Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of “The Time Under Heaven” by Laurinda Wallace

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The Time Under Heaven

Time seems to be against missionary Ruthanne Carroll. Suddenly faced with a life threatening illness, she reluctantly returns to the U.S. from a small Maasai village in Kenya. Once she reunites with her sisters Elizabeth and Melody, she clearly sees God’s hand leading her to uncover a guilty secret from her past.

A journey to uncover the truth leads them through sometimes dangerous circumstances and battles with old hurts. Each find their faith and relationships challenged as they reach a crossroads where the choices are healing and reconcilation or bitterness and defeat.

Laurinda Wallace’s debut novel is an uplifting tale about family and faith, a sweeping story of three women coming to terms with their shifting roles as daughters, sisters, or mothers. Join her indelible characters on a journey of discovery and reconciliation as the steady, inexorable rhythms of life play out. – Rosebud Communications


Laurinda began her story one lead character at a time…first was missionary Ruthanne Carroll in a hot and humid waiting room of Doctor Hawkes office in the village of Maasai, Kenya in Africa. The scene was easily imagined with Ms Wallace’s vivid description of the village people in their colorful native garb and beads, flies, sweaty bodies, sick and whimpering children and a very nervous Ruthanne waiting to hear the results of the MRI she had taken. She did not receive news she wanted to hear, instead what the doctor reported to her would change the entire course of her life and her sister’s lives immediately.

Melody, the youngest sister, is not blessed with the finer things of life she wishes for. Her husband Dennis is her biggest problem and is not employed in a job or otherwise at taking care of tasks and chores at home. They live the seamier side of life with little money, but find funds to provide for cigarettes and beer. Their loveless marriage is full of volatile arguments, rough abusive comments, and daily exhaustion on Melody’s mind and body through her work as a nurse’s aid in a home for the elderly. Melody has no faith in God, due to the upbringing her father imposed upon her. She could see nothing loving about Christianity as her father demonstrated. Have her dreams of becoming an RN fading into forever?

Elizabeth, the middle sister, and her husband Tom are parents of two grown children Paul and Corinne. Elizabeth is romantic about gardening and knew each flower’s fragrance by memory.  The past years of happy marriage and family life had been undaunted with major problems until recently when Tom and daughter Corinne had a major blowup over her boyfriend Trevor. Corinne fled to parts unknown with her choice sweetheart. They did enjoy being grandparents and Elizabeth often cared for her grandbabies while their mother, Sonya worked.  Elizabeth now knew unusual stress and even resentment toward Tom for being so unreasonable and chastising of Corinne, causing her disappearance. Elizabeth and Melody were close, but the relationship wasn’t always easy due to Melody’s co-dependence on Elizabeth’s kindness. Their lives were quite opposite in Christian belief and lifestyle – and their knowledge of Ruthanne’s life was almost nil.

All three sisters were raised by a strict protestant minister with constant and continuing negative attitudes toward his daughters; a weak submissive mother with her own problems of no real identity of herself, although artistic and creative in nature. She tried to protect her daughters from their father’s temperament to show loving support. Their relieving grace came from grandparents that were affectionate, understanding and provided positive reinforcement of help. The sister’s best memories were of time spent with their fun inspired grandparents, especially grandma, at their beach home in Cape Cod. The people of their formative years are now gone, but the memories are still ever present.

It was Ruthanne’s phone call to Elizabeth informing of her arriving soon in the States because of her health that began the highly active changes in everyone’s lives. Ruthanne is facing major problems of loss in the area of her ministry where she has made her home from a young age….everything becomes uncertain. Secrets of each sister were now in danger of revelation. Coincidences, which I prefer to refer to as Godincidences began happening as paths crossed and God’s plans for each character took them in different directions physically and emotionally in a miraculously cohesive nature.

Among the multitude of Laurinda’s stylistic finer points was allowing the reader to hear the thoughts of each character easily….learning more of who they really were by the time the story ended. I can’t leave out one of my favorite persons in this story – Nan, the Southern Lady – a key friend to all with so much insight into the problems and situations each sister was growing through. She added fun and humor with unconditional love. Was she actually an angel in disguise? It made me wonder.

Ms Wallace’s characters are excellently developed. She obviously loved each character and developed traits insightfully into each one. I became more endeared to each sister as the chapters flew by. This story spoke deeply and emotionally to me of like problems throughout my lifetime of raising children, serious health issues and working toward improved marriage relations, and more – I easily became personally involved.  Laurinda adds enticement into her writing flow that is highly entertaining.

Faith in God, choices, secrets, mistakes, redemption, change and growth; the core concept of this story is scripturally based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. I pray you will keep these verses in your consciousness as you read Laurinda’s novel A Time Under Heaven. Every verse provided a story line into each sister’s search. So, there is a time for searching and revealing in all seasons of our lives. How many secrets have been kept to haunt each character? Laurinda brings to my own personal thoughts these times and seasons of my life.

The Time Under Heaven is a true reminder that life cycles in sameness – the problems and crises are not new…only to each generation. My favorite quote “If God brings you to it – He’ll bring you through it.” is proven true once again through Laurinda’s insightful writing about human and spiritual nature. This story ended just as it was beginning. Is it possible Laurinda has in mind a continuation story for this family?  Thank you Laurinda Wallace for sharing your faith and delightful writing with us. Friends, for an engrossing read – do yourself a favor and compliment the author by getting your copy now. You will both be blessed!

About Laurinda….

Laurinda Wallace

Living in the high desert of Arizona, Laurinda writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her novel, The Time Under Heaven and devotional, Gardens of the Heart are available. Mysteries are coming in 2013.

Laurinda is a native of the snowbelt in Western New York and left the snowy weather for the sun and mountain views of southeast Arizona in 2003.
A graduate of Houghton College, New York, she’s made a career in administration.

A lifelong writer, she seriously pursued freelance writing in 2005 and has been published in both print and e-publications. She contributes regularly to Christian Devotions, and has written devotions and articles for The Upper Room and Mature Living.
Her debut novel, The Time Under Heaven was released by 3-Mice Productions in June, 2012.
Active in church ministry, she teaches a women’s Bible study in a bi-lingual setting.

Favorite Books

Too many to mention. The top three are: The Bible by God, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.


A Time Under Heaven is available @ Amazon in Print and on Kindle!

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