From the first paragraph, readers plunge into the life of Dee Decker. She is consumed with her old pattern of thinking about food while working a celebrity-packed event at the Queen Mary hotel in Long Beach, California. The Titanic theme for the Diamond Ball had drawn the elite and wealthy of the area. For over 15 years, Dee has worked with Areta Rubio, a fundraising consultant and organizer of exclusive events for a company called LeGrande Enterprises. In the opening pages of A STITCH IN TIME, Dee’s friends and co-workers don’t know what to make of her transformation. Through Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), Dee has lost 150 pounds and has become a new Christian. With a drastic change in her wardrobe and appearance, she has gone from overweight to glamorous.
When Dee catches her husband, Lyle Decker, a supervisor at Meteor Construction Company, in an affair, she moves out of the family home and files for divorce to end her 20-year marriage. Yet Lyle refuses to sign the divorce papers. The two grown children, Kelsey and Ken, still live at home and want their mom to forgive their dad and restore their family. Dee isn’t ready to do that, and isn’t even willing to communicate with her children or husband about much of anything. In addition to the gastro-bypass surgery for weight loss, she has two additional operations to improve her appearance --- a tummy tuck and a breast lift --- but barely tells anyone about these procedures.
At the Diamond Ball event, Dee meets Lily Peyton, a Christian from Las Vegas who wants to start a capital campaign raising funds for a Christian art museum and gallery. Lily hires Dee, and for the bulk of the story, Dee commutes to Las Vegas for her work. The new group of people Dee comes into contact with believes she’s divorced, and Carter Olson, a single man on the committee, falls in love with her. Just when her new relationship with Carter begins to heat up, Lyle arrives in Las Vegas as his company bids on the new project. The plot even includes a scheming assistant, Susan, who tries to make Dee look incompetent so she can become a partner in the firm.
While there are many physical challenges for Dee, her greatest one is internal. Through her weight loss and surgeries, she has changed on the outside but remains insecure and uncertain on the inside. She learns some deep lessons about the Christian life in her journey. As Lily tells Dee towards the end of the story, “When a person really believes --- when embracing Christian values stops being something you do and becomes someone you are --- that’s when God begins to use us. Don’t give up now --- not when you’re so close.”
A STITCH IN TIME is the first novel for Allison Bottke, the creative force behind the bestselling God Allows U-Turns series. Her well-drawn characters and fascinating storytelling will stir readers to look for the sequel.
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin on June 1, 2006