After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie Atkisson struggles through the process of rebuilding her life with husband, Jesse, in Southern California. But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS Restoration. A special mission to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel means an adventure of a lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life? In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the old ship, Rosie says yes to the inner voice that is saying GO!
After fourteen months on board the ship—from a hurricane to a heart attack, from miracles to the M word--menopause--and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa harbor—Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor
Within minutes of the MS Restoration entering the Haifa harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel. As two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the ship, another shouted instructions in Hebrew through a loudspeaker.
The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship’s radio, “Please, speak to us in English!”
Rosie grabbed the rail. “Do they think we’re terrorists?”
Jesse touched her arm. “Rosie, calm down.”
“Do they think we’re pirates?”
“Just calm down,” her husband repeated, holding out his hand.
“Will they make us jump overboard? I don’t have my life jacket,” she spoke, fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.
“Rosie, you must get hold of yourself.”
Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who had brought her on this unpredictable journey. Jesse’s right; what’s come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn’t have to go to the bathroom. She didn’t dare leave his side.
The ship, her fellow crewmembers, and their special passengers—the Russian Jews—had finally reached their destination. No more troubled waters. No more hurricanes. No more delays. On this hot July morning, they were home free—or so they thought.
Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck. “Isn’t this ironic? We’ve traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get.”
“Stop your engine!” the soldier shouted.
Within seconds, they were dead in the water.
Rosie’s stomach churned. She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip. After wiping her mouth with a hankie, she grabbed hold of Jesse’s arm. She’d heard stories about people who had experienced close calls. Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war. “At that moment, my whole life passed before me,” Talmage said.
Now feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie knew that this was her moment.
Sharon Leaf has written a fabulous book! She fashions Rosie, the protagonist, in such a carefully crafted multi-faceted way that there is something in her personality for each and every one of us. For example, Rosie never feels safe anywhere except, to some degree, in her own little home with everything arranged just so. She keeps herself busy, and unthinking, by compulsively doing good. That way, she doesn't have to face her multiple fears. But God has a plan for Rosie. Before she realizes it, she is off on an adventure far beyond her dreams; one that forces her to recognize that God is the only safe harbour in trying times, not a harbour of her own making. And the result? Rosie grows in faith, wisdom, acceptance, grace and more. This is a truly inspirational book. I read it from cover to cover and loved it, especially for the psychological and emotional twists--so interesting. Congratulations, Sharon! ~~ Jean C. Wheeler: Writer, Retired Psychoanalyst (on Amazon)
Lady and the Sea by Sharon Leaf is a delicious adventure that takes the reader on an energetic sail through the intertwining journeys of Rosie and the M.S.Restoration, two resilient ladies who find their lives re-purposed and set on new courses as they share a transforming journey from dry dock to crossing the open sea. I enjoyed traveling along with Rosie, giggling at her light-hearted humor one minute and peering over the rail in anticipation the next. It's a strong story; I believe it will nudge and tug at packed away dreams and encouraged them out onto open decks to be refreshed by bright sea breezes. ~~ Bryan Richardson (on Amazon)
Why did Sharon write LADY AND THE SEA?
After volunteering fourteen months on the World War II vessel MS Restoration in 1994-95, I knew I had to tell the story of this miracle ship. When the government put the lock-knot ship in mothballs after the war, she thought her glory days were over, until forty years later when a retired Alaskan sea captain bought her, then gave her to a church in Sweden to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. God saved the best until last for the old gal, showing the reader that the best is yet to come for us 40+ gals and guys.
Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://is.gd/S5MbnN