Knowing something bad will happen if she misses, nine-year-old Mara keeps her appointments. And she has never told a soul. But despite the fear and shame that ensnare her, she clings to the hope that she can break free. Caught in a maelstrom of lies and deceit, Mara picks her way through the wreckage of a lost childhood until the day something magical happens underneath the pecan tree.
Publisher’s Weekly review: In this debut faith-based novel, DeMuth transports readers to the hot East Texas town that is nine-year-old Mara’s home. Amid the red dirt and pecan trees, Mara struggles to find her way through a painful and mysterious family situation. Who were her parents? Is her aunt Elma really her aunt-and does Elma really have a tumor? What will happen to her if her aunt dies? The pain in Mara’s life multiplies when she meets General, the teenage neighbor who repeatedly rapes her, threatening her life if she tells anyone. DeMuth captures the horrific situation-from Mara’s inability to keep her body from shaking to her determination to watch the tree limbs to keep her mind off of what is going on-while providing hope of redemption and healing. Her characters are expertly drawn, and encompass meanness, evil, great kindness and the confusion of generally good people who don’t know how to handle what life has given them. Christian themes are woven throughout as a natural expression of the characters and situation. Readers may be surprised at the dark subject matter, but this book will appeal to many readers both as a thoughtful, powerful reflection on a difficult topic and as a compelling story.
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God says “I love you” in many ways, some of which are hard to hear. Like every teenager, Maranatha tries to sort out the confusing layers of love–of friends, of family, of suitors, and, desperately, of God. She struggles to find herself before the darkness of the past pulls her back to the shadow of the girl she used to be in this moving follow-up to the critically praised Watching the Tree Limbs.