counter The Way It Should Be - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

The Way It Should Be

Availability: Ready to download

After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly and completely intertwined again. Eve's troubled lifestyle causes the state to take custody of her two children and contact Zara and her husband, asking them to consider foster care. Newlywed Zara thought she'd finally been given a fresh start and feels wholly unprepared to care f After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly and completely intertwined again. Eve's troubled lifestyle causes the state to take custody of her two children and contact Zara and her husband, asking them to consider foster care. Newlywed Zara thought she'd finally been given a fresh start and feels wholly unprepared to care for a niece and nephew whose existence she wasn't even aware of. Meanwhile, Eve may have a real chance to start over this time with the help of Tiff Bradley, who's dedicated to helping women everyone else has given up on after facing a heartbreaking tragedy in her own family.


Compare

After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly and completely intertwined again. Eve's troubled lifestyle causes the state to take custody of her two children and contact Zara and her husband, asking them to consider foster care. Newlywed Zara thought she'd finally been given a fresh start and feels wholly unprepared to care f After years of estrangement, the lives of Zara Mahoney and her twin sister, Eve, are suddenly and completely intertwined again. Eve's troubled lifestyle causes the state to take custody of her two children and contact Zara and her husband, asking them to consider foster care. Newlywed Zara thought she'd finally been given a fresh start and feels wholly unprepared to care for a niece and nephew whose existence she wasn't even aware of. Meanwhile, Eve may have a real chance to start over this time with the help of Tiff Bradley, who's dedicated to helping women everyone else has given up on after facing a heartbreaking tragedy in her own family.

30 review for The Way It Should Be

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    This is a wonderful, gut-wrenching book, but it's everything I've come to expect from this author. She has a way of getting to the heart of some complicated issues and dealing with them with utter grace. Themes of addiction and foster parenting are woven throughout the story, and as life is much more complicated than we want to imagine, the ending is hopeful, yet not tied up with a nice bow. I ached for Zara as she learned to be an "instant" parent to her niece and nephew, and I was alternately a This is a wonderful, gut-wrenching book, but it's everything I've come to expect from this author. She has a way of getting to the heart of some complicated issues and dealing with them with utter grace. Themes of addiction and foster parenting are woven throughout the story, and as life is much more complicated than we want to imagine, the ending is hopeful, yet not tied up with a nice bow. I ached for Zara as she learned to be an "instant" parent to her niece and nephew, and I was alternately angry with and compassionate for Eve as she attempted to get her life back on track. After reading this book I understand more clearly that recovery from addiction needs to come from within, a person cannot want to heal for someone else or it will never be enough. Even though Eve deeply desires to be reunited with her children, the motivation for her recovery had to be about her, not about them. That's a difficult thing for someone (like me) who has never dealt with addiction to reconcile. There is a subtle yet pervasive faith message throughout the book, as the characters learn to rely on God for strength instead of themselves. I wonder if there will be a spin-off book, because there's a definite cliffhanger moment towards the end. Overall, another beautiful book by Christina Suzann Nelson. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susie Finkbeiner

    Another amazing book that I had the honor of reading for endorsement! Here's my official blurb: Nelson once again delivers a story with heart, grit, and compassion. The Way It Should Be is a story that reminds readers of beauty in the midst of pain, hope in the thick of adversity, and the power of love to restore and redeem. A stunning read. Another amazing book that I had the honor of reading for endorsement! Here's my official blurb: Nelson once again delivers a story with heart, grit, and compassion. The Way It Should Be is a story that reminds readers of beauty in the midst of pain, hope in the thick of adversity, and the power of love to restore and redeem. A stunning read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    This is a book that hooks you in from the first page and keeps the momentum more or less constant right till the end. The story tells us of twins Eve and Zara, who though having shared a common womb, have nothing in common in their adulthood as their ways have long diverged. Zara has uprooted herself from her struggling background with sheer grit and determination and has recently married Chad. She now looks forward to settling with her new husband in their new farm where she can work on her org This is a book that hooks you in from the first page and keeps the momentum more or less constant right till the end. The story tells us of twins Eve and Zara, who though having shared a common womb, have nothing in common in their adulthood as their ways have long diverged. Zara has uprooted herself from her struggling background with sheer grit and determination and has recently married Chad. She now looks forward to settling with her new husband in their new farm where she can work on her organic products business. Eve, on the other hand, has not been able to get rid of childhood emotional struggles. She is an inveterate drug abuser, in spite of having two young children, and lives with her on-off boyfriend though he keeps abusing her physically. Once when the abuse goes out of hand and Eve finds herself in hospital, a good Samaritan -- Tiff Bradley, who is dealing with personal issues of her own -- steps in to help. Zara finds herself forced to accept guardianship of the young children of her long lost twin. Will she able to manage these unexpected duties? Will Eve be able to win the battle against her addiction to drugs? Will Tiff be able to make her peace with her past though her actions of the present? Read the book to find out. As a women's fiction, this book checks all the requirements. It has family and friends, emotions and struggles, separations and reunions. You will stay invested in each of the three main ladies throughout their varying journeys. Eve with her struggles of drug usage and trying to be a good mother, Zara with her struggles of trying to be a family to children she's never met before while managing her business and new marriage, Tiff trying to make good for earlier parenting mistakes by going all out to help the needy though her marriage seems to be bearing the repercussions of her charity... The way these three arcs are intertwined makes the book an engrossing read. I particularly enjoyed how the author details out the struggles of foster parents. It was an inspiring eye-opener to see the requirements of the DHS to ensure child safety. As a Christian fiction too, this book works nicely. Though a Christian, I'm not a big fan of this genre because many books in this category simply quote biblical phrases to make a point or they sound fatalistic by having trite remarks such as "God will take care of everything" or "God is watching you" and so on. Both approaches don't click with me. I'm a firm believer in "God helps those who help themselves", no matter which God one prays to. This book follows the same approach. While the characters seem to put their faith in God, all of them don't just rely on prayers or hope. They focus on deeds rather than words and use their beliefs to make a practical difference in society. I loved this aspect of putting religion in practice and wish all Christian fiction books would follow this approach. All in all, “The Way It Should Be” is a very powerful and emotional story. The writing is very compelling. Though a couple of characters are too good to be realistic, the way it depicts the struggles of addiction and foster families makes it worth a read. Thank you, NetGalley and Bethany Publishing House, for the Advanced Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. A 4.5 from me. Trigger warnings: Domestic abuse, drug abuse, child trauma *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun. Follow me on Instagram: RoshReviews

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    Beautifully heart wrenching story. This was a hard story to read and a harder story to put down. Ms. Nelson does a great job of conveying the effects addiction has on multiple groups of people. She tells this story from several angles. This is the story of Eve and how she tries to overcome her addiction to care for her children, Sammy and Charlotte. The struggles she goes through are documented in her journals. Her twin Zara and new husband Chad have a quick decision to make. Their story is told Beautifully heart wrenching story. This was a hard story to read and a harder story to put down. Ms. Nelson does a great job of conveying the effects addiction has on multiple groups of people. She tells this story from several angles. This is the story of Eve and how she tries to overcome her addiction to care for her children, Sammy and Charlotte. The struggles she goes through are documented in her journals. Her twin Zara and new husband Chad have a quick decision to make. Their story is told from the perspective of foster parents to their niece and nephew. Another part of the story is told through the eyes of Tiff, a concerned lady who chooses to help Eve personally. Having experienced a great loss, she is trying to live out her Christianity by caring for the helpless and the homeless. She is also trying to move past a tragedy and hold on to her marriage. We even glimpse the whole thing through the eyes of the children and that is very moving. “Could there be any deeper connection than to be known?” This story is beautifully told but it is a very hard subject to write about and Ms. Nelson does so admirably. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I've wanted to cry so much through this book bc it was so sad! A couple of times I've wanted to put it down because of it. In my opinion the author has done a very good job with this story in bringing out our main characters' feelings. Real life like. I can't imagine what I would do if that were me. She's also done the subject of the book very well and I like how she doesn't beat around the bush either. There's jest some things in life that you can't get over and it's hard to go forward after bad s I've wanted to cry so much through this book bc it was so sad! A couple of times I've wanted to put it down because of it. In my opinion the author has done a very good job with this story in bringing out our main characters' feelings. Real life like. I can't imagine what I would do if that were me. She's also done the subject of the book very well and I like how she doesn't beat around the bush either. There's jest some things in life that you can't get over and it's hard to go forward after bad stuff happens. I'm living proof. It's hard to move forward. Grief has no set time. Time supposedly heals everything. Well, maybe it does but you never ever get over missing something or someone. This is my honest opinion. I was NOT required to write a positive review. I recommend this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    What a powerful story this is! I could not put it down once I started it. The story centers around twin sisters who have had a difficult life. Zara is recently married to Chad and eve is a mom to Charlotte and Sammy, struggling with addictions. The aspects of family, ministry and foster care are so strong in this book. I look forward to checking out more of this authors books. Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    Powerful Women's Fiction Novel. Three women, Tiff, Eve and Zara, are connected by substance abuse. Tiff mourns the loss of her teenage daughter by helping the homeless. Zara and Eve are identical twins. Eve is a drug addict. As there paths converge, it's clear that life is messy and can be painful. Each of the women takes a risk to love others fearing the outcome. I love that Eve's voice is heard through her journal entries. The descriptions of men, whether an abuser or a loving husband, were well Powerful Women's Fiction Novel. Three women, Tiff, Eve and Zara, are connected by substance abuse. Tiff mourns the loss of her teenage daughter by helping the homeless. Zara and Eve are identical twins. Eve is a drug addict. As there paths converge, it's clear that life is messy and can be painful. Each of the women takes a risk to love others fearing the outcome. I love that Eve's voice is heard through her journal entries. The descriptions of men, whether an abuser or a loving husband, were well done. It was rewarding to see how the marriages of both Tiff and Zara were impacted by drug abuse and how they ultimately worked through those struggles. This novel treats the topics of drug addiction and the foster system in a realistic rather than idealistic fashion. My heart goes out to those with family members addicted to drugs and my praise to those willing to give of their time and heart to be foster parents. The cover is a perfect representation of Zara and Eve. Both beautiful. One has just fallen and will hopefully be able to sit upright again. My gratitude to publisher Bethany House for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    What a powerful read, one that tugs your heart and doesn't want to let go. Zara and Eve twin sisters had a difficult up bring and now we meet them when they are grown with what is now happening in their lives. One has just gotten married, she and her husband have bought a small farm and beginning their new life together. The other Eve has more or less followed in her mother's footstep, and is now clinging to life. Add to this group a spunky 5 year old girl, and a toddler boy, and a dreaded illness What a powerful read, one that tugs your heart and doesn't want to let go. Zara and Eve twin sisters had a difficult up bring and now we meet them when they are grown with what is now happening in their lives. One has just gotten married, she and her husband have bought a small farm and beginning their new life together. The other Eve has more or less followed in her mother's footstep, and is now clinging to life. Add to this group a spunky 5 year old girl, and a toddler boy, and a dreaded illness hanging over their heads. I loved how this story unfolded and kept giving, their was fear something would happen to these children, or one of these characters would end up dead. I loved the epilogue, and now I want more information! A phone call? I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin Pearson

    I’m grateful for the opportunity to get an early read, and I’m thrilled to endorse it. This book spoke to me, clearly, yet tenderly. Congratulations, Christina!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Long

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book by this author I've read and it's very good. The writing flows well and the characters are likable. The story is definitely realistic and hits on several important topics that are quite common in today's world. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book by this author I've read and it's very good. The writing flows well and the characters are likable. The story is definitely realistic and hits on several important topics that are quite common in today's world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ROBIN RUIZ

    Zara is newly married when she receives a letter informing her that the niece and nephew she doesn’t even know need a place to live. Zara’s twin sister Eve hasn’t had it easy and is battling addiction. Tiff is a woman on a mission, having lost her daughter to addiction. These three will interact and change each other’s lives. Written with such insight you can feel each women's pain, hope, past , scars and healing on every page I had so many emotions reading this book, gratitude, blessings, sorrow Zara is newly married when she receives a letter informing her that the niece and nephew she doesn’t even know need a place to live. Zara’s twin sister Eve hasn’t had it easy and is battling addiction. Tiff is a woman on a mission, having lost her daughter to addiction. These three will interact and change each other’s lives. Written with such insight you can feel each women's pain, hope, past , scars and healing on every page I had so many emotions reading this book, gratitude, blessings, sorrow, insight and compassion. I think I’d like to be a combination of all these ladies when I grow up... Tiff’s resilience to try and make others not follow her daughters path, Zara’s determination to overcome her childhood and buy a farm and make seedlings into products and Eve’s grit to overcome her demons and her strength to fight for a better life for herself and her kids While this is my first book by this author it definitely will not be my last. This one will not only stay with me for a long time A huge thank you to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    I kept telling myself one more page, then I could put the book down, but I could not. I was hooked. The author has the readers emotional invested early on as she brilliantly weaves a tale that taking readers through lots of twists and turns, with several possible crazy paths the story could have ended with some happy, some tragic which would leave the reader an emotional wreck. I found myself glued to the page, tearing through the novel, because I had to know more. The author masterfully tells th I kept telling myself one more page, then I could put the book down, but I could not. I was hooked. The author has the readers emotional invested early on as she brilliantly weaves a tale that taking readers through lots of twists and turns, with several possible crazy paths the story could have ended with some happy, some tragic which would leave the reader an emotional wreck. I found myself glued to the page, tearing through the novel, because I had to know more. The author masterfully tells this story through three POV’s allowing the reader to experience the story in a well-rounded way, having them to walk through addiction and how it affects family members, friends, and the addict themselves. It is heartbreaking in so many ways. I liked how the author effectively gives a glimpse at the inner struggle of Eve, the addict fighting for her life and that of her children. These characters and their situations pull at your heart strings as we read Eve’s diary and get a peek into her soul. Eve’s family life is in crisis. Charlotte 5 and her brother Sammy a toddler. Eve’s Diary, May 20th …” Maybe she had come through the beating with her life, but heroin was still in the fight!”– I know the worst is yet to come, but my children need me. I’m trying to focus on my kids. Already my body is screaming as if my muscles are wrenching…My bones. I want relief, but I’ve tried that before and nearly died from the cure. An addict with a methadone allergy is pathetic. I can die from the help or die from the withdrawal. Either way, I’m not sure I’m going to make it….And my kids. I have to make it…for them.” Then there’s Eve’s twin sister Zara who lost track of her sister years ago. Zara and Chad are newlyweds excited about their life together. She did not know her sister Eve was an addict and had two small children Charlotte and Sammy, until they receive a call from foster care. I liked how the author includes well timed humor through this couple adventure into foster care. Zara and Chad want to help. Things are happening fast. Zara says to Chad …”I keep wondering what they’ll go over in that weekend class, and if it’s really a good idea to give us two young children without that information first.”…”We can’t even housebreak a puppy.” Chad says to Zara, “We’ll figure it out. People have children all the time. They can’t all be experts before they start.” Then there is the story from a ministry viewpoint showing the messy yet loving side of things. I liked the character Tiff Bradley and how she does her part in helping the women no one wants to talk to and/or look at. She feels by helping Eve she is getting a glimpse into her daughters’ addiction. By helping Eve, she is helping her, and her family heal from the loss of her daughter, Lindsay. The author isn’t afraid to say the hard things through her characters like Tiff Bradley who says this to her husband Bruce, “Listen, life isn’t safe. I used to do all the safe things, and I missed what was really happening in the world.” Her husband Bruce replies, “Lindsay is gone. I thought you just needed to do this so you could accept that, but it keeps going, and I don’t understand. Do we need to lose you too?” The author says, “I hope you walk away from this book with the realization that addiction does not define a person. I hope that when you see someone battling drug dependency, you will stop and pray for healing. There are miraculous stories of men and women who’ve turned their lives around. I count it as an honor to know a few of those people.” This is a book that will open your eyes, pull at your heart and have you look at things with fresh eyes. This book would make for a great book club pick. There is so much to discuss. If I could give the author five stars or more I would. This is a must read. Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    I was hooked from the first line. "The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration." This heartbreaking and heartwarming story has themes of addiction and foster parenting woven throughout. Author Christina Suzann Nelson has a way of getting to the heart of the matter without sugar-coating it, yet with compassion and grace. Estranged twin sisters are brought into contact again with all the honest feelings addiction in families bring up. This story I was hooked from the first line. "The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration." This heartbreaking and heartwarming story has themes of addiction and foster parenting woven throughout. Author Christina Suzann Nelson has a way of getting to the heart of the matter without sugar-coating it, yet with compassion and grace. Estranged twin sisters are brought into contact again with all the honest feelings addiction in families bring up. This story gave me a greater appreciation for what an addict can go through, and all who help them from volunteers to case managers, to people willing to hire former addicts to help them get their lives back on track, and to those who love them and their children along the way. And the children of addicts! "How did a child with such a tiny body carry around so much painful baggage?" "Addiction didn't come with an easy path. But hope still existed." The sister Zara who escaped a painful childhood truly has a prince of a husband. They are newlyweds, and together they explore foster parenting with a niece and nephew they didn't know existed. Zara has anxiety when her past comes crashing into her present, she and her sister Eve (in varying degrees) learn to lean on newfound faith. I highly recommend The Way It Should Be! Thank you to the author, publisher, for allowing me to read an early copy. All opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gail Hollingsworth

    This was like watching a true life documentary except for the fact that it was fiction. The author did a great job of writing a story that was so realistic, so moving and so heartbreaking at times too. Estranged identical twins are reunited not by choice but by necessity. Ironically newlywed Zara finds out she’s a carrier of a disorder that affects males. It’s hard for her to realize that she and her new husband Chad will never be able to safely have biological children of their own. Her drug ad This was like watching a true life documentary except for the fact that it was fiction. The author did a great job of writing a story that was so realistic, so moving and so heartbreaking at times too. Estranged identical twins are reunited not by choice but by necessity. Ironically newlywed Zara finds out she’s a carrier of a disorder that affects males. It’s hard for her to realize that she and her new husband Chad will never be able to safely have biological children of their own. Her drug addicted twin, Eve has been in an abusive relationship and already has two children. They get taken away by CPS and Zara finds herself being asked to foster these two, a niece and a nephew that she never knew she had. It’s a long arduous journey that finds Zara and Eve trying to forgive the past in spite of the obstacles facing them. This was truly a novel that won’t be quickly forgotten. Lessons can be learned all around about forgiveness for each other but mostly forgiveness from God. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to write a review positive or otherwise. All opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marylin

    I don’t know what it would be like to be an identical twin, nor have I lived in a dysfunctional family where there are so many hurts and pains. However, I do know that the author, Christina Suzann Nelson has written a beautifully touching story of healing, forgiveness, love, and hope. This book was so captivating and deeply moving. It was a story of three women’s lives and how they all connected. It’s also a story that portrays what the use of drugs and its never-ending pull, can do to individual I don’t know what it would be like to be an identical twin, nor have I lived in a dysfunctional family where there are so many hurts and pains. However, I do know that the author, Christina Suzann Nelson has written a beautifully touching story of healing, forgiveness, love, and hope. This book was so captivating and deeply moving. It was a story of three women’s lives and how they all connected. It’s also a story that portrays what the use of drugs and its never-ending pull, can do to individuals and their families. The whole world of foster-parenting, all the ins and outs, fears, and struggles, are foreign to me. I believe it takes a tender-hearted person or people, to be a foster parent. The author truly presents all aspects of this difficult and yet, what could be a rewarding, process. The thing I love about Christina Suzann Nelson’s writings is that she brings such realness and depth to all her characters. I also appreciate the way she writes about some tough issues and how others deal with them. She doesn’t sugar-coat the pain and hurts her characters experience, yet she brings beautiful and poignant resolutions and makes it just The Way It Should Be. I hope you too will pick up this book and read it, it might open your eyes like it did mine. I was given this book by the publisher and in no way did it influences my review, all opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    I'm giving this 3.5 stars. I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It touches on some really deep topics. I just couldn't get into it as much as I wanted to. That doesn't mean that it isn't well written. It definitely is. I think what held me back was not being able to connect with some of the characters. I also think this isn't the right time in my life to read this one. I will probably come back at a later date to try it again. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I wa I'm giving this 3.5 stars. I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It touches on some really deep topics. I just couldn't get into it as much as I wanted to. That doesn't mean that it isn't well written. It definitely is. I think what held me back was not being able to connect with some of the characters. I also think this isn't the right time in my life to read this one. I will probably come back at a later date to try it again. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abby Breuklander

    Love this story!! Learning to do life with someone who has an addiction, no matter what it may be, can be extremely difficult. No matter how much we love them we cannot change them, they need to make those decisions on their own. We can be there for them, but ultimately we cannot do the work for them. Thankfully God will give us His strength and peace to hold us up no matter the situation we find ourselves in.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a deeply emotional story of a family composed of twin girls, a younger brother and a mother. The boy is suffering a lethal disease, dying a painful death when the girls were young. They were forced to raise themselves with the help of their grandmother because their mother’s depression left her unable to cope. We then go ahead several years to find them as adults with vastly different lives. While one worked to change all that had been her past, the other failed to thrive and fell into a This is a deeply emotional story of a family composed of twin girls, a younger brother and a mother. The boy is suffering a lethal disease, dying a painful death when the girls were young. They were forced to raise themselves with the help of their grandmother because their mother’s depression left her unable to cope. We then go ahead several years to find them as adults with vastly different lives. While one worked to change all that had been her past, the other failed to thrive and fell into a world of drug dependency and the violent world that users live in. The story that ensues is hugely emotional and upsetting. Being a mother I felt all of the emotions that Tiff experienced. The underlying belief of god seems to have given the twins the strength to do what is right and to take care of themselves and those they loved. The book ripped my heart apart time after time when I just wanted to crawl inside and hug everyone. The author did an amazing job of portraying street life it surprised me how many people in my life where so close to falling into the lives that so many of these characters lived. As a community we need to reach out and help homeless people. Well done to the author and I hope each of you that read this book find yourself on a different level of understanding and compassion. Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House for allowing me to read this ARC.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Duncan

    Reviewed for Library Journal.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leslie M.

    I've read other books by this author and enjoyed them. She does a nice job of creating realistic characters and writing emotional storylines, and this one was no exception. It was easy to connect with the characters and stay engaged. Tiff is resilient and Zara is determined, and you can't help but root for them. I also enjoyed Eve's strength and conviction to overcome and provide a better life for herself and her kids. There are some difficult subject matters, and the author does a fine job of t I've read other books by this author and enjoyed them. She does a nice job of creating realistic characters and writing emotional storylines, and this one was no exception. It was easy to connect with the characters and stay engaged. Tiff is resilient and Zara is determined, and you can't help but root for them. I also enjoyed Eve's strength and conviction to overcome and provide a better life for herself and her kids. There are some difficult subject matters, and the author does a fine job of tackling them. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    The Way It Should Be tells a powerful story about family, addiction, and motherhood from the perspectives of three different women. Newly married Zara Mahoney and her husband, Chad, are settling into their new lives in a fixer-upper farm house when Zara learns she's a carrier of a genetic disease that would kill any son she passed it down to. Meanwhile, Zara's estranged identical-twin sister, Eve, is battling addiction and has just had her two children placed in foster care. These children happe The Way It Should Be tells a powerful story about family, addiction, and motherhood from the perspectives of three different women. Newly married Zara Mahoney and her husband, Chad, are settling into their new lives in a fixer-upper farm house when Zara learns she's a carrier of a genetic disease that would kill any son she passed it down to. Meanwhile, Zara's estranged identical-twin sister, Eve, is battling addiction and has just had her two children placed in foster care. These children happen to be a niece and a nephew Zara didn't even know she had, so when Zara receives a letter from DHS asking her to take over temporary custody of them, it's needless to say she's shocked. Then there's Tiff. After Tiff lost her daughter, who was an addict, she begins her own ministry of helping women who are in similar situations that her daughter was in. Tiff quickly becomes a friend and mentor to Eve and dedicates herself to doing whatever she can to help Eve get back on her feet so she can regain custody of her children. I'll start with the positives, because there are a lot of them. A lot of Christian fiction writers make the mistake of thinking they can make up for a weak plot line and uninteresting characters with plenty of talk about Christ. Then, readers are too scared to give the book a bad review, because it seems like they're giving the word of Christ a bad review. In The Way It Should Be, Nelson doesn't compromise any of these three components. The plot is both moving and compelling. At the center of the story are incredibly sensitive topics, such as foster care, abusive relationships, and addiction. Nelson handles all of these topics with respect and finesse while avoiding any simplification of the real-world struggles that go along with all of these things. As real as the subject matter is, it would be lost without developing flawed, relatable characters to carry us through the story. All three women have their own unique motivations and struggles. Nelson not only fully explores each of these, but she also pays attention to the interconnecting issues brought on by each woman's individual journey. All three women are working their way through what it means to be a mother and how faith fits into their journey. I loved the way each woman's faith was portrayed. Nobody is perfect and with that statement comes a reminder that nobody is perfect in their faith either. It's easy to want to blame someone or something for our problems or even feel like we can't handle the roadblocks in our life. At one point or another, each of the women doubts something or someone in their lives, but they each have someone around to help remind them about God's word. Even though this book has a lot going for it, the main gripe I had was how Eve's perspective would often clang with everything else. Eve's perspective is told by journal entries for most of the book which further contrasts her experiences and situations with Zara's and Tiff's. I understand what Nelson was trying to do with this and it was good to get inside of Eve's head every once in a while, but sometimes it ended up being a random paragraph in the middle of a chapter that has nothing to do with what was going on at that time. It was almost as if I was reading a really good book, but someone decided to paste in some random entries from their journal. I'm not sure how this could have been handled differently, but it wasn't for me. Overall, The Way It Should Be is worth the read. If you're looking for something to binge read this weekend, you might want to give this one a try. I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for the promise of an honest review. All opinions expressed on the work in this review are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bookshortie

    “The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration” As soon as I read the first sentence I knew this was going to be a special book. This is the story of three women: Zara, Eve and Tiff. Zara and Eve are twin sisters who are estranged and Zara always hoped that once Eve had sorted herself out she would reach out to her sister. Zara is happily married to Chad her college sweetheart, they’ve just purchased a new farm and are hoping to shortly embark on “The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration” As soon as I read the first sentence I knew this was going to be a special book. This is the story of three women: Zara, Eve and Tiff. Zara and Eve are twin sisters who are estranged and Zara always hoped that once Eve had sorted herself out she would reach out to her sister. Zara is happily married to Chad her college sweetheart, they’ve just purchased a new farm and are hoping to shortly embark on their journey into parenthood. Eve’s life is very different from Zara’s. Eve is a drug addict who also has two children; a daughter Charlotte aged 5 and a baby son Samuel. Tiff is someone who crosses paths with Eve and tries to help her. In Eve Tiff sees her own daughter Lindsey who was a heroin addict but who she was unable to save. When Eve is found after being assaulted by her boyfriend, Tiff tries to help her. It is also the wake up call Eve needs as she is aware that if she can’t sort herself out and detox her children will be taken away from her and put into the care system. Not knowing what became of her sister or the fact that she has a niece and nephew Zara is contacted by the state to look after Eve’s children whilst she undergoes treatment and until she’s back on her feet. So starts the story of Zara, Eve and Tiff. Although they are very different characters their lives are intertwined through not only their relationship but shared experiences. I would also say this is Charlotte’s story too because through her eyes we get to see the impact that having a mother who is an addict has had on her. At 5 years old Charlotte is wise beyond her years and has had to grow up very quickly. She takes responsibility of her baby brother making sure that he is taken care of whilst they are in their mother’s care and acts as the grown up when this should be played by her mother. But we also see glimpses into the fact that she is still a child when she is in Zara’s care i.e. naming a male goat Jane after a woman in their last building who had a beard like the goats. This had me in giggles of laughter as did many scenes involving Charlotte. The book has three narrators: Zara, Eve and Tiff and the chapters alternate between their perspectives, what is happening to their character in the story and how they are feeling about the whole situation they are faced with. Zara finds herself in the parental seat for the first time in her life but to her sister’s children. For Eve’s character her narrative is explored through the diary entries that she writes whilst in rehab giving the reader an idea of how she is feeling, how she is coping being separated from her children and her determination to do what she can to improve. With Tiff’s character the more she interacts with Eve we see glimpses into her personal life and how the loss of her own daughter has affected not only her marriage but her family as a whole. This was a heartbreaking book that deals with some hard hitting but very real themes such as addiction, drug use, domestic violence and how this affects not only the person directly involved but everyone on the periphery of their inner circle. It is also a book about healing as each character has some issue or event in their life that they are trying to come to terms with. What I liked about this book was that it showed the strength and determination of the human spirit when under pressure and this shines through in all three characters. The saying everything happens for a reason is a very apt way of describing each character’s journey in this book. I was surprised at the ending but after reading the author’s note at the end I understand why the book ended the way it did. In fact it made the ending all the more real and more relatable to people who have gone through similar experiences in life. I received a gifted copy for an honest review

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Garrison

    "God has a plan that is far outside of my own reach. And no matter what it looks like, I'm learning to see that His way is the way it should be." Parenting a child in foster care system is rarely an ideal situation. Helping someone to recover from drug abuse takes a tremendous amount of fortitude. Moving on from poor life choices can feel impossible. This is the story of three women. Zara is a newlywed who hopes to be a mom someday, but she discovers if she has a baby boy, he may die young like he "God has a plan that is far outside of my own reach. And no matter what it looks like, I'm learning to see that His way is the way it should be." Parenting a child in foster care system is rarely an ideal situation. Helping someone to recover from drug abuse takes a tremendous amount of fortitude. Moving on from poor life choices can feel impossible. This is the story of three women. Zara is a newlywed who hopes to be a mom someday, but she discovers if she has a baby boy, he may die young like her brother. Due to family trauma and her twin's choices, she lost track of her sister. Little did she know that Eve already has two kids, but she is struggling to get out of the hold of drug addiction and her controlling boyfriend. Zara is asked to foster the two kids, but she is unsure. Tiffany suffers from guilt over the loss over her daughter who could not get out of drugs clutches, so she is doing everything she can to help other moms not to suffer the same fate. She steps in to help Eve and try to help the sisters. Having three different story angles added such depth to the storyline. Zara is reluctant to only be a temporary solution - she knows she will come to care for the kids and be devastated when they are leave. To understand Eve's part of the story, the reader gets glimpses of her journal and begins to understand how she started down the road of drugs and how she is petrified of being stuck in her wrong choices. Tiffany and her husband have struggled to find their footing after the loss of their daughter. She puts herself in danger to try to help the homeless who are seeking out drugs. He feels like he is losing his wife too. As someone who has never been a part of the drug scene or really known someone who struggles to overcome addiction, I can easily become judgmental. I can assume that a person could overcome their situations if they only "tried harder." The same is true for parents who have kids in the foster care system. I do not relate well. I appreciate how Eve is portrayed - we come to understand her decisions do not coincide with how much she truly wants to be with her children. This book reminded me of the importance of loving those who God puts into our path. We need not shy away from potentially tough situations. Being willing to step in to be a safe place for a child matters. For anyone who is considering becoming a foster parent or who is supporting someone who is fostering, I highly recommend this book. I feel like it does not sugar coat the potential tough situations. But the book also shows that if the adults are trying to work for the best interests of the children, the system can work. This book appreciates the social workers and those who are trying to help. While maybe not a happy ending, this book did end on a hopeful note. I really appreciate the author and Bethany House Publishers allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. This one will stick with me for a long time as I will continue to ponder how I can make a difference in the lives of those in my own community who may need a helping hand. To learn how to love my neighbor as myself can be hard. But I want to try. This review reflects my own experiences and opinions.

  24. 4 out of 5

    CheckLitOutEm

    “The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration” are the opening lines to this story and they’re the most poignant. Trigger warnings: addiction, death of a child, fostering/adoption, complexities of fertility/genetics. This is a story about family, love and friendship. It is written in a three person narrative and tells the story from the viewpoints of twin sisters Zara and Eve and a lady called Tiff that steps in to help Eve in her darkest hours. “The most beautiful things are those that survive a storm and find their glory in the restoration” are the opening lines to this story and they’re the most poignant. Trigger warnings: addiction, death of a child, fostering/adoption, complexities of fertility/genetics. This is a story about family, love and friendship. It is written in a three person narrative and tells the story from the viewpoints of twin sisters Zara and Eve and a lady called Tiff that steps in to help Eve in her darkest hours. Eve’s views are shared via her diary entry which is different to the other two women and leaves the reader contemplating the significance of this and if it was deliberately crafted for a specific purpose. Zara is newly married to Chad - they’ve just bought a new home, she has started up a new business venture, there’s talks about starting a family and creating an exciting future, but when an unexpected letter rocks the foundations of what her and Chad are building, there’s a choice to be made, but what happens when the thing you most want will bring sadness with it. Whose heart do you protect - your own or the already fragmented hearts of children. Eve, on the other hand, is struggling - she has found herself in a vicious cycle that she can’t break away from. She wants to be a good mother to her children, but finds herself doing things to try and make that happen. Poor choices lead set her on a path of self-destruction and potentially what could be her demise. Tiff, has an heart of gold - wracked by guilt, she has her own share of troubles and she is using these to channel projects within the community and for a group of people she has a strong emotional connection too, even if it’s to the detriment of her own life and marriage. When she meets Eve, she goes further than she has ever done before, breaking her own rules, to try and help and protect this vulnerable woman. Does Tiff see this as her second chance of getting things right? There are references to faith and trusting in God throughout (but they’re subtle), but don’t let it put you off. The circumstances that these three women find themselves in are what entwines their lives. Some might say it’s fate, whilst others might say it’s God’s will. Whatever it was, these women needed to be brought together to restore themselves. Whilst some might argue that the story doesn’t go into the true depths of addiction and somewhat glosses over the true horrors of what an addict and their families would face. I think that the book has been beautifully and sensitively written and I would recommend reading this book. My heart ached for each of the characters and the situations that they found themselves in. It also yearns to know more - how did things turn out for each of the characters, especially since it feels like some questions have been left unanswered by a couple of cliffhanger moments (I wonder if there will be a sequel?) Thank you for a free copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson is an emotionally compelling Christian novel of healing and grace. Zara and Chad Mahoney are newlyweds who have just settled into their new home. The farm and house need some TLC but Zara is absolutely delighted with her new life. She is eager to begin planting the herbs, flowers and plants that she uses to make soaps, lotions and loofahs. However, they have barely finished unpacking when she receives a letter from  DHS. Zara’s estranged twin sister The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson is an emotionally compelling Christian novel of healing and grace. Zara and Chad Mahoney are newlyweds who have just settled into their new home. The farm and house need some TLC but Zara is absolutely delighted with her new life. She is eager to begin planting the herbs, flowers and plants that she uses to make soaps, lotions and loofahs. However, they have barely finished unpacking when she receives a letter from  DHS. Zara’s estranged twin sister, Eve, is in the hospital and social services needs a temporary home for her young children, five-year-old Charlotte and eighteen-month-old Sammy. Zara is uncertain about taking in the kids but Chad has no qualms about bringing them into their home. After agonizing over the decision, Zara agrees and with the help of her mother-in-law, Sharon, and their church, Charlotte and Sammy are now in their care. Eve is addicted to heroin and living with a man whose beating puts her in the hospital. Devastated over losing her children, she is determined to kick her habit and make the necessary changes to get her kids back. With the help of her unlikely friend, Tiff Bradley, Eve has the support she needs but giving up heroin is so much harder than she believed it would be. Luckily, Tiff is not giving up on her and she gets her into detox and finds her a place to begin her recovery. Eve is well on her way to turning her life around but will her ex-boyfriend, Joey, let her go? Tiff is an unlikely savior since she and her husband Bruce are wealthy.  But the couple learned the hard way that addiction does not care what about your socio-economic status. They lost their daughter Lindsay to drugs and Tiff works through her grief by helping women on the outer edges of society. Unfortunately, her desire to assist these women is a source of contention between her and Bruce. With a gentle undercurrent of faith, The Way It Should Be is a moving novel with a realistic storyline. Zara’s struggles with guilt ring true as does her wariness at opening her heart to temporary custody. Chad is a charming and outgoing with a huge heart. Charlotte’s reactions to her new situation are heartbreaking but understandable. Eve’s struggles with addiction and extremely low self-worth are heartrending. Tiff’s grief and self-recriminations over not doing more for her daughter are natural and her desire to help others comes from her heart and her strong faith. With a surprising plot twist, Christina Suzann Nelson brings this poignant yet redemptive novel to an uplifting conclusion. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this emotional and well-researched novel.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chelsie

    This is the second novel of Christina Suzann Nelson’s that I have read, and both of them have been a one day read! Her writing is so fluid and I just want to know what happens next. I can’t put her books down, I have to know what happens and how things turn out! Zara has what appears to be the perfect life. Newly married, a new farm house they are going to renovate, and her own business doing what she loves. Her upbringing was not ideal, but she has moved past that. She has a wonderful husband an This is the second novel of Christina Suzann Nelson’s that I have read, and both of them have been a one day read! Her writing is so fluid and I just want to know what happens next. I can’t put her books down, I have to know what happens and how things turn out! Zara has what appears to be the perfect life. Newly married, a new farm house they are going to renovate, and her own business doing what she loves. Her upbringing was not ideal, but she has moved past that. She has a wonderful husband and life is everything she could have dreamed of until she gets some medical tests back and a letter about a niece and nephew she did not know existed. Eve has struggled her own life, she has done what she has felt she needed to do for her kids and this may be the last straw to get her to realize this is not a life, for her nor her kids to be growing up in. Her kids have been taken into state custody and she thankfully was found and taken to the hospital where she is healing and fighting a terrible withdrawal. This may just be rock bottom. Her kids were taken. But she has a savior who is willing to give it her all to help her, Tiff and Eve is not sure why. Zara’s perfect world has been turned upside down. She is being asked to take her twin sisters two children as a foster parent. That is just until Eve can take them back. Can she do this? Zara feels overwhelmed and yet she is reminded of how these children did not have a choice in their situation, and that many people believe in her and Chad. They can do this, and they will not be alone. Is this what it will take for her to finally make amends with her sisters even though this seems to be under the worse of circumstances? Thank you to the author, and Bethany House for the free novel. I loved this book! The author did an amazing job in writing and making us readers understand the hold and world of addiction some can get lost in, and they really are terrified or cannot get out. It is not as simple as we often think it is, to just give up an addiction.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily P

    This story pulled me in from the first page and truly didn't let up until the end. Twists and turns, heartbreak and hope...Nelson is a talented author who chooses to address difficult topics in a humane and relatable way. "The Way It Should Be" is no exception. Zara and Chad are newlyweds, navigating married life, two jobs and a fixer upper home. While they begin discussions about having children, they are hit with a difficult diagnosis that puts a damper on their plans. Zara is still mourning th This story pulled me in from the first page and truly didn't let up until the end. Twists and turns, heartbreak and hope...Nelson is a talented author who chooses to address difficult topics in a humane and relatable way. "The Way It Should Be" is no exception. Zara and Chad are newlyweds, navigating married life, two jobs and a fixer upper home. While they begin discussions about having children, they are hit with a difficult diagnosis that puts a damper on their plans. Zara is still mourning the loss of her baby brother and the grief that drove her twin sister Eve from her life. Tiff and her husband Bruce have drifted apart after the loss of their daughter, Lindsay, to heroin. Tiff throws herself into service, bringing meals and a kind listening ear to the homeless, many battling addictions and the gritty world of life on the streets. She is approached by a lady who introduces Eve, a young mother who is trying to make money to feed her kids. Tiff steps over the line and becomes involved in Eve's troubled situation, seeing a glimpse of the daughter she lost to drugs. Eve is sharing an apartment with her latest bad decision. Her babies are stuck in the middle when their mother is battered and left behind, and they become wards of the state. Tiff hears about what's happened and goes to the scene, much to her husband's dismay. This moment becomes a catalyst for everyone involved: what will happen to Eve's children? The way this story evolves is so engrossing that time seems to slow. You feel for each of the characters' unique struggles and begin to see the spiderwebs of connection that draw them to one another. Nelson is a masterful storyteller who tackles tough topics and real life challenges like addiction, children in foster care/reunification, overcoming grief and reconciliation in relationships of a few types. "The Way It Should Be" will keep you reading until the last page and stay with you for long after the story ends. I was an early reader, thanks to the publisher and #NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    Christina Suzann Nelson has such a compelling way of writing, you really become wrapped up with her characters and story. Such is the case of "The Way It Should Be." Twin sisters Zara and Eve have not seen each other in ten years. A lot has happened during that time. Zara finds the love of her life and feels like she has been given a new start in life. Eve on the other hand has made so many mistakes and poor choices. Drugs, men, pregnancy.... She is in so deep, she can't see her way out. But Eve i Christina Suzann Nelson has such a compelling way of writing, you really become wrapped up with her characters and story. Such is the case of "The Way It Should Be." Twin sisters Zara and Eve have not seen each other in ten years. A lot has happened during that time. Zara finds the love of her life and feels like she has been given a new start in life. Eve on the other hand has made so many mistakes and poor choices. Drugs, men, pregnancy.... She is in so deep, she can't see her way out. But Eve is given a chance to change, with the help of Tiff Bradley. A woman who lost a daughter to drugs years ago. This story was one I couldn't put down. The way Nelson weaves these women together makes you want to root for their success. And it is so difficult. Especially since it involves Eve's two young children. So many tough decisions, and the strength needed to go forward. There are also questions. So much doubt that the reader comes to realize that this story could be about any family. It takes a lot of love to overcome the pain. I've read Nelson's other two books and was just as blown away by how she can move me with her tasteful and excellent writing. I liked the review by Lisa Wingate. "Christina Suzann Nelson's beautifully written tale will have readers considering complex questions long after closing the cover." I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author and publisher. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bookswithacuppa

    This book touches on two subjects, one that is incredibly close to my heart, and the other which I gratefully learnt so much more about after reading this book. Addiction is such a heart breaking subject that has, and continues, to destroy so many lives. Fostering is also an incredibly complex experience, both emotionally and psychologically. Christina offers a delicately yet realistically insight into both topics, drawing on her experience with Every Child Oregan organisation. The three women in This book touches on two subjects, one that is incredibly close to my heart, and the other which I gratefully learnt so much more about after reading this book. Addiction is such a heart breaking subject that has, and continues, to destroy so many lives. Fostering is also an incredibly complex experience, both emotionally and psychologically. Christina offers a delicately yet realistically insight into both topics, drawing on her experience with Every Child Oregan organisation. The three women in this book all have their own struggles and heartache which they have to find their way through, and Christina painted these struggles and hopes beautifully. My heart ached for the two children (well it ached for everyone really) but having a 2.5 year old really had me feeling for them in particular. I loved the one liners from Charlotte - the brutal honesty of a toddler / young child is unparalleled. The book was well written, and had a softness about it which was in contrast to the topic. For those of you who like an ending tied up in a neat little bow, you won’t see that here. And I for one am thankful, as I feel (given the topic) it would have been in congruent to do so. Religion and faith is also highlighted throughout the book but done so in an inert way, and certainly doesn’t detract from the story - if anything, I think it helps accentuate the main topics of the book. A book that deals with sadness, loss and heartache in a hopeful and courageous way - recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rena Ackley

    When what you want most in life turns out to be something you find out you can never have, then the unexpected happens but it is not what you wanted either, you thought. Zara and Eve were twin sisters, but their family was quite dysfunctional. The older they got, the more dysfunctional. Their mother was no help, but she has her own battles to fight. One sister gets out and makes a life, one gets lost along the way. As in most families, each sees it through their own perspective and has no idea h When what you want most in life turns out to be something you find out you can never have, then the unexpected happens but it is not what you wanted either, you thought. Zara and Eve were twin sisters, but their family was quite dysfunctional. The older they got, the more dysfunctional. Their mother was no help, but she has her own battles to fight. One sister gets out and makes a life, one gets lost along the way. As in most families, each sees it through their own perspective and has no idea how the other views it. Somewhere along the line, their lives are intersected by Tiffany whose daughter had turned to drugs after an injury in high school. Despite being raised in a Christian family, she continues the slide and one day doesn’t return. Tiffany begins a mission of working with the homeless, drug addicts in the streets, going out at night taking food and water, getting to know some of them,hoping someone would have helped her daughter. People think she is crazy. She is the catalyst for bringing the twins together and helping save the children. It is not all a happy go lucky story, life is not that way. It does show with following God’s leading, sometimes He provides what you wanted, just in a whole different way than you ever anticipated. Thank you to Christina Nelson and Zondervan Press for the preview copy.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.