When we walk to the edge of all the light we have
And step out into the darkness of the unknown,
We must believe there will be something solid to stand on
Or that we will be taught how to fly…
--- Author Unknown
This poem from the dedication page captures the essence of A TIME TO MEND, a stirring story that will strengthen those who believe and inspire those who don’t. Author Angela Hunt has proven once again that fiction is a powerful way to express truth. While works of nonfiction can detail psychological and physiological facts about the effects of cancer on a family, a well-written novel brings them to life by integrating them into a human drama.
Jacquelyn Wilkes was moved to become an oncology nurse after losing her mother to breast cancer. She has dedicated herself to helping others during the treatment process with her professional skills and with the empathy she developed through her own tragedy. Yet, despite her commitment, she remains separated from patients behind a self-imposed barrier designed to keep her from feeling their pain. One day, as she is reciting the possible side effects of chemotherapy, Daphne Redfield stops her: “Save your breath, sweetie…the big C and I are old friends.” Daphne goes on to explain that her bouts with cancer have brought her closer to God and that she is at peace regardless of the outcome. Jacquelyn chalks this up to Christian fanaticism and has no idea what an important role this devoted woman is about play in her life.
Meanwhile, into Nurse Wilkes’s orderly life comes Dr. Jonah Martin. He is not only an excellent practitioner but is warm and friendly, quickly endearing himself to his patients. She, however, feels that he crosses the line and should be more “professional.” The tension between the two begins from the moment they meet and continues until Jacquelyn discovers a lump on her own breast, bringing back a flood of painful memories as well as new fears and apprehension. Her world is turned upside down. The barriers that she has built up can no longer protect her, and she finds herself alone when those she should be able to count on are too weak to help her. Support comes from an unexpected source and her tragedy opens doors that she thought had been closed to her forever.
Angela Hunt brings together the elements of physical and emotional pain, stirs in generous measures of truth and love, and creates a beautiful story that will bring tears of joy and hope to those who have been touched by this tragic disease.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on March 1, 2006