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The Shadow of Your Smile

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The Advocate

The Shadow of Your Smile
by Susan May Warren

Reviewed by Venessa Ng

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"The Shadow of Your Smile is one of those bittersweet novels which will continue to live in your mind long after you’ve read the last page."

There are times when we wish we could forget the past and start afresh. But would we really want to forget, to lose those memories that have helped shape us?

Throughout life, we all face times of trial which test us in many ways, from our faith to our relationships. Trials which make us stronger–or tear us apart.

Noelle Hueston faced such a trial. In the three years that followed, her marriage disintegrated. Noelle and her husband Eli lived separate lives, becoming nothing more than two barely compatible roommates. While Eli spent most of his time away from home, Noelle rediscovered a love she had given up early in their marriage. Ready to finally move on with her life, Noelle set a plan in motion. She just had to wait five months until their youngest child graduated. She never counted on a second life-changing trial to strike.

As the result of an accident, Noelle wakes in the hospital believing she is a college student and awaits her parents to come collect her. Instead she finds a middle aged man by her bedside claiming to be her husband. Her last tangible memory is coming out of class—25 years ago.

Unable to recollect the past 25 years of her life, Noelle struggles to accept she is a middle-aged housewife and mother of two. How did her life turn out so differently from her college dreams? And what happened to cause such a chasm between her and Eli?

Noelle isn’t the only one struggling to adjust. On the verge of giving up on their marriage, Eli now faces the choice of helping his wife rebuild the memories she has lost, or keep her from remembering the things which tore them apart. Does a chance of resurrecting their marriage really mean he has to keep the most precious and most painful of her memories a secret?

The Shadow of Your Smile is one of those bittersweet novels which will continue to live in your mind long after you’ve read the last page. Noelle and Eli’s struggles are realistic and compelling. In today’s world, where divorce is so common, it is easy to give up and move on without really facing the tough issues. Warren uses Noelle and Eli’s struggle to remind us that marriage is never easy. We need to continue to work on our relationship and be open and honest with our spouse, no matter how painful it might be.

Warren’s heart-warming story reaches past Noelle and Eli to several supporting characters and subplots which are equally as riveting. We journey with them as they learn to love, grieve, and move forward after great loss. Warren’s gift of weaving storylines with rich characterisations and spiritual truths creates a page turning masterpiece.

Although I hate to admit it, I hadn’t realised Warren had extended her Deep Haven series beyond the first three books, which I had read and loved almost a decade ago. I was thrilled to receive The Shadow of Your Smile and discover the small lakeside community still provided a backdrop for Warren’s powerful yet entertaining prose.

Vennessa NgVennessa Ng lives in New Zealand with her husband and three children. As an avid reader with a passion for Christian worldview fiction, she works to help authors improve their craft through her freelance editing service, Aotearoa Editorial Services (www.aotearoaeditorial.com), and helps publicize books and authors via her review site, Illuminating Fiction (www.illuminatingfiction.com). She has also reviewed for Focus On Fiction, Infuze Magazine, Novel Reviews, 1340 Magazine, and now TitleTrakk. In her spare time she pursues her own passion for writing and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.