***BOOK TO BE RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER 2011***
During Isabella Alcantara's seventh month of pregnancy, her parents and siblings are murdered in gang and drug related violence, simply because their home was targeted by mistake. Isabella knows she was spared only because she now lives in a different location, but she knows too that the same thing could easily happen to her and her husband, Francisco. When her grandfather offers to hire her a "coyote" to bring them across the border to America, she agrees. But Francisco and Isabella are abandoned by the coyote and left to die. Francisco then valiantly sacrifices himself to get Isabella to safety. Homeless, nearly penniless, pregnant, and alone, Isabella determines to find a way to honour her promise to her beloved husband.
Living on one of the smaller spreads along the Arizona border, Miriam Nelson becomes furious with God and turns from her faith when her border patrol agent husband, David, is killed in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Though her mother and young son do their best to woo her back from the anger and bitterness that have overtaken her, they make little headway.
Two widows-one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge-must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn full of animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.
I totally fell in love with this beautiful, moving story! The emotions it brought forth were ones of immense faith, a committed belief in God and all that He does for us. We often lose our faith and belief like Isabella and Miriam had in the story, each for their own reasons. Struggling to understand why they bother to pray when their prayers are never answered. But God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we think they should be answered and sometimes we feel they’re not being answered at all when in fact, the good Lord is allowing us to stumble through some rough times in order to be able to understand the answer He does give us.
Isabella felt deserted and alone and didn’t have the depth of belief and commitment to Christ that both her Grampa and husband, Francisco had. Her Grandfather had told Isabella that she must trust God each step of the way on her journey through the desert and that God would guide her and Francisco along their way. All during their long and arduous trek Isabella wondered if God would even listen and would he answer? Finally, at one point while staying at a house, Isabella is frightened and begins to pray trusting God would help them through the situation they were in. She knew how deeply Francisco and her Grandfather believed and that they both prayed much more than she did. She just hoped they were right, but you can’t have “hope”, you have to truly ‘believe.’
Miriam, at one time was a faithful servant of God’s but now she was full of a deep, deep anger and revenge toward God and the people responsible for her husband’s death. Throughout the story she was a sad and bitter woman whose six-year-old son even picked up on it. Little David told his Gramma, Carolyn that his Mom was: “…mad at God.” Miriam was almost accusatory in her thinking about God which only made her more sad and bitter. She was caught in a vicious battle within herself.
A Christmas Journey Home is one of the most beautiful and special novels I’ve ever read. I truly will remember Isabella and Miriam for a long time to come. Personally, I think this novel should become a Christmas classic and be read by all families between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year!! It certainly will in ours. Thank you Ms. Macias for touching our hearts so deeply.
It wasn’t until an absolutely wonderful event took place that both Isabella and Miriam were finally able to reconcile with God with joy, a sense of peace and a sense of true togetherness.
***PREVIEW COPY COURTESY OF KATHI MACIAS***