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The Edge of Belonging

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When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames--she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy's adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he's ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth--both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others--takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

384 pages, Paperback

First published September 8, 2020

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About the author

Amanda Cox

4 books487 followers
Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story. She holds a bachelor's degree in Bible and theology and a master's degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 480 reviews
Profile Image for Susan Snodgrass.
2,000 reviews189 followers
September 16, 2020
I almost passed this book by. My influencing schedule was full and there were books I wanted to reread, but it kept calling to me. I am so very glad I listened to its voice. Let me tell you now: this book is worth way more than the allowed five stars. Way more.

One night a thirty year old homeless man named Harvey finds a just born baby girl abandoned on the side of the highway near the woods in which he lives. He takes her in, names her Ivy Rose and starts loving her. But how will Harvey manage to raise a baby when he lives in the woods? He doesn't even have a job, so how will he feed and clothe her? From this point on, we see clearly God's magnificent orchestration in the lives of these people. It is absolutely amazing. This book is so incredibly profound. It squeezed my heart and then caused it to burst with joy. If it had been a physical book instead of digital, I would have clasped it to my heart and hugged it. Then, I wept, literally wept, with tears dripping off my face, during the last part of this tremendous story. I don't ever recall a debut novel moving me this much. Never. I not only highly recommend this book, I urge you to read it. Seriously. Read this book. It's going on my list of top reads for 2020.

*My thanks to Revell Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Heidi Chiavaroli.
Author 15 books859 followers
April 22, 2020
Love, love, loved this story!

From endorsement:

The Edge of Belonging is a beautiful story about broken people coming together to find healing. With a masterful pen, Amanda Cox draws us into a story of dynamic characters, organic faith elements, gentle romance, and an authentic celebration of life and humanity. A touching and brilliant debut novel that is sure to linger sweetly in the minds and hearts of readers.
Profile Image for Bonnie DeMoss.
761 reviews84 followers
October 4, 2020
The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox is a multi=timeline novel set mostly in Tennessee. It shifts from 1994 to 1998-1999, and back to Present Day.

In 1994, Harvey, homeless and living by the highway, finds an abandoned baby girl. He connects with her immediately, trying to care for her in his lean-to by the side of the road. Abandoned as a boy, he hopes to make a family with this lost little girl.

In the Present Day, Ivy, who is in an abusive relationship with a controlling fiance, returns home to Tennessee to settle her grandmother's estate. Her grandmother has left her a message and pointed her to a journal which will explain more about her adoption. With the help of her friend Reese, she starts to try and find out more about the first three months of her life.

The beauty of this book lies in the simple message of family and what constitutes a family. Ivy's family has always been her parents, her grandmother, and her Uncle Vee. But who are they really?

This book also hits some hard issues. It looks at domestic abuse, sex trafficking, drug abuse, the foster care system, and PTSD. It shows how important it is to love each other, and how love can transform a life. And it shows how God answers prayers, but not always in the way you would expect.

The Edge of Belonging is well written and hard to put down. The characters are so well developed that they will permanently touch your heart. The message of hope amid sorrow and tragedy abounds through the book. I highly recommend this to anyone who has experienced loss, or anyone who just wants to read a well written novel.

I received a free copy of this book from Revell via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
Profile Image for Rachel Fordham.
Author 6 books846 followers
October 9, 2020
I am a foster parent...which means I LOVE and HATE books that deal with foster care, abandonment etc. So many of them get it wrong. Obviously, every experience is different (even every child I have had, has had a different story) but some books get it all fundamentally wrong making it so hard to read. This book wasn't one of those. Part of the book takes place in the 90's so there are differences from how foster care works today (broken system then and in many ways now, but that's just me going off on a tangent).

This book is different than my foster experience (I can say that I saw myself in any of the characters, but I felt their struggles). This book has heart and it feels genuine. Yes, things come together pretty well and in real life that's not always the case (Can you tell I've been hurt by my foster experiences...it's such a beautiful and heartbreaking system to be a part of). But Amanda Cox shows the messy, the redemptive side and the importance of connection.

I love stories of families coming together in unusual ways and the family in this book comes with lots of baggage but together they're beautiful, stronger and more complete.

Go read it, it'll make you want to stop and take a second chance on someone you would have otherwise walked right by.
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,074 reviews84 followers
August 23, 2020
Amanda Cox tells an exquisite tale of finding home and family. The story is about Ivy Rose and is told from two perspectives. Present day Ivy yearns to know her beginnings. In flashbacks we see baby Ivy from her first day. Four seemingly diverse people are brought together by a tiny baby.
This is an achingly beautiful story of growing faith and living out the love of Christ despite difficulties. The characters are real and relatable. They have their flaws but Ms. Cox shows us that compassion can bring healing. We struggle along with Miri, Thom, Harvey and Pearl as they battle their own inner demons and rejoice when they find their purpose again.
This is an exceptional debut novel. I will be glad to read another offering from Amanda Cox.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,769 reviews126 followers
September 24, 2020
For a debut author let me tell you Amanda Cox really knows how to pack a punch!
You start reading and all is well you are sailing along fine, you start to get comfortable but in the back of your mind you're waiting,watching wondering . THEN......... all of the sudden take a deep breath, it hits you, a punch in the gut. You're sucker punched and you can't quite catch your breath.
The author really brings out all the emotions in you and I really look forward to seeing what she'll come out with next!

Published September 8th 2020 by Fleming H. Revell Company.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Gloria.
800 reviews58 followers
September 12, 2020
This book was not on my radar until I saw that someone else was reading it and it caught my eye. Wow! What a beautiful, emotional tapestry of love - sacrificial love, that of family in blood and that of family of choice, of God's healing love, and love that fills holes of loneliness.
When a homeless man living in the woods finds an abandoned baby, he decides to keep her. Harvey was an orphan who grew up in foster care and children homes, passed on when he wore his welcome out, never feeling love since the death of his parents. With this baby, he can show her that she is loved and wanted. But he has to get some help with her needs. He finds a church where he can get formula and diapers and it leads to work as a gardener at the church. His circle is slowly increased with a relationship with Pastor Thomas and Pearl, an older lady living in the parsonage, the former minister's wife.
This story is told in a dual timeline, with the story of Harvey finding the baby he named Ivy Rose and their first few months along with present day when Ivy is called home when her grandmother Pearl is dying. Ivy is very determined to find answers to how her parents came to adopt her. Her story is an emotional tale that shows how God has a plan for everyone and puts people in place where He directs. Keep the tissues handy but don't miss this story. This is an author that I hope to read in the future.
I received a complimentary ARC from Revell through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine only.
Profile Image for Beth.
775 reviews314 followers
September 15, 2020
The Edge of Belonging is a strong debut with powerful themes and endearing characters. Though it touches on heavier topics, such as infertility, homelessness, and grief, this story is never without hope. Cox infuses her narrative with characters that remind the reader to look for the helpers and the peacemakers, and that even they can be found in the unlikeliest of people.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the relationship between Pearl and Harvey, both hurting people in their own way, but Pearl has figured out the secret to life’s pains:

"It’s not about your pain versus my pain. It’s about sharing in the human experience and knowing what it is to hurt. It takes courage - stepping forward and healing when it’s so tempting, so safe, to stay and worship the alters we’ve built to our pain."

There is something healing about the way the friendship between Pearl and Harvey grows and deepens throughout the course of the narrative. The dual timeline flows together in such a way that keeps the reader engaged in both the present with Ivy as an adult, primarily getting to know who she has become, and in 1994 when she is an infant, primarily getting to know those who shaped her. All of the layers and pieces of the story are revealed to the reader along with Ivy, and it was a wonderful way to experience the story. Cox has a distinct voice and has offered up an impressive debut. I will look for upcoming release from her with eagerness.

I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher; I was not required to post a positive review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,654 reviews509 followers
September 6, 2020
Lovely debut!

The Edge of Belonging unravels the story of Ivy Rose in dual timelines: Present Day and her birth year of 1994. As a young adult, Ivy knows she was adopted, but longs to know more about her history and birth parents. Readers get to know Ivy in present day as she struggles with a romantic relationship and the loss of a relative.

While both time frames were compelling, it was Pearl and Harvey in 1994 that stole my heart. Both demonstrate sacrificial love and a yearning for companionship.

This debut is well written and engaging. I look forward to what Amanda Cox will write next.

My gratitude to publisher Revell for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Cindy Sheppard Gidge.
509 reviews4 followers
December 31, 2022
Marvelous story, well written and realistic enough, a satisfying reading:) Plenty of spiritual elements which is what I want to read about/have included etc in a book that is classified as a Christian inspirational one. Reese was such an admirable guy indeed but there weren't any maddening type characters other than Seth, the despicable ex. Gladly recommend this author as I will also read more by her; I kind of give an author "one chance", as time and life are too short to bother with a second if I wasn't gung ho on the first book!
Profile Image for Heather Wood.
Author 5 books137 followers
November 4, 2021
I read this because it won the Christy Award, and now I see why. I was crying at the end, but it was good crying, not "the author just manipulated my feelings" crying. I absolutely loved these imperfect characters and the way the character-driven plot intertwined all their journeys together perfectly. The theology and message were beautiful. I'm really glad I picked this one up, because the Christy was right- this is everything Christian fiction should be.
Profile Image for Monica H (TeaandBooks).
633 reviews48 followers
September 24, 2020
The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox is a heart-touching debut novel. I will certainly be looking to read more books by this author.

When The Edge of Belonging begins, Ivy Rose is engaged to a controlling, abusive man--and then her grandma passes away. She ends up returning to her hometown to oversee her grandma's estate sale--and to find out more information about her adoption.

Twenty-four years earlier, we read about Harvey James who found a newborn baby that gave him a sense of purpose and human connection for the first time in many years. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Harvey tries to help this little girl--and ultimately she helps him.

In this dual-timeline story, both Ivy and Harvey are struggling with love and loss and how to go on in life. I truly loved all of these characters except Seth. I struggled to read this part and get in to the book initially because I was at one time in an abusive relationship so it was a trigger for me. However, I am so glad I continued on and she does handle everything quite well. This book touched me deeply and I had to have tissues by my side as I read it. I truly felt for Harvey and Pearl as well as Ivy, her parents and her best friend Reese. These characters and this small town drew me in and once I got past the initial hard part, I also could not put it down. Cox deal with some difficult issues throughout the book but she does it so well. I feel like my words are inadequate in this review to share just how much I appreciated these character's stories. I also liked how Cox wove in her themes of God's love and redemption so skillfully. The Edge of Belonging was not preachy at all but it was heart and soul touching.

One of my favorite quotes:
Pearl shook her head. "Its not about my pain versus your pain. It's about sharing in the human experience and knowing what it is to hurt. It takes courage--stepping forward and healing when it's so tempting, so safe, to stay and worship the alters we've built to our pain. . ." (Page 297)

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Reads Blogger Program. All opinions within this review are my own.
Profile Image for Stacey Ulferts.
243 reviews4 followers
July 19, 2020
The Edge of Belonging left me feeling better than it found me. After I finished reading it, I sat back and mulled it over. I realized I had just read a book about extremely heavy topics and yet I came away feeling lighter and more hopeful than before I started. I am blown away by how Amanda Cox took such tragic topics and wove them together in a truly beautiful, heartwarming story. This book is an insightful look at family and what being one really means. It is that and so much more. I will be recommending this book to all my reader friends.

I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jayna Baas.
Author 3 books139 followers
August 30, 2022
Timeslip fiction isn’t usually my favorite, but I’d heard so many good things about this one that I decided to try it. And I’m glad I did. It was a beautiful story of love and family and belonging. It had its hard and heavy moments, but it also had its happy, joyous moments. Harvey’s scenes were definitely my favorites. I ached for his yearning to love and protect the only family he had. I felt for Ivy, too, in her confusion and search for truth, and her relationship with Reese was sweet. I loved the way their mismatched family supported and encouraged each other. The hard things in the book were handled with a light touch and plenty of grace.

The things I didn’t enjoy as much were mainly the things I don’t enjoy about timeslip fiction in general, so they didn’t detract from the story itself. Overall, it was a lovely story, an impressive debut, and a book I enjoyed and would recommend.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews74 followers
November 2, 2020
Thank you Revell for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Edge Of Belonging
By: Amanda Cox

The Edge of Belonging is a heartwarming tale of pieces and edges that form the framework of belonging and outline the origins of family. I have always been interested in stories involving people on the fringes of society, the invisible people. In 1994, Harvey is such a person, skirting the edges but not included, until an abandoned baby changes his life. In present time, twenty four year old Ivy Rose is grieving, lost and seeking origins. Her search reveals the circumstances that connected five people, making a family out of seemingly nothing. With healing, faith, a touch of romance and acceptance, The Edge Of Belonging is an inspirational masterpiece.
Profile Image for Mimi.
495 reviews55 followers
July 31, 2020
I want to start off by saying The Edge of Belonging left me incredibly satisfied and my heart feeling incredibly full. What. A. Story. I'm rather stingy on giving books five stars, but this one absolutely deserves it! I'm also beginning to believe that time-split novels need more room on my bookshelves.

The time is split between 1994 and present day. I couldn't decide which time period I kept wanting to read more! Thankfully the author gives us a great balance between both time periods. Believe it or not, all of the main characters worked their way into my hearts. They were all developed so wonderfully! Honestly, if you were to ask me which one I enjoyed getting to know the most, I wouldn't be able to pick.

Amanda Cox tackles difficult topics such as abuse in relationships as well as sex trafficking in a way that the reader can't help but feel compassion for the characters and disdain for those perpetuating it. Most of these topics are covered in an indirect way so that as readers, we understand what's happened, can see the pain through each of the characters, but explicit details are left out. She also covers homelessness in a beautiful way. This book is a great reminder that not every man or woman on the streets is a drunk or druggie. They each have individual stories as this one portrays.

I think the aspect I appreciate is that even in the rawness of the pain each of these characters are going through, we're able to relate to them in different ways. Loss, hurt, sadness are all experiences we have throughout our lives and because none of us escape life unscathed, we can see the beauty in the trials they each have gone through.

After reading this book, Harvey's story once again reinforces WHY I want to be a foster parent so much. Each child ends up in foster homes for different reasons, but for them to never feel loved or cared for breaks my heart. That's where Pearl becomes my hero, my example of the kind of person I want to be!

Ivy completely pulls on my heart strings for SO many reasons. She's been through so much and seems utterly lost when she should understand that she's completely found. And then there's Reese, Ivy's childhood friend. I want to believe that there are many more men like him in the world than we give them credit for. Ok, I guess if you were to twist my arm, he "might" be my favorite character in the book.

It's not typical for me to re-read a book, but this book is already calling me back for a second time around! Seriously, don't miss out on reading this story! It's simply beautiful!

*I am on the launch team. This is my personal opinion.
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,032 reviews
September 7, 2020
Beautiful. This story was truly beautiful. There is so much meaning and emotion in this story, it floors me. I am finding it hard to find the words to do this story justice in my review. Quite simply I adored the characters, the story, all of it. This may be Amanda's first book, but she writes like she has written many, many books. She has a new fan in me and I will NOT miss any future books by her. This one is destined for my keeper shelf.

I received this book as a member of the launch team and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Joleen.
2,003 reviews1,210 followers
December 27, 2021
Oh my, was this a wonderful book!

Ivy was confused about her life…her toxic relationship, her beginnings, her adoption, her relationships with everyone she loved. She needed answers and none of the answers were simple in coming.

But Uncle Vee, her beloved grandmother, Reese and the parents who raised her meant the world to her.

Terrific characters, terrific story, I even admit to shedding a few tears at the most wonderful spots full of faith and love.

I highly recommend this book!

Profile Image for Libby May.
Author 3 books85 followers
October 12, 2020
I. Adore. This. Book.
The biggest point you'd have to take away from this review is that you need to read this book AS SOON as you can.
I think there is like maybe two or three books that I love as much as this one. It's crazy. Here's why.

#1. The characters. I love characters, you know that. If you've been following me for a short amount of time or a long amount of time, you know I love well built characters. I don't want this review to go on forever, so I'm just gonna do highlights.
Harvey was the best homeless man character I've ever loved. For one thing, he wasn't old. He wasn't criminal or lazy or a thief. As his story unraveled when he got to know Pearl I fell more and more in love with him. He was a full grown man but I felt like he needed so badly to be mothered. And Pearl did that.
Pearl was precious. I think it's very sad in the present tense situation, but in the past tense plot, she was the sweetest, most perfect mother for Harvey to stumble upon. XD I need a plaid mug now.
Ivy Rose. I understood her need for the truth. The longing in her heart to know. Especially after a letter like the one her grandmother left for her. I would be pulling my hair out too!
Her relationship with Seth and Reese was a really good aspect to give her depth as a character.
Reese was everything I would want in a boyfriend if I was going to have a boyfriend ever. XD I can't even believe how blind Ivy was.

#2 The flow of the plot line.
As Ivy searches for answers about her past, they are constantly reaching out to small shops, people who knew Ivy's grandmother well. I liked that it wasn't pointless plot fillers. Ivy learned something about herself and when it switched to past chapters, those characters that Ivy met would come to life! I really appreciated that because I tried to do that with my book and it takes a lot of work. The author wove it so beautifully and intricately. It was awesome.

#3 The Good vs bad.
The manipulation that Ivy faced with her history and Seth was so raw and painful. I LOVED that she grew and she took time and that she would eventually overcome. I feel like emotional abuse in a relationship is so overlooked and I love that people are raising awareness, not only that women are capable and talented and strong, but that we DO have emotions, and those emotions can be used to control us. That doesn't mean we're weaker, it means STUPID PEOPLE LIKE SETH SHOULD be smashed in the face sometimes, thank you Uncle Harvey.

#4 The ending. All 15 chapters of ending
I don't think I can conclude the entire amount of love I have for this book into four points, but here.
Everything just started falling like dominos, all the questions getting answered, all the raw hearts being found out, all the pasts being revealed, and the desperate need for love, for truth, for nurturing, and for overcoming. I cried. I cried big sobbing tears for almost an hour as I finished the last fifteen chapters. And they weren't even sad tears. It takes a good author to make me cry over sadness in a book, it takes an AMAZING story to make me cry over JOY and FULFILLMENT and HEALING. I stayed up so late and cried so long I felt amazing when I went to sleep. XD

So thank you so so much, Amanda Cox and Revell Books, for sending me a free copy of this book! I loved it so much. A positive review was not required, and all words are my own! THANK YOU!
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,630 followers
September 26, 2020
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book from Revell Reads. These are my honest thoughts.

Despite a single expletive, this book has soared onto my favorites list this year. This debut was fresh and different and deep. When I first saw the cover, I was blown away, but I wasn’t certain what to expect beneath it. Let me tell you, it wasn’t anything like I would have guessed.

The story began with a homeless man, and this was something I had never seen done before. This approach tugged my heart in right away. This was a time-split novel, and sometimes the new scenes took me away from what I wanted to keep reading about, but overall, this was very well done (even in those tense moments).

The theme of seeing the unseen people in our lives (those society deems less than worthy of our attention) was superbly on display. This is one reason this book is now a favorite. It takes the “look after orphans and widows” (James 1:27) and “will assemble the outcasts” (Isaiah 11:12) themes and creates a haven for those who are looked down upon by the vast majority of society.

This story is powerful and needed today. I think it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to grow in compassion and who wants to know how to see with new eyes what you’ve missed so many times before.

I loved the tension throughout. It was crafted by the constant unpredictability of the ups and downs of the story and the plot twists and surprises along the way. This helped create a wonderful, thick atmosphere for the story. Harvey’s and Ivy’s lives and problems, fears and hopes and goals fit well into this rich atmosphere.

My emotions were engaged well from page one, and I ended up weeping on a couple of occasions (which made my heart happy even as the words on the page ripped it apart).

Some of my favorite lines were:

“I have faith God is somehow going to heal what feels impossible.”

“There’s a better life for you out there than the one you’re living. All you have to do is take hold of it.”

“We all need a place to rest and be reassured.”

Triggers: losing a child/infertility, rape/sex trafficking, suicide (mentioned and inferred)

Amanda Cox may be new on the Christian fiction scene, but I think she’s whittling out a place to settle in for a while. I can hardly wait to discover her next story.

Content: one expletive
Profile Image for Laura.
Author 5 books71 followers
December 21, 2020
Amanda Cox is definitely going on my new favourite author list with her debut book, The Edge of Belonging. This inspirational dual-timeline story grabs you from the first page. It never lets go until well after you've finished reading it. I'm still thinking about it.

Harvey James is homeless and lives in a lean-to in the woods. He has spent his entire life depending on himself without ever genuinely knowing love of any kind. When he finds an abandoned baby near his home, he immediately decides to care for her and tells no one. Who would let a homeless man care for a baby? This must be his secret to keep from the outside world. This little girl, who he names Ivy, is finally someone he can love and will love him back. How can he keep her a secret from other people when he needs to get baby food, diapers and clothes to care for her? This first challenge leads to a fantastic encounter for Harvey and the beginning of a story that will leave readers breathless.

While we find out how Harvey got Ivy, we see how Ivy has fared in the future. This interesting storyline collides in a way that will bring you to tears, both sad and happy. I loved this book!

I loved Pearl! Her interactions with Harvey were gentle and genuine. How their lives become entwined makes this a book worth reading. The topics of homelessness, foster care, suicide, PTSD, emotional and physical abuse are all touched upon and covered sensitively and realistically.

The title of this book is so appropriate and brings out the faith element of how we all belong to God. If you ever doubted God was involved in your life, this book will confirm He is there from the very beginning. Before you even know Him. God is always at work even when we don't see Him, hear Him or think He's even there. I can't say enough good things about this book. Read it. Be inspired. I know I was.

I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell and NetGalley for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Rebekah M.
106 reviews12 followers
August 2, 2020
We all have a built in desire to love and be loved.
This beautiful story blew me away with how a group of strangers became a family. It showed me that love transcends so many things: status, lineage, even the way we perceive our own worth.
Pearl was such a sweet character and such an inspiration. Oh to be like her and serve the Lord by loving on others and helping them find Him!
I related so well to sweet Miriam, and the deep consuming sorrow she was drowning in. I rejoiced with her when God brought her through the sorrow and put a song in her heart.
But Harvey. Harvey is my favorite character in this story and I feel like he has left a deep impression on my heart. I hope the next time I meet a homeless person, I will remember the lessons Harvey taught me and I will respond as I imagine Ms Pearl would have.
This is my first book by Amanda Cox and I’ll be honest I had no idea what it was even about when I signed up for the launch team and agreed to read and review an ARC. I’ve been living through infertility for eight years and I usually shy away from the topic in my leisure reading. But Ms Cox has woven a story with such beauty and grace, that it was healing for me to read. I was blessed by it. I wept at places, and I realized anew how much our Heavenly Father loves us, no matter the brokenness in our lives, or how worthless we view ourselves. He loves us with a love we cannot fathom. To be grafted into His family is the greatest gift we can ever receive. We can have a place of belonging in Him.

Profile Image for Amanda.
27 reviews6 followers
September 8, 2020
As an adoptive mama I loved this split-timeline story about family, faith, and finding where you belong. Can’t wait to read more from this new author!
Profile Image for Tiffany.
456 reviews72 followers
July 18, 2022
I had given up on Christian fiction. So much of it is so similar, follows the exact same plot lines and has zero characterization. But when a friend said this was her favorite book of last year, I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did! I loved this book! Normally I’m not a fan of dual timelines, but since this book follows the same group of people in both timelines, it feels like it went together seamlessly. It dives so deep on what it means to be abandoned, loved and to find a place to belong. This book made me cry SO MANY TIMES, sometimes with sorrow and sometimes with joy. There is such deep and beautiful spiritual truth in this book that doesn’t feel preachy or forced. As someone who has struggled with infertility, I can relate to one of the characters in this book on such a deep level and my heart went out to her. This book models working through conflict in marriage so well, as well as loving the people others might deem unlovable around us. It’s such a beautiful example of found family too! I wasn’t expecting the depth I found here, because I had stereotyped and written off most of the Christian fiction genre. So happy I read this one! It’ll stick with me for a long time.
Profile Image for Dana Leet.
31 reviews3 followers
September 25, 2020
This book honestly, was my favorite read of 2020. If you love Christian fiction, and you want to try a new author I pray that Amanda writes many many many many many more books. This book pulls at your heartstrings in so many directions. It makes you really want to meet these characters in reality. All I can say is make sure to keep lots of tissues near.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,815 reviews98 followers
March 20, 2021
4.5 stars
"There really are people who are alone in the world. People who have no one to look after them. . . . If the story of my life could say one thing, I'd hope it would show the importance of venturing into the highways and the hedges to let invisible people know they're seen and loved."

Harvey James was one of "those"people. Alone in the world, surviving on his own by remaining invisible. . . . until one day the cries of one who was even more vulnerable than he, sounded from the edge of belonging; and life was never the same.

Ivy Rose returns home with a heart full of sadness and a mind that hasn't fully recovered from the weight of her misjudgments; the fact of the matter is, she feels lost or maybe she was never found . . . . except that she was . . . found . . . all those years ago on her parents doorstep. Cleaning out Grandma Pearl's possessions will be bittersweet, but she won't be alone, not really. And she has so many questions . . . . and judging from her grandma's final correspondence, Pearl had the answers.

"There are things I never told you. Sometimes I kept silent because I lacked wisdom to know how to speak difficult truths. . . . . I knew I couldn't leave this world without giving you answers to the questions that have plagued your mind since you were a little girl." But the journal that her grandma unveils . . . is nowhere to be found.

Without a doubt, readers have just been introduced to an author with an incredible acuity for deep, authentic stories; delivered with a measure of tenderness and grace.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Raechel Lenore.
Author 3 books21 followers
January 13, 2021
This is one of the most beautiful stories I might have ever read. Truly, I was just completely captured by the characters, and the immense heart that is displayed on every page. Going into this book, I expected to enjoy it, but oh my goodness, it just reached in and touched my heart instead. It's a duel-time-line story, which normally I sometimes struggle with, but this was handled in such a way that both told the same story, just different ends of it, and it all tied together so beautifully. So expertly. This book is just one that will pull on your heartstrings, plain and simple. The sacrificial love shown by Harvey for the abandoned baby he finds is remarkable, and the pulling together of a family that is not conventional - aweing and incredibly touching. Not to mention the present-day story of Ivy herself discovering her past, healing from her own hurt, and her relationship with her best friend Reese - it is all just so good.I know this isn't really a coherent review, but I don't know how to change that because I just loved it so much. All the emotion came across the page so life-like and so tenderly. I read the majority of the book in one day, and I haven't done that in a while. A spectacular debut novel!! Utterly touching and beautiful.
Profile Image for Christine Indorf.
684 reviews110 followers
August 31, 2022
This book was simply amazing. The story of Ivy who is looking for her birth parents after her Grandmother promise to tell her at her death. So Ivy goes back to her Grandmother house after her death to find the answers, but when she goes to get her journal it isn't there. So Ivy goes on a search for answer with her best friend Pete. This is a dual time line and you go back to when Ivy was born and abandon at the side of the road and Harvey finds her and takes her in. With no home for himself he lands a job at the church. The next door neighbor of the church takes Harvey and Ivy in and helps him any way she can, but doing so her heart goes to Harvey and little Ivy. Can Harvey really take care of the baby. So the question is can she find out the story of her birth or will the story of her birth be kept from Ivy? This book was amazing. The characters were so rich and beautifully written. Each one brings depth to the story. Not a big fan of dual timelines but this one was written so well, each time line was so important to the whole of the story. If you haven't read Amanda Cox you must. She is an amazing author. The love of Christ is shown so beautifully. Just a masterpiece!!
Profile Image for Lucy.
889 reviews58 followers
September 6, 2020
Wow! Can I just say this book is waiting to bless you with an anointed story that will leave you breathless. What is love, what makes a family, how are the pieces of our lives connected. These are all questions that are intertwined into a masterpiece. The characters are lovable and relatable and it’s hard to pick a favorite. We are all part of Gods perfect plan and sometimes the slightest thing leads to puzzle pieces that connect to each other years down the road. I find it hard to describe what this book meant to me. In my opinion it deserves 10 stars and will go on my favorites list for 2020. Note to self have tissues nearby.
I received a complimentary copy from the author/publisher. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
344 reviews17 followers
July 10, 2020
Love love and love this story!! What an incredible story of true love and family ties that know no bounds. Family is the circle of people who love and support you, whether related by blood or not. God puts each and every person into our lives for a reason. His love is the ultimate example, loving us even when we will never truly deserve it, yet He still calls us His children.
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