from the first page and doesn’t let go until the last page, leaving you spent with conflicting emotions.

    Lauren is a dutiful and supportive wife to Sam, her missionary husband who is living his dream of helping tribes in remote areas of Nepal. He i

    I was immediately attracted to this novel. From its poetic title to its symbolic book cover and book description. My instincts were right. Of Stillness and Storm is full of depth, rich in character with an expat and missionary setting that pulls you in from the first page and doesn’t let go until the last page, leaving you spent with conflicting emotions.

    Lauren is a dutiful and supportive wife to Sam, her missionary husband who is living his dream of helping tribes in remote areas of Nepal. He is usually gone for three weeks at a time into these remote regions while Lauren and their thirteen-year-old son Ryan make the best of their expat life without him every time he’s gone. Ryan, who never wanted to leave his home is resentful, withdrawn and brimming with unleashed anger. Lauren is torn between supporting Sam and trying to be a good mother to Ryan.

    Their lives begin to unravel when Aiden, a friend from Lauren’s life connects with her on Facebook. A friend from her past, from her teen years who “gets” her and understands her. As Lauren becomes distracted with her own unmet needs and Sam refuses to acknowledge that his absence and obsession is tearing his family apart, Ryan is left to deal with his loneliness and misery. The stillness with become a storm.

    I loved reading this book. Michèle Phoenix’s writing style is beautiful, lyrical and full of depth and emotions. She brings Nepal to life, as well as the expat life. As a woman, I understood Lauren’s feelings of wanting to be supportive to a husband she loves, while dealing with a teenager who is angry. She aches for her son, for what is lost and for her feelings of helplessness. She works hard to keep it all together.

    Through a dual timeline, the story goes back and forth between the present day and Lauren’s past when she first met Sam, the way they fell in love and their joy at their son’s birth after trying for so long. The author succeeds in creating depth for her characters in this way, in unravelling the layers of emotions and where they came from. We come to understand Lauren’s former connection with Aiden and what he meant to her.

    Of Stillness and Storm is thought-provoking and would make a great book club choice. It explores family life and what it means to be a missionary, especially when one has a family. It touches on obsession, first love, unresolved issues, and faith. This book has made it on my best reads for 2016 list.

    After visiting the author’s website, I was excited to realize I have her previous novel Tangled Ashes on my Kindle! I have now moved that book up on my TBR list. And I will make time to read her other previous novels too. Her website also includes videos and the backstory to her novels which I thought was so interesting. I am now Michèle Phoenix’s latest fan.

    Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Lydia Howe
    Dec 21, 2016

    Why I Choose this Book:

    It’s a contemporary about missionaries – specifically struggling missionaries. It sounded intriguing.

    What I Thought about this Book:

    WARNING: This review contains spoilers!

    I literally had no clue what I was getting into. Of Stillness and Storms was gloriously beautiful. Heartbreakingly honest. Terrifyingly real. Horrible, amazing, gripping, totally wrong, and completely spot-on all at once. Each page was one more waving red flag, screaming about the train wreck that was ta

    Why I Choose this Book:

    It’s a contemporary about missionaries – specifically struggling missionaries. It sounded intriguing.

    What I Thought about this Book:

    WARNING: This review contains spoilers!

    I literally had no clue what I was getting into. Of Stillness and Storms was gloriously beautiful. Heartbreakingly honest. Terrifyingly real. Horrible, amazing, gripping, totally wrong, and completely spot-on all at once. Each page was one more waving red flag, screaming about the train wreck that was taking place, slowly, one word at a time.

    The writing, the storyline, the whole concept, was exceptional. The tension between the main character (Lauren) and her husband’s (Sam) understandings of how God works and the compound effect of those views was expertly told.

    Sam. Ugh. He changed so little throughout the book. His idealism at the beginning is basically the same at the end. Only the settings changed. His fierce desire to live largely and his devotion to his own convictions ironically make him appear predictable and stagnant by the end. You just know he isn’t going to change, and Lauren’s palpable frustration is shared. In spite of – perhaps because of – her mistakes, she seems like the most living character in the book, because she’s acting like a real human. Sam’s single-mindedness glazed his vision, and his undoing was when he stopped taking Lauren’s input into whatever equation he was using to find God’s will. He ended up being an absentee control freak – which sounds like an oxymoron, but is so true.

    It was intriguing because it’s not easy to tell exactly where everything fell apart. You can see the seeds early on (the book contained large portions of flashbacks), but the only real barometer we have is Lauren’s response. If Lauren and Sam were completely united in their mission, the story would look completely different. What’s disconcerting is that Sam could still be a stubborn control freak and no one might ever know. He would probably look like a great missionary and person to most people, and Lauren’s support would validate that. As it is, our sympathy with Lauren’s humanity cues us that something is off with Sam, and by the end of the book, it is tragically obvious.

    Conclusion

    This book is by far the best one I’ve ever read in regards to TCKs (Third Culture Kids) and the challenges they go through. I’ve grown up around TCKs, and many of my closest friends are TCKs. Sometimes I feel like one myself. It came to my attention a few years ago (when visiting some missionary friends), how there are so many misunderstandings when it comes to TCKs, and that can be a huge problem.

    With my job I have the privilege of hanging out with missionaries a lot. I’ve heard stories that are comparable to this one, but with incredibly beautiful grace and mercy filled endings. I’ve seen how real the issues this book dealt with can be, and how much heartache can spring forth when miscommunications take over. This book handled the topic so vividly that it made me want to recommend it to everyone.

    Unfortunately there were some borderline issues in this book – a couple scenes that I’m not comfortable recommending, as well as several words. There were also a couple of places that I couldn’t tell if they were using God’s name in vain or not (you’d have to see the writing style to know why it was confusing), so that was a disappointment. Also, the whole premise is rather disturbing (but, in like a really honest, needed type of way). Therefore I can’t exactly recommend it to everyone. But! Depending on your personal guidelines, you might want to check the book out.

    Rating

    I’m giving Of Stillness and Storms 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10.

    *I received this book free from Litfuse*

  • Tegan Vandenbosch
    Dec 29, 2016

    Lauren and Sam have spent most of their marriage planning and saving to get to Nepal to do missionary work in the remote tribal regions of the mountainous land. Two years into their lives in Kathmandu, reality wears on Lauren and their 13 year old son Ryan, in taxing and telling ways. While Sam disappears for three out of every four weeks, completely unaware of how much distress his wife and son are in, Lauren and Ryan are left to do his bidding in the name of the “mission”, in a foreign third w

    Lauren and Sam have spent most of their marriage planning and saving to get to Nepal to do missionary work in the remote tribal regions of the mountainous land. Two years into their lives in Kathmandu, reality wears on Lauren and their 13 year old son Ryan, in taxing and telling ways. While Sam disappears for three out of every four weeks, completely unaware of how much distress his wife and son are in, Lauren and Ryan are left to do his bidding in the name of the “mission”, in a foreign third world country where daily life is more than just a struggle.

    When an old friend from Lauren’s long ago past pops up on Facebook, life begins to spiral out of control as reality comes crashing in. Unfortunately, it is the young who suffer the most . . . .in this story, that is no exception.

    I found Of Stillness and Storm to be poetically and brilliantly written, carrying me along and wrapping me up in Lauren’s story. I haven’t read a book that I literally could not put down until I finished it, at 2 am, crying my eyes out, in quite a while. Lauren’s tale riveted me, as if I was reading events parallel to my own life (except not in Kathmandu, and not missionary work) and I had to know what happened to Lauren and Ryan and I felt my life was invested, and interwoven even, in theirs.

    The complexity of faith, the reality of daily life, the sheer selfishness of some people – however pure they think their motives are, the humanness that connects people to each other, the yearning and need to be heard, to feel validated, to be loved – these elements come together creating a powerful story.

    The events and characters in this story reverberated deeply with me, perhaps because of events going on in my own life. I understood Lauren’s pain, her yearning to feel loved by her husband, the frustration of being continually ignored and then told she didn’t say anything, the anger at the incredible selfishness of some people, the pain of seeing her child spiral downward without being able to do anything about it, the response out of intense loneliness and taxing burden when someone reaches out and touches her soul. And the tension that all of these things bring out that comes crashing down in chaotic and incredibly tragic reality. These things are what Michele Phoenix writes about in her story.

    Though Michele’s mission is not to put ministry work in a bad light, she does have a heart for the children who are often run right over in righteous zealotry. Is a calling a calling if the whole family is not called? Would God want a marriage, a family, torn apart so that others can be reached? Of Stillness and Storm brings up these questions, and so many more, than cause thoughtful pondering of the will of God in our own lives, in ministry, and more.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Thomas Nelson Publishing Co.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  • Denise
    Dec 31, 2016

    I was lucky enough to receive an Advance Reader’s Copy of Michele Phoenix’s new novel, Of Stillness And Storm. The premise of the novel sounded fresh and new – I read a LOT of books, and often times it’s the same plots recycled over and over. I still enjoy them, but when I see something that looks especially out of the ordinary, it makes me even more excited to read it. Of Stillness And Storm takes place in Nepal and focuses on missionaries Lauren and Sam, along with their son Ryan. It’s told in

    I was lucky enough to receive an Advance Reader’s Copy of Michele Phoenix’s new novel, Of Stillness And Storm. The premise of the novel sounded fresh and new – I read a LOT of books, and often times it’s the same plots recycled over and over. I still enjoy them, but when I see something that looks especially out of the ordinary, it makes me even more excited to read it. Of Stillness And Storm takes place in Nepal and focuses on missionaries Lauren and Sam, along with their son Ryan. It’s told in the first person view of Lauren, who’s struggling with the realities of their life and mission in Nepal. The back cover reads:

    ““I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

    It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

    At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

    Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

    Publisher’s Weekly – In this fine novel, Phoenix (Tangled Ashes) realistically captures the deep struggles enveloping a missionary family.

    RT Book Reviews – Phoenix’s latest takes a thoughtful and realistic look at the hardships missionaries endure and the strain that missionary work can place on a family. This book should be required reading for every wife and husband in the mission field who is trying to do God’s work. Readers will run through a gamut of emotions while reading this book as it addresses hard questions about priorities and what God asks of us. Readers will be able to relate to the main character; she’s likeable, real and her struggles are genuine. This is a book that will take a reader out of their comfort zone but will also leave readers with thought-provoking questions long after reading. Well done!”

    This may be a Christian novel about a missionary family in Nepal, but leave any preconceived notions about what type this book might be behind. Starting with lyrical, haunting prose from the very first page, I was absolutely hooked and couldn’t put it down. This is a bold and dynamic tale with themes of love, loss, betrayal, longing, and more. I was immediately swept up and immersed in Lauren’s world – this is one of the most atmospheric books I’ve read lately. I love Christian books that tackle subjects that are hard and difficult and that others shy away from, and Of Stillness And Storm definitely fit the bill. I highly, highly recommend this book.

    I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in order to provide an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.