With candor and compassion, Silver Angel award-winning writer Bette Nordberg explores the struggles and heartaches associated with homosexuality and AIDS to create a gripping novel that reveals the comfort of a personal relationship with Jesus. Colleen is wary when her brother Stephen arrives, but she refuses to dwell on his homosexuality. After a family fight, Stephen angrily leaves. Colleen follows him, discovers he has AIDS, and invites him to live with her family. As Stephen's illness progresses, Colleen encounters fear, prejudice, and judgments from "it's a shame" to "God is punishing Stephen." Slowly Colleen considers a new answer. Maybe AIDS isn't a condemnation. Perhaps God has granted Stephen time to evaluate his life and discover the love of the Master Healer.
If you don`t completely understand the true meaning of ‘grace’ in the context of your faith, you will by the time you`ve finished reading this novel.
Colleen hasn`t seen her twin brother, Stephen, for years until he shows up at Colleen`s house for their mother`s birthday party. Stephen has been away from his family due to disagreements over his alternative lifestyle and after another disagreement at the party he storms out of the house and goes home. Colleen is terribly upset and vows not to lose Stephen again and hops into her car and drives across the state to his home. Once there she finds out Stephen`s truth – he has the AIDS virus.
Colleen brings Stephen back to her home and eventually invites him to stay and live with her family so she can care for him. However, Colleen didn`t ask her husband, Kevin, or their two teenage kids how they felt about Stephen living with them. Travis, Colleen`s son doesn`t even want to be in the same room as his Uncle and Kevin questions her allowing Stephen to help bake Christmas cookies. The family`s fears about AIDS are depicted so well and pretty much mirror image how a lot of people in society today still view AIDS patients even with all the education that has been done. I think there will always be some type of stigma attached to AIDS and some will never feel comfortable with it.
Even in her church, Colleen faces criticism from fellow parishioners, including one woman who gets up, turns off the keyboard Colleen just finished playing on, and proceeds to clean every single white key, black key, and all other buttons before she herself would play it. Can you even begin to imagine how that would make you feel if you were in Colleen`s shoes?
Not only is AIDS a huge part of this story but so is faith. Colleen has a secret that her family knows nothing about and I think that held her back from really participating in her conversations with God and her ability to hunker down and feel totally at peace. But her decision to move Stephen into her own home basically forces her to delve deep into why she “really” brought him there and why it is so important for her to care for Stephen in his final days.
We need to remember that God allows us to experience grief and pain because it is a gift and through that we learn the true meaning of grace.
A Season of Grace would have been a difficult book to write I would imagine, but Ms. Nordberg handled it with grace, humility, and great compassion. This is more than just a novel it's a lesson, an opportunity to learn. Unconditional love is a great thing! I would highly recommend that everyone read this novel.