Saturday, August 13, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club: Digitalis by Ronie Kendig


This month's Christian Fiction Book Club is hosted by Jules at My Own Little Corner of the World. If you read Digitalis by Ronie Kendig and would like to discuss it with us, choose a question from HERE and link up your post. No blog? You're welcome to hop around and join our discussions in the comments.

My first impressions? It's a nice setting to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. I can appreciate the high tension, the non-stop action, the break-neck pace, but I'm just not sure I can make military stories a regular part of my diet.

I dunno, chalk it up to the fact I'm a girlie girl. I like purses and Starbucks and frou-frou shower gels from the cosmetic counter. I found myself skimming over some of the fight scenes to get to the romance.

But the romance was good, all angst and restrained passion, some of the best I've read. Buried beneath all the guns and ammo is one smoking hot hero (Sorry ladies, Renee called dibs). I can see what makes Kendig's writing is so popular with my book blogging friends.

Soldier stories may not be my go to genre, but the next time I feel reading one more western romance will make me upchuck a cactus, I'll reach for a Ronie Kendig book. They're a nice change of pace.

Want more info? Here's the product description:
Step into the boots of a former Marine in this heart-pounding adventure in life and love. Colton “Cowboy” Neeley is a Marine trying to find his footing as he battles flashbacks now that he’s back home. Piper Blum is a woman in hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. When their hearts collide, more than their lives are at stake. Will Colton find a way to forgive Piper’s lies? Can Piper find a way to rescue her father, trapped in Israel? Is there any way their love, founded on her lies, can survive?

My rating:

Discussion question:
It’s a fact that many soldiers returning from a war theater will experience combat-related PTSD or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many will never seek treatment, instead trying to push through and “get over it.” Do you know anyone who has experienced PTSD or TBI, combat-related or otherwise? How can you show this person your support?

Unfortunately I do know someone who fits this description. If I didn't write under a pen name and know for a fact my friend doesn't read fiction, I would never share his story (and still the odds of this post getting deleted are hovering around 98%).

We had a family friend, a career Army guy who had been deployed several times, but until a few years ago had never seen active combat. He was a sweet, gentle, godly man who'd often considered becoming an Army chaplain. A doting spouse, a great father. The kind of guy you encourage your husband to hang around in hopes some of it would rub off.

The last time I saw our friend was shortly before he left for Afghanistan. He came dressed in uniform to speak to my class for career day. My students sent him a care package and wrote letters to his unit.

I speak about him in past tense, not because he lost his life in the war, but because the person who came back from Afghanistan is a stranger, a shell of the man we knew.

His personality is completely different, short-fused, angry, bitter. His marriage has fallen apart. No one really knows what did it. There are things he experienced over there he won't even share with his wife.

This is the devastating side of war. We know war destroys lives, we often think about it in terms of the body count, but rarely do we think about what it does to the people who make it out. It destroys entire families. Whatever my friend experienced in Afghanistan broke him. It broke his wife. It's the sacrifice that keeps on taking.

These days, my husband and I are not close enough to talk to him about anything deeper than how he's enjoying his summer, but we can (and do) pray for him. We pray for his wife and children. If you think about it, maybe you can pray for them too.


  1. Wow, such a sad story Joy. I think all of our military need prayer. And not just for their physical safety, but for their mental safety also. I'm so sorry for your friend. I will pray for he and his family. As far as Digitalis goes, I wasn't impressed with the hero. I did however love all of the action! ha! I do love my romance, but now and then I love it when things blow up and people get to shoot guns! There's a little bit of Rambo in this gal!!

  2. So sorry to hear about your friend, Joy. Several of my former students have been deployed and so far God has protected their spirits from the bitterness.

    On a lighter note, I'm glad you gave Ronie's books a try. I'm the opposite, I find it difficult to relate to the chick lit type romance books. But give me a cop or army hero, and I'm in :)

  3. O I love stories with restrained passions.
    Great review.

    BTW, I am SO with you girl! I love my modern comforts.

  4. @Renee Ann- I have a couple of cousins who are also career military and have been deployed several times. They're doing great emotionally too, thank God.

    @Julie- When I was in college, a couple of my girlfriends and I took an Army ROTC elective class because we heard it was an easy A which would bring up our GPAs. So, even though I'm soft now, there was one semester that I actually wore combat boots. :) (turns out it wasn't so easy).

    @Juju- But thank God for the guys that protect those modern comforts, huh?

  5. So sorry to hear about your friend Joy. I will pray for him and his family. It's sad that so many put their lives on the line to save our country and while they come back alive, their spirit is dead. I have a family member in a very similar situation.

    I loved this story, all the fighting included! Colton can be such a do-do head sometimes though!

  6. Wow, how awful! I don't know anyone personally who's come back changed. There was one young man who used to go to my church and he joined the military and went overseas. I haven't seen him since, but I hear he's very different and has seen and experienced a lot of tough stuff. Sad. Very sad. I'll be keeping your military friend in my prayers from now on, Joy!

  7. I feel like vomiting a cactus would be quite painful. I hope it doesn't get to that point.
    Thank you for sharing the story about your friend. Everyone who experiences war comes back changed. I'm very blessed that my husband didn't have to deal with severe PTSD, but even he has been affected by what he has seen and done. I'm praying for your friend.
    -Julie J, I love that you called Colton a do-do head. I seriously laughed out loud.

  8. @Jules- Do-do head, LOL! I'll keep your family member in my prayers too.

    @Katie- Thanks for remembering him. It was great having you link up with us this month.

    @Kacie-Yeah, it doesn't usually get to that point, but you know every now and then you need to switch things up a little bit. Admittedly, my taste in books can run pretty narrow so it's nice to get something different once in a while.

    My thanks to your husband for serving our country, and also thanks to YOU, because the families left behind sacrifice too.


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