Friday, September 25, 2009

My Friend . . . Christina Berry

During my first writers conference back in '07, I was standing around waiting for class to start one day and struck up a conversation with a mother/daughter writing team in front of me--Christina Berry and Sherry Ashcroft. Though I met a lot of people there, these ladies stuck in my mind. I was pregnant, and Christina shared her pregnancy stories too, so maybe that's why I remembered her face and name. Or maybe it's because her joy in the Lord practically radiates from her.

For whatever reason, I've kept Christina in my htoughts and prayers over the years, so I was eager to help when she announced her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, was coming out from Moody Press in September of 2009. Go, Christina! She was the second place winner with this story in the Genesis contest, a testament to the attention the contest can bring you. And when I started reading her book, I didn't have to wonder why she did so well.

I didn't get to start The Familiar Stranger until conference this year. I opened the first page, made a few observations. The first word? His. Chapter heading sort of thing to tell you whose point of view you're in. Naturally, the other option is Hers. I loved this from the get-go. Then I read the first page and said something like, "Wooooowwwww." She totally captured the male mindset, right down to the sarcasm. I could totally hear it, totally put myself into the mind of her hero. And as I turned the page . . .

My roommate came in. LOL. Stephanie looked at what I was reading and said, "Oo, I can't wait to read that. Is it good?"

I often hate it when people ask that question when I've been reading for all of thirty seconds, but this time I didn't mind at all. "The first page is awesome!" I told her.

It wasn't until later that night that I got to read more, but my exclamation after the first chapter was pretty amazed too. "Oh my gosh!" I announced to Stephanie. "I think this guy's going to try to fake his own death!"

Kept reading . . . got to the stuff on the back cover. Craig (hero) is in a debilitating car accident that leaves him seriously injured and with retrograde amnesia. His wife, who has been wondering if their marriage is in serious danger, rushes to his side and prays that somehow this will draw them closer. And it does--except for all those unanswered questions. Obviously there are lies between them. But can they overcome them?

You don't think I'm going to tell you, do you? Ha! No, you're just going to have to open up this awesome book yourself and see. I promise you won't regret it. Christina is a talented writer, and she confesses that she pulled a lot of the feeling from her own life--a marriage on the rocks that got better only to end without warning.

Yet still Christina radiates the joy of the Lord, and it's so clear from a minute of talking to her that this is one woman excited about what God might have in store for her. Her tagline, Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagently sums it up rather well, doesn't it? I was so glad to get to talk to her and hug her again in Denver, and it's my prayer that this book takes off and establishes a reputation she totally deserves as a writer and a person.


  1. This is one of the sweetest, most real reviews I've read of the book. Roseanna, I can't believe you've remembered me in your prayers for so long! There was an instant connection/fondness as soon as I found your blog before that conference two years ago.

    And what a wonderful prayer, that the book might be "successful." THANK YOU, I shout with joy. :D

  2. This is so true. All of it. Christina is beautiful inside and out. And she certainly came up with an intriguing, surprising story!!!!

  3. Thanks for such a wonderful review of my daughter's book, Roseanna! It's amazing to me that you remembered both of us from long ago. And I'm so thankful you've been praying for Christina. Glad you loved the book and can recomend it to others. I'm just so proud of her and happy for the way her friends are supporting her by spreading the word!