Book Review – Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

Did you know that Beth Wiseman doesn’t only write Amish fiction? It’s true. I just finished Need You Now, Wiseman’s latest contemporary novel. This is a story that touches the heart on many levels. It has all of the elements I love in a great book: intriguing characters, an element of suspense, real issues that give the reader something more than entertainment, and a emotional connection to the story and characters. Wiseman knows how to tell a story!

In the book, main character Darlene is at a place where many stay-at-home moms may find themselves. Wondering what her purpose is now that her children are older, and wondering how she can help the family budget, Darlene looks for a job outside of the home. She’s deeply in love with her husband of nearly 20 years, but she’s lonely after moving to a new town, and she spends a lot of time alone while Brad spends a lot of time at the office. Basically, she’s vulnerable. That vulnerability opens the doors for receiving attention from another very attentive male who listens and cares, and shows interest.

This story is so much like that of many women I know. That vulnerability plays tricks with their minds, and like many other women, Darlene begins suspecting her husband’s time at the office is about more than just work. I won’t give away the story, but it’s raw and real.

In the middle of all this, Darlene meets her neighbor, another woman who needs a friend. Layla, a glamorous cowgirl with loads of connections, is a vulnerable soul under the façade of movie star glamour. There are multilayered aspects to the story and the relationships and I had to force myself to get my work done when I wanted to be reading the book instead. Wiseman addresses the topic of teen cutting in the book, as well as the struggles of parenting teens. She addresses special needs children, the work versus stay at home struggle, and so much more. Like I said, it’s multilayered.

I really loved the book. I think if there is anything I’d change it’s part of Layla’s story. Some might consider it a spoiler, but since it’s in the middle of the book, I don’t think saying this next thing gives away too much (but avert your eyes if you don’t like to know ANYTHING about a story before reading it).  I thought it was very abrupt how quickly Layla went from hating God about a tragedy in her life to falling back in love with him and giving out spiritual advice. I think the book needed a little more length to allow this transition to happen in a more natural progression. It isn’t common for this to happen overnight for most people, and I think readers who want to know how they can get from the one point to the other would appreciate seeing Layla’s process. Other than that, this book is well done and I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wiseman has moved beyond bonnets, and I predict this is the beginning of another career explosion for her!

I received a complimentary Kindle version of this book for review from the Book Sneeze program from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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