Book Review of Chautona Havig’s None So Blind

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About the Book

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Book title: None So Blind

Author: Chautona Havig

Release date: September 29, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.

When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.

What’s a gal to do?

In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.

Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.

Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest post from Chautona Havig

“Who are you, again?”

“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”

For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.

It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.

Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”

Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.

Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.

And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.

That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.

I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.

But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.

Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

 

My Review:

For quite a while I have been a fan of Chautona Havig’s books, and when the opportunity came up to be part of the Celebrate Lit tour for “None So Blind”, I was thrilled to be allowed to be part of the tour. The concept of waking up and not knowing who you are or being able to recognize your family hits close to home since my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease before her death.

Although, questions arise about whether Dani/Ella is faking her memory loss or not intrigues me.  I can not fathom the idea of faking such a thing.  I can not imagine someone going to such drastic measures and being able to fool everybody around her.

When Dani wakes up and comes “home”, I have to admire the way her husband handles everything.  If Ella is faking because she so disliked what her life had become, I find that to be incredible.  Her children, although disoriented by their mother’s memory loss, show amazing resiliency and adaptability in dealing with the changes in their home and in their mother in general.

Another plot twist arises when Ella finds a large sum of money hidden in her garage.  This twist is mentioned briefly but is never resolved.  I am really interested to see if this situation is resolved in the coming book(s) in the series.

The reliance on their Christian faith clearly helps the family endure the changes the memory loss brings.  Also, I loved the contrast between Dani as a Christian before the memory loss to Ella after the memory loss.  Dani takes avid notes and almost in some ways seems selfish and self-centered, although she clearly loves her family.  Ella, on the other hand, appears to find other things to capture her attention and interest including improving her appearance.

The steps Dani/Ella’s husband is willing to go for her demonstrate true Christian love.  He gives her space and time she needs to come to terms with all that has happened and their relationship.  The guidance and counsel of their pastor and his wife again show true Christian values.

I truly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to my family and friends.

 

Blog Stops

June 15: Blogging With Carol

June 15: Genesis 5020

June 15: Lane Hill House

June 16: Red Headed Book Lady

June 16: The Scribbler

June 16: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 17: Back Porch Reads

June 17: The Power of Words

June 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 18: Carpe Diem

June 18: A Baker’s Perspective

June 19: Christian Bookaholic

June 19: Quiet Quilter

June 20: The Fizzy Pop Collection

June 20: Mommynificent

June 21: Seasons of Opportunities

June 21: Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching

June 22: Pursuing Stacie

June 22: Remembrancy

June 23: Pause for Tales

June 23: Avid Reader Book Reviews

June 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

June 24: Bigreadersite

June 24: CAFINATED READS

June 25: Lots of Helpers

June 25: Ashley’s Bookshelf

June 26: Blossoms and Blessings

June 26: A Reader’s Brain

June 27: Margaret Kazmierczak

June 27: His Grace is Sufficient

June 28: Just Jo’Anne

June 28: Henry Happens

June 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Giveaway

bf3041c3-aba6-432d-bade-2a2bc46cd775To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!

Check out this cool video from Chautona: https://youtu.be/5K_cTjlg4S8

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!  Click to enter the Giveaway

 

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Time to Start Writing Again

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So for the past several months I have basically been taking a break from blogging.  We have been enjoying an extended Christmas vacation and getting some things done around our home.  Once I began the break, starting back to a consistent writing schedule has been a challenge.  It is not the easiest thing in the world to resume habits once a break has begun.

It is hard to decided what to write about or how to organize my thoughts. I know once I get back into writing, it will be much easier to continue.  The bottom line is I need to spend time planning and organizing a plan for my blogs and writing.  I also need to build in time to spend time on COMPEL and the training provided there.  I love this resource and find it extremly useful to my writing endeavors.

I need to create by writing.  I know this for certain.  It is just a matter of deciding to focus on writing and not get distracted by life.  I have numerous books and blogs I follow along with other resources to help me develop my writing.  I just need to decide to utilize them.

Deciding what to write about for each blog post sometimes comes easier than other times.  So how are things going where you are?  I would love to hear from you.

Not Being Very Consistent

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It has been a while since I have posted.  Time has just gotten away from me.  I felt like other things needed to take priority over my blogs.  But now it is time to get back to writing.  So this post will hopefully get me back into the swing of writing consistently.  I am privileged to be part of the Home School Review Crew this year.  I am really looking forward to trying out new curriculum choices and sharing with my reads on one of my other blogs Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy on WordPress.

I am really excited about one of our first review assignments regarding a Creative Writing program.  I plan on participating with my children, so some of the activities may wind up here on the blog.

I also plan to spend some time this weekend creating a plan for the next few months of what I want to blog about.  I know I plan on participating in the Blogging A to Z challenge as well as Camp NaNoWriMo in April, so I will be sharing my thoughts and ideas regarding both of those activities here.

I also look forward to sharing thoughts about books I am reading personally as well.  I love to read and have bookcases full to illustrate the point.  So that is just a little about what is going on in our world.  I would love to hear what is going on in your world.

Been a While

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So it has been a while since I have posted here.  Life has been pretty eventful around here.  We have been homeschooling, doing Army Reserve Family Readiness group activities and trying to adapt to living in Texas. Additionally, I applied for and was accepted to the Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Review Crew.  So life is going to get a little bit more active in the coming months.

The first Saturday in December was our Army Reserve Family Readiness Christmas party.  I am the Family Readiness Group leader, so that means my family gets drafted into doing whatever I need to be done.  For this party, it meant setting up tables and chairs along with filling gift bags for the children.  Fortunately, they are good natured about helping me.  Here is some of the decorating including some of the tables.

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Normally, as soon as Thanksgiving is over I like to set up our Christmas tree and begin decorating.  But it seems that with each passing year, we actually get around to it later and later.  This year, I thought it was going to be Thursday before we could set up the tree.  I was sure we needed to buy lights for the tree and my husband agreed with me.  So you can imagine our surprise last night when he opened  a tote of Christmas items and found twelve boxes of brand new Christmas tree lights in it.  Immediately our oldest son was tasked with setting up the tree.  He, in turn, drafted our second oldest to help him.  Here is a picture of them working on it.

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Then today, my oldest continued with the task, by putting the lights on the tree. Here are some pictures of him at work.

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I just love white lights on a Christmas tree.  More importantly, I love sitting in the evening or first thing in the morning and watching the tree lights and admiring the ornaments.  Each year, I have continued a tradition that my mom started when I was growing up.  I buy each child their own ornament.  Plus, I buy a new one for us.  That way when the children move out, they will have a collection of ornaments to use on their tree and my tree will not look so bare.

We have decided this will be the last year for our tree.  It has been a loved and faithful member of the family.  We have had the tree for almost as long as our oldest son has been part of our family, which means it is almost 20 years old.  We have loved putting it up each year, but it is time to say good-bye.  That is a hard thing to do, however, because we are having a hard time finding a new tree that is unlit.  So I will keep you up to date on our artificial tree hunting adventures.  So far, Lowes and Walmart and Big Lots have let us down in this area.  Plus, I am not keen on the idea of ordering online when I can not see what the tree will actually look like.

So how are your holiday preparations going?  I would love to hear from you.

November 2, 2016

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Today is the second day of what should have been NaBloPoMo, but it does not seem to be running as normal this year. In previous years, there was a place to sign up, a place to enter the daily posts and a place to connect. When I looked around BlogHer last week for this information, it was nowhere that I could find it. Oh yes, there was always a button to place on the blog to indicate participation. So I find myself somewhat at a loss. But today, I have a writing assignment to complete. My writing assignment is for a blog that I contribute to on a monthly basis. I had already done one entry for this month, but they asked for extra posts so I said I would write one for them.

I am going to try to participate in having a grateful heart this November.

Some things I am grateful for:
1) My family – and especially my husband
2) Having a house to live in
3) Having a safe vehicle to drive
4) That Jesus died for my sins and is my Lord and Savior
5) Good friends
6) My mom
7) My Bible
8) My appreciation for books, because it means I am never without something to do.

Life is whatever we make it out to be. We can choose to find happiness, peace, and love or we can choose to look for the ugliness around us.