Growing up I loved to read so much, I was teased about it at school. My middle school locker was stuffed with "Sweet Valley High", "Babysitter’s Club", and other meaningless fiction stories. Whenever I finished my work early, or had a few minutes of down time between lessons, I would pull out my book and read, despite being taunting by the kids around me for having my nose in a book- again.
Looking back, I wish I would have read a few books about the lives of saints. But, at the time I knew no better. The stories I spent so much time with back then certainly lacked any real substance, but they were sweet and innocent enough. When I outgrew those old middle school stories and began to read more adult fiction selections, I turned to authors like V.C. Andrews and Stephen King. These were interesting stories but were no longer the sweet and innocent stories of my youth. They glorified worldly values and errant behaviors.
As I grew in my faith, I began to see the error of my reading ways and sought out great fictional stories that would encourage me in my Catholic faith and entertain me at the same time. Sadly, I was largely unsuccessful in my mission and have spent much of my adult life reading books intended for elementary school students because they provided me the joy of reading without offending me in their secularism.
But, now, at the recommendation of my friend Sue, I have discovered a wonderful and talented Catholic author in Ellen Gable Hrkach! After reading the summary of Hrkach latest novel, Stealing Jenny I could not wait to read it. The summary sounded intriguing and interesting without being offensive in its portrayal of married life.
Stealing Jenny lived up to its description brilliantly. The story of Tom and Jenny, a young married couple anxiously awaiting the birth of their sixth child, was realistic and beautifully written. It was, at the same time, an enthralling tale full of suspense.
At first, Tom and Jenny’s life together seems perfect. They are a loving Catholic couple and have been blessed with a family that is the picture of goodness. As the story unfolds though, details are slowly revealed about both a sinister kidnapping plot involving Jenny and her unborn baby, and the twists and turns of the couple’s early relationship. Hrkach expertly weaves together the details of the present day kidnapping and the past struggles Tom and Jenny faced as a teenage couple. Both storylines kept me glued to my computer screen as I flew through my very first e-book ever.
I was truly captivated by the book. It was all that I have longed for as an avid reader- a story fraught with suspense and drama. And all that I desire as a Catholic mother as well- a story about a family I could relate to and be inspired by. Beautiful in every way!