by Deborah Bedford
A star in the burgeoning Christian fiction genre, Bedford blends religion and romance in her enjoyable 12th novel. Dishing up meat loaf in his college cafeteria, Sam Tibbits gets “a holy urge” to become a minister. All he needs in addition, he decides, is Aubrey, the friend he fell for during childhood vacations to Oregon. After a crosscountry drive to propose, Sam finds that Aubrey’s family has moved, leaving no trace. He never marries, and at midlife, feeling depleted and hoping for spiritual renewal, he revisits the spot he loved as a teen. Blessedly (and improbably), Aubrey has chosen the same time and beach to wrestle with her own demons.
Bedford’s secondary characters never come fully alive, but there are probing questions here about why bad things happen to good people, and a gentle story about refrigerator blindness, as Sam realizes that what he was looking for was right in front of him all along.