Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Healing Grace, Lisa Lickel

Romance/Contemporary/Life Issues
A haunting story of love and sacrifice...

Grace Runyon could fix anything--until her husband got cancer. She couldn't help him. She couldn't save him. No one understands. No one would ever forgive her. She has to run. It takes another sick man and his little boy to help her fight her way out of self-pity into the light of redemption. But will her new friends stick with her when they discover her secret?

Ted Marshall wanted to be more than Grace’s landlord. But a dying man has no business asking a woman like to her love him back. Can he settle for a taste of her faith in whatever it is that makes her so special?

Just when Ted and Grace begin to hope for the future, Ted relapses. Grace faces the ultimate choice once again: Trusting God to work through her precious gift, or letting a terminally ill man die. What if the price is more than she can pay?

A recommended book club read

Group question guide included

Ted stumbled in at dark. Grace met him at the door where his expression caused her to take assessing one look before turning to distract Eddy with her computer. She quickly found a game place for children and set him down at it. Eddy looked wonderingly at her, for she had not let him play with the machine before.

“Let’s see if you can beat my score,” Grace gushed out. He complied for once without question.

Ted had made it through the living room and grabbed at the entrance to the kitchen with a shaky hand. “Hey… there, Eddy.” Ted lurched with the next step he took. “I think I need…”

Grace grabbed him before Eddy saw his near tumble and led him to her room, struggling mightily with his tall frame to direct him down the hallway and angle him across the bed. She deftly pulled the cover back before he landed, making the bedstead creak. She grabbed his shoulders to settle his head and neck on her pillow and let his equilibrium adjust to being prone. When she knew he wouldn’t be sick all over her bed, she gently untied his boots and lifted his emaciated legs, accidentally coming into contact with his skin above the socks. A familiar tingle began along the webbing between her thumb and forefinger and she pulled quickly away.

Ted moved restlessly, drawing in his breath. “I don’t know if your hands are warm or cold,” he rasped. Grace jumped back.

She didn’t smell alcohol. What had happened? “Ted? What’s wrong?”

“So tired. I forgot to eat lunch.”

“Rest, then. I’ll be back in a little bit with some food for you.”

He grabbed for her hand when she turned to leave. “Wait!” His voice barely rose above a whisper. “Wait. I want, I—thank you—I want you to know that—” his voice trailed off and his shoulders began to shake as he wept.

Grace sighed and grabbed a straight chair and pulled it close. She hadn’t cried in two years. Two years! What had caused him to lose control like this?

She gently dislodged her hand from Ted’s convulsive grasp. Her legs itched to run again; right now she’d like nothing better than to run from this little family with their strange problems. Everything had happened so fast. She just wanted to be left alone to build relationships for herself at her own pace. Excuses drizzled through her mind—all the reasons she should leave Michigan and go somewhere—anywhere else. Somewhere safe.

This house had been too good of a deal. She moved too quickly to purchase it. She hadn’t explored the neighborhood enough. The real estate agent misled her when she said the brothers next door wouldn’t bother her. How wrong she had been. Both of them bothered her. She wasn’t a mother any more, not a wife, not a professional anything. Why did they have to ask her and ask her and keep asking her to do things for them? Couldn’t he see that she was just as tired as he was?

Ted gasped and brought his knee up, face convulsing.

“Ted! What do you need? What can I get for you?”

“No-nothing. Just a—spas-m. It’ll—pass. Wait.”

Grace watched him gulp in air and sweat. She felt as helpless as she did watching a patient in labor. Not much she could do until it was time to push. Michigan? Why had God brought her to Michigan?

Grace had not counted on there being an Eddy, and a Ted. The Ted who now wriggled like a fish out of water on her own bed and whose tears wet her pillow.

She breathed out. Ted slowly relaxed and sighed. He turned over to look at her with eyes that gleamed in the dim lighting. “Jilly left me after the accident when the sickness started.”

He did not apologize for crying. Men never do.

“The first seizure, she freaked. By the third one, she was gone. Didn’t even take Eddy. He was only a year old. What was I supposed to do?” He swallowed, the noise exaggerated in the dimly lit room. “Eddy’s been through too much for a little kid. All he’ll remember when he grows up is that he never had a mom and his dad got sick and died.”

He was really laying it on thick, feeling sorry for himself. Grace blinked at her internal burst of sarcasm and squashed her emotions. Professionals did not get involved. Whatever his diagnosis, he had regained strength since she first met him. Until today, that is. Grace had been so raw upon arrival, the wound barely scabbed over from her own losses, that she could not reach out to anyone else. That God would need her, demand that she use her gifts so soon had been repulsive, a hurt beyond deep. Another betrayed that sent her reeling.

Grace had buried that caring piece of herself in Woodside. She had nothing left to give; no desire to, for that matter. But the gift, had she left it there, too? Was it time? She was not ready to follow that thought. What was wrong with her? “What are you talking about, Ted? You’re so much better. What happened?”

Silence. Sniff.

“Come, Ted. You must have just had a bad day. Rest, and I’ll get you something to eat.”

Ted closed his eyes. “It’s not right I tell you my problems,” he allowed. “I hardly know anything about you. And you’re right—there were only six months of seizures after the accident.”

He lay back and rubbed the prominent scar at his temple. “They stopped, but then I started losing control of my muscles. It’s a good thing Jilly wasn’t here for that.” He scrubbed at his cheeks, grasping again at her hand. “Stay just a little longer, please? Eddy will be okay. I never asked you before. Do you have any family?”

Grace snatched her hand away and jumped up. “I’ll let you rest now. You’ll feel better soon, I’m sure.”

Ted grabbed at her hip as she turned in the tight space and reached for her wrist to pull her close with a surprising surge of strength.

Grace resisted the urge to fight him. She held her breath, not wanting Eddy to hear anything. She had to strain to listen to Ted’s soft croon.

“You’ve been so good to me and to Eddy. Why?”

She let him stroke the hair of her temple. She closed her eyes. So long…so long it been since anyone had touched her like this. She felt his fingers move across her cheek to trace the corner of her mouth.

“Can I be your husband?”

For the first time since she put him to bed, Grace felt a reluctant tug at her lips. She pulled away, put her hands on her hips and looked down at him. “You wish.”

Great book!, July 20, 2009
By John Otte (South St. Paul, MN United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Healing Grace (Paperback)

I saw the ending coming. But that's only because I got to read this one before it was published. Insert big cheesy grin here.

No, seriously, it was my pleasure to read Lisa J. Lickel's book, Healing Grace. Lisa is one of my fantabulous critique partners and I got to read the end of this one when we first met. So for me, it was interesting to see how the book started.

It's the story of Grace Runyon. Grace is from a small town in Tennessee, a Christian community where gifts of the Spirit are alive and well. Grace has the gift of healing. Or at least, she did. But then tragedy up-ends her life in a major way and she runs as far as she can, all the way to the town of East Bay, Michigan. There she tries to recover from her loss.

Only to find herself on the verge of a new one. The house she buys belonged to a single father named Ted Marshall. Ted is battling serious health problems that will likely prove to be fatal. Even though Grace is still suffering from the traumatic scars of her previous life, she finds herself falling in love with Ted. That's a problem, because it seems as if God and her gift have abandoned her. What can she do when she's falling in love with a man that she could have healed but can't anymore?

Lisa's book was great. You really feel for Grace as she tries to cope with her loss and tries to construct a new life for herself. It isn't as easy as it sounds, especially since there are undercurrents in East Bay that threaten to take her down. Lisa especially weaves together some great mental images with her words, conjuring up the area around East Bay and making it live. And Eddy Marshall, Ted's son, has to be the most precocious fictional kid I've met in a long time.

So go and check this one out for yourself. You won't be disappointed!

"a modern-day tale of healing touch", November 2, 2009
By Julie A. Saffrin (Excelsior, MN United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Healing Grace (Paperback)

By just reading the book's title, you may think this book is about a woman named Grace who has the ability to heal people. And you would be right. But "Healing Grace" has a double meaning. It is a book about Grace, a woman who is grieving over a tremendous loss, even when she possesses the gift of healing.

No matter what spiritual gifts we have been given, the truth is, we are still human and do not have a full view of our lives, nor how or even if, our lives influence another person. We also cannot see the future of our loved ones. Thus is the case for our main character, Grace Runyon.

In this story, Lickel's characters don't have easy answers. In fact, sometimes they don't have answers at all. Lickel allows her characters to ask tough questions like why prayers go unanswered, why we suffer loss, and why, sometimes, a healing touch works while another time it may not.

As I read book, I thought of a couple of things: Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter," the Salem witch trials, and Anne Boleyn. Why? Because these women were judged without evidence of their wrongdoings.

Lickel does a nice job of keeping the reader turning pages. I liked her use of the Petoskey stone and that it is both a rock and a fossil. I felt a slight metaphor, that the stone only shows its fossils when it is wet. Who do we become, when under pressure? Do we stay true to who we are or change to fit into what the world tells us we should be? Another way I also looked at the Petoskey stone as a metaphor with regard to our lives is this: Dare we reveal who we really are? Can we risk doing so without fear of rejection?

My only complaint in this book was from a publishing standpoint. I counted more than 20 typos in this book. How can two ".." be missed at a sentence's end?

I give Lickel kudos for tackling a hard subject for today's reader and thank her for writing this compelling novel.

Why Lisa Wrote Healing Grace:
Dear Readers:
Healing Grace is a personal story that came from a time in my family's life that needed to know that God's healing touch was going to take care of my brother's mysterious health issues. It was the second book I tried to write, and I've learned a lot since then. I've been asked whether or not I believe in the spiritual gift of healing. I believe in miracles, I believe in a God whose perfect and good Will is bigger than any problems we experience here on earth. I have been surprised to find the issue of the practice of the Biblical spiritual gifts to be a divisive issue. I'm sad about that. People are desperate for answers to their troubles. They look in all kinds of places and often find answers that cause more pain. Healing Grace is a novel, it's a work of fiction that is my attempt to give readers a good story while offering food for thought about where true answers can be sought and found. I enjoy getting together with readers and would love to meet virtually with your book club. Please contact me through my websiste.

Author Bio:
Lisa Lickel is a midwestern author and graduate of the Christian Writers Guild. Her publishing credits include newspaper features, local history editing, magazine articles, devotionals, radio theater, and several novels. She is the editor of Creative Wisconsin, a magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers, loves to mentor new authors and enjoys participation in several reading and writing clubs. She regularly reviews books for several publicity companies and occasionally freelance edits. Find her on Facebook, Shoutlife, Amazon and Goodreads. Visit her website at http://lisalickel.com, http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com/ and http://WisconsinAuthorReview.blogspot.com.

I love what Lisa wrote as her reason for writing this book. Lisa is an author who makes you think. If this book interests you, be sure to also check out her other book, Meander Scar. Don't forget to leave a comment!


  1. Laurean Brooks asked me to post this since she has trouble posting on blogger.

    "Lisa J., this sounds like a beautiful story. The excerpt touched my heart. And I love your way with words.

    Keep writing, girlfriend. I think you gotta winner here."


  2. Thanks, Laurean, for coming by...I appreciate you all over the place!

  3. Lisa, I think everybody is at the conference this week. It's quiet around here.

  4. The way it goes - thanks so much for posting this - and if anyone's reading this at the conference, one of the auction baskets has a copy of the book. For a good cause.

  5. Lisa, I'm such a big fan and this sounds wonderful. I need to get it for myself. :o)