I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Thirty Days to Glory, Kathy Nickerson’s first published novel. As a long-time friend of hers, I had been hearing bits and pieces of this story for years. To actually get to hold this novel in my hands was a great feeling. With all this said, the question to ask is: was this novel worth the wait? I can only respond with the most enthusiastic of yes’s. I was so wrapped up in the book I read it in one sitting, finishing it at 1:27a.m. It is truly that engrossing!
Thirty Days to Glory is a novel that immediately draws you into the worlds of Catherine, an elderly widow, and Elmer, the most broken of men. The paths of these two strangers cross in a way that only Heaven can arrange. The setting for the story is Christmas time in a very small town in the Midwest. Kathy, having lived in such a town for her whole life, captures the rhythm and relationships flawlessly.
Catherine misses her husband, Edward, more each day. The holidays only make his absence harder to bear. She wonders if there are any more adventures for her or if life is over. Faced with pressure from her children to move to senior housing, far from her friends, Catherine must face the awful realities that growing old bring. I felt so sorry for this vibrant woman who represents an increasing segment of our society. Her choices will soon be mine.
Elmer is a man so tormented by PTSD that he has spent years insulating himself by crawling to into a bottle of booze. Much to his surprise and consternation, he begins to lose his taste for alcohol. Real life starts to surface, as Elmer struggles with facing the truth of the shattered life he has lived. I found myself rooting him on, hoping that he made the right choices every step of his journey.
Serving as the best type of Greek chorus are the Glory Circle Sisters, friends who have been together for decades. These lovely and hilarious ladies not only take care of each other, but also serve as prayer warriors who bring the power of heaven to earth for each other. The Sisters know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, yet love with a commitment that is all too rare these days. My favorite sister is Madge, the loud, blunt, redhead who dares to say what others won’t, or shouldn’t. She provides comic relief in the midst of this serious drama.
The characters in this book are so realistic that I mourned the loss of them when I reached the final page. Kathy has an amazing talent for making you feel like what is happening to Catherine’s life is happening to you. Elmer’s story is one that is all too common in real life. The struggles he faces seem insurmountable but God has not forsaken him. I found myself wishing I could jump into the book and help him find his way.
Thirty Days to Glory will stay with you long after the story is over. It highlights the lives of our most marginalized citizens and asks us to become more compassionate and understanding. This story also reminds us that God loves us and is actively involved in our lives, even when we can’t see it. I encourage you to read this book. It will change the way you view the world. Also, be sure to pick up a few copies for Christmas presents to give to those who are facing their own life-altering decisions.
Tomorrow I will be posting a great Q & A Kathy and I did.
*I received a copy of this book from CrossRiver Media for review, but was not financially compensated in any way. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and are solely based upon my experience while reading this book.