WAITING FOR DAYBREAK is the captivating story of a young woman learning to stay faithful and trust God, even when He appears to have abandoned her. The novel’s two main characters, Paige Woodward and Clarissa Richardson, are trying to succeed as pharmacists, but possess very different perspectives on what that means. As both face trials in their lives, one turns to God while the other turns to whatever it takes.
Paige is a devout Christ follower who does everything by the book and loves helping people. She hopes no one at her new job finds out she was fingered as the person responsible in a prescription mix-up that resulted in a man’s death. Her main concern, however, is making enough money to cover her mother’s costly, experimental cancer treatment. As she begins work at the new pharmacy and feels instant tension with her boss, Clarissa, she prays for a friend to lean on as her world is falling apart. Her prayer is answered in the form of Ora Vaerge, an outspoken elderly woman who is not exactly what Paige had in mind.
Unlike Paige, Clarissa grew up with everything money could buy, but lacked a faith-based upbringing or stable family life. Her alcoholic father is currently on wife number four. Clarissa’s rich grandfather insists she prove herself by successfully running a small-town pharmacy. If she can turn a good profit in one year, her reward will be a pharmacy in an upper-class Nashville neighborhood --- a long-time dream of hers that has become an obsession. She will do anything to make that dream come true, even if it means destroying Paige in the process.
When Paige and Clarissa’s worlds collide, it looks as though Paige will lose everything she has worked so hard to achieve, as well as the financial means to help support her mother. They are brought together by Clarissa’s grandfather, a wealthy entrepreneur who observed Paige working at a free clinic. He believed that Paige’s work ethic and excellent people skills would prove an asset at the Richardson Apothecary in rural Shoal Creek, managed by his granddaughter, Clarissa. But Clarissa immediately resents this intruder who has already managed to impress her grandfather, and soon does the same with her favorite uncle and a certain construction worker she wanted for herself. When Paige confronts her about breaking some of the laws that govern pharmacies, she has no idea this “last straw” will lead Clarissa down a path of revenge.
The story moves along at a comfortable pace, with enough action to hold the reader’s attention. Many interesting aspects of the pharmacy business are brought to light by Kathryn Cushman, herself a former pharmacist. Three-dimensional characters complement an intriguing plot, all nicely packaged with good imagery and a well-wrapped conclusion.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on November 13, 2011