Always Jan

Published By: Harvest House Publishers

Book Category: Fiction, Christian

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Reviewed by Andrea Sisco

We plan and God answers with a nudge, reminding us that He is in charge. That He knows what is best for us and that it is so much more than we ever imagined it could be. In Always Jan, Roxanne Henke welcomes us to Brewster, North Dakota, the kind of town where most people would love to live. It's a place where people know your name and reach out to help each other. It's where folks gather at the restaurant or gas station to gossip and commiserate with each other. It's a place, like most others, only smaller, where the inhabitants have hopes and dreams, love their friends, family and neighbors and share the sadness of broken dreams and deep hurts. It's also a place where God lives.

Jan, at 43 believes she is "getting old" and losing her beauty. Kenny owns the local gas station but there isn't enough money for his growing family. Ida, Kenny's aunt, values independence, health and a vital future. Each character experiences a "challenge" that they didn't expect and didn't want. Henke weaves each character's life dilemma through the lives of the others in a seamless manner. Jan, Kenny and Ida are each broken, in their own way, and each must learn through their personal trials that God's plan is the best plan.

There was a time when I didn't enjoy Christian fiction because it wasn't real life. It seemed that life in Christian fiction was always "happy ever after," if only we believed. Real life isn't always perfect, even when we trust and believe.

Roxanne Henke's novel Always Jan approaches life in a "real" way: real people, with real problems, who struggle to live their faith. I smiled, I squeezed the tears threatening to break free and I kept reading. I didn't want the story to end because I felt I knew these people and I liked them, "warts" and all. I can't wait to read her other novels. If you haven't read Roxanne Henke's novels, www.armchairinterviews highly recommends that you do. "Welcome to Brewster...it's a good place to call home."

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