Cydney Sanders has been praying for years that God would bring her a husband and fill their home with happiness, love and lots of kids. She never expected to be still single at 40 and can’t help wondering if marriage just isn’t a part of God’s plan for her life. Then she meets Cedric at her younger sister’s wedding. She is drawn to him, but since he has a reputation for being a “ladies man” and wastes no time making his sexual intentions clear, Cyd tries to keep her distance. Sexual purity is a huge deal to Cyd, and she knows that fleeing even the slightest temptation is not only wise, but also necessary if she is to remain faithful to God’s will for her life.
Dana Elliot catches her husband Scott, the co-leader of the Marriage Ministry at church, in bed with another woman. Devastated, she is ready to walk out for good. But when Scott repents and tells her he still loves her and wants to save their marriage, Dana is torn. Is she required to remain faithful to her marriage even though her husband betrayed her trust in the worst possible way? And can she ever be healed from the pain and anguish she feels?
Phyllis Owens loves the Lord. She has a wonderful husband who is a great father to their kids. The only problem is that Hayes wants nothing to do with God or church. Phyllis desires more than anything to connect with her husband on a spiritual level, but he rejects her every attempt. When attending a reunion out of state, she is reunited with Rod, an old college friend who is not only easy on the eyes, but is also a dedicated Christian. As they spend time talking, Phyllis can’t help fantasizing about what could be. She soon begins comparing Rod to her unbelieving husband, and before she knows it, she’s struggling with keeping her heart faithful to Hayes.
FAITHFUL is really three stories in one, with a heart-warming thread of true friendship, in which Cyd, Dana and Phyllis support, encourage and pray for one another consistently and persistently. But each of these three women is fighting her own battle to keep the faith in the face of adversity. Although this novel is clearly about the human responsibility --- and struggles --- to remain faithful to God during tough times, the ultimate message is God’s faithfulness to us. Even when all hope seems lost, and it feels as if God has abandoned us, He shows up in unexpected ways and once again proves He has our backs.
The book is sprinkled with wonderfully colored characters, whose flaws are never sugar-coated or played down. Christians in general are painted as real, sometimes quirky, often uninformed, but ever-growing in the faith. We meet characters who can be seen in our own churches every Sunday and are similar to members of our own families. One memorable character is Cyd’s sister, Stephanie. Stephanie has attended church all her life but definitely has a lot of growing up to do. At the beginning of the story, she is young, self-absorbed and ignorant. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her slow and steady transformation into an understanding, more mature woman by the end. She also provided a hefty dose of humor.
If you’re looking for a book void of many spiritual references or undertones, you will probably be disappointed with FAITHFUL. Sexual sin and lust are dealt with bluntly, with no gray areas. On the heavy side with Scripture and Christian-ese, along with strict lines of morality, this is definitely a Christian book. But the content and the storyline require it, as many of the specific scenes take place in church. That said, I never felt like I was being “preached at,” although nonbelievers may not feel the same.
All in all, Kim Cash Tate weaves a strong page-turner, laced with memorable characters and an overall sense of hope for women of all ages. I personally came away with a stronger desire to remain faithful in the face of adversity and a better picture of God’s faithfulness to us.
Reviewed by Lynda Schab on November 13, 2011