The loss of her beloved husband, Ryan, the pain of rejection, and the determination to make sure her children grew up happy and healthy caused Emma to live her life with a mask. The world around her thought she was doing well, but inside, she was raging. The return to her home town brought all the memories and emotions back into the light.
David wore his scars like badge of warning that said, “Don’t come near me. I am damaged goods.” But the real damage was in his heart. Damage he had brought upon himself and those he loved. He let the regret of his mistakes dictate who he let in. Including God.
Can he find forgiveness for his past from the one person he wants it from the most? Can she learn to love again and accept the path God has for her?
“Wardwell, is a vivid story teller. Inspiring, heartbreaking, thoughtful writing!”
“Wonderful story of a family and their ability to overcome adversity.”
“Read it in an afternoon. Didn’t want to put it down.”
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Novella: A Christmas Wedding
“Sometimes forgiveness is the best Christmas gift you can give.”
It’s time for the union of Emma & Ryan. Eight years kept them apart. There was no way that bad weather and family emergencies would do the same, though it might delay things a bit.
“This story touched me on so many levels that it is hard to explain adequately in words how beautiful forgiveness is. It’s truly amazing when we can lay aside the past and look at the future God has planned for us.”
“Loved how the characters worked through their emotions, and as they worked through them so did I as a reader!”
“This book was amazing and a must-read for couples.”
Available on Amazon or through the author’s website.
CIR: What inspired this series?
WARDWELL: The idea originated on a back road drive as I took my kids to dance classes in a neighboring town. I met up with a high school friend of mine after not seeing each other for almost 10 years, and she told me I should write. She is also an aspiring writer. Once I finished writing the story, I read over it to make sure I was ready to send it out there and realized it was an over-dramatization of the last four years of my marriage. Though my husband and I never divorced, it was like living with a stranger for a long time. In January of 2014, we had a heavy heart-to-heart and things began to turn around for us. We are in the best place of our lives right now.
CIR: What makes the Christmas novella a must-read for the season?
WARDWELL: It showcases a family once ripped apart by bad choices be mended back together. They chose to forgive the one who hurt them and accept him back into the fold and into their hearts. You will see many times that the faith of this couple and those around them be on display for the reader and it could be very emotional for some as they witness each step of this family’s life in preparation of this reunion.
CIR: What messages do you hope your readers will get out of this series?
WARDWELL: That second chances are real. God is all about second and third and fourth chances. You can also learn to love those who have hurt you. I have learned that one first hand. There was very little love in our house for a little while, but once I forgave my husband and he forgave me, we could begin to move forward. Anything is possible if you give it a chance. Also, “Forgiveness is not something you do because the other person deserves it, but because you can find freedom in doing so.” I have had to forgive those around me for things that would seem unforgivable just so that I would no longer feel the bitterness and anger I had. It is freeing to forgive.
CIR: You’ve already told us the story was somewhat autobiographical. Can you tell us about the main characters?
WARDWELL: Well I have two. Emma is a mother who pushes everything aside for the sake of her children. She still has great faith in God, but not much in herself. She second-guesses herself quite a bit and fights against accepting the path she is being lead down. David lived a hard life for eight years, avoiding the people of this world that were terrified by his disfiguring scars. He refused to let anyone get close, including returning to the relationships he once had. He doesn’t feel worthy of the second chances God has given him. But remembering how things once were makes him need the forgiveness of those he hurt the most so he can have them back in his life.
CIR: Do you have a favorite character?
WARDWELL: I have no favorite, but my readers did. His name is Aaron. He is a twelve-year-old boy and the son of Emma & Ryan. Aaron is sassy, precocious and a bit of a stinker. He has no problem telling it like it is. At the end of What God Brings Together, you see him somewhat forgive his dad for leaving them years before, but in the Christmas novella, you will find that he is still struggling with that forgiveness. In one touching scene, you witness that finality of the struggle this young boy has. My editor told me that she cried every time she read that part. My fondest holiday memory is making homemade cinnamon rolls and crescent rolls with my dad every year. Now he has handed off the recipe to me and I make it every year with whichever of my 3 children want to help. Typically, it is my middle child and my inspiration for “Aaron”.
Learn more about Melissa Wardwell and her writing at her blog.