Desert Isle Keeper
Love and the Silver Lining
I picked up Love and the Silver Lining because the description mentioned dogs, music, and romance, and I was ready to read something from a new-to-me author. I got started late on a Sunday morning and eventually looked up to find that several hours had passed. This second book of the State of Grace series easily stands alone and dives deep into the life of a young woman who had missed the most important things about the friends who have stood beside her most of her life.
For Darcy, life as she knows it is in shambles. During the previous Christmas, Darcy’s parents – with a suddenness that stunned her – announced they were getting a divorce. And now, just months later, the Guatemalan teaching mission trip she had been planning for two years has been canceled due to the mission’s financial collapse. Her apartment lease runs out in days, nearly all her belongings lie in storage, and her job as a dog-groomer is now unavailable. Her mother has asked Darcy to stay with her, but right now, Darcy doesn’t see that as a viable option. She cries and yells at God ”Why?” for two days while devouring pints of ice cream.
Pounding on her door announces the arrival of Cameron, the guy who is her very best friend. They have celebrated together as well as pulled each other out of scrapes and emotional troughs for years. Cameron used to play in a praise-team band for their church, but gave it up for a chance to tour with Black Carousel, a secular rock band poised for fame and fortune in the music world. As always, Cameron comes through for Darcy, with an offer to stay at his place – which means a mattress on his bedroom floor and sharing the tiny apartment with two other guys, members of the band Cameron left. That option feels wrong on several levels, and she promises only to consider it.
In the end, a solution comes from a surprising direction. Bryson, a guy she’s knows since elementary school and a member of Black Carousel, says that his sister has an extra bedroom in her apartment and since her job demands long hours, Darcy would have the place mostly to herself. And she can bring her little Maltipoo dog Piper, too. If Darcy wants the room, Bryson can make it happen. Bryson’s all-black clothes and aloof manner scream ‘back off’, and in the past, he has broken up with his girlfriends with unfeeling abruptness, so Darcy is skeptical of his sincerity. Once she realizes that the man is actually making a charitable offer, Darcy agrees. A few days later, Bryson arrives at his sister’s apartment looking for a ride, and after some clearing-the-air about those break-ups, Darcy drives. The destination is the home of a widower whose wife worked as a “dog whisperer” rehabilitating troubled dogs to become pets. Visiting the group of animals left behind, Darcy hears a strong inner call to save them if at all possible, and she dusts off her dog training certification, rolls up her sleeves, and dives in.
Love and the Silver Lining is Darcy’s journey, written in first person, with all the emotions, wit, and thoughts of a woman grounded in her faith and navigating an ever-changing life, as we all do, with a balance of insight and blindness. The writing is smooth and evocative, weaving humor among the challenges, bringing the two men’s passion for music and Darcy’s love of dogs to life, all the while uncovering secrets along Darcy’s path to a better understanding of the people around her and a deep, lasting love. Darcy’s relationship with God is close and personal. She has no trouble wrestling with the Almighty, sure He is just as committed to her as she is to Him.
Although I’ve given a sensuality rating of “kisses”, the text does move a bit beyond the sensuality found in most Christian romance in that the kissing scenes include deeply emotional descriptions and brief touching that is lovingly sensual.
With its friends-to-lovers trope, well-drawn characters, and rich portrayal of friendship bonds, Love and the Silver Lining offers an emotional, heartwarming journey through a young woman’s crisis and its resolution built on her steady personal growth and God’s exquisite timing. I can recommend this book without reservation.