Book Review: Before I Saw You

30 Jul

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer―not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.


A long-time believer in the power of story to change lives, Amy K. Sorrells’ diverse writing career includes over two decades of freelance writing including medical journal publications and a popular op-ed newspaper column.

Praised by reviewers for the way they both poetically and accurately portray real life hardship and hope, Amy’s novels are inspired by social issues which break her heart and the Bible stories which reflect God’s response to those issues. Her first novel, How Sweet the Sound, was written as a response to the personal questions she had for God about how He redeems the pain of sexual abuse. The driving mission behind all her writing is to bring words of hope to a hurting world.

Amy’s novels have been short-listed for various fiction awards, and How Sweet the Sound won the 2011 Women of Faith Writing Contest before it was acquired by publishers. Since then, she has published two more novels, Then Sings My Soul, and Lead Me Home.

When she’s not writing, Amy loves doting on her husband, three young adult sons, and their golden retrievers at their home in central Indiana. If there’s leftover time after that, she enjoys up-cycling, gardening, binge reading, exercising, and Bible journaling.


My Impressions: 

If reading two of Amy K. Sorrels’ novels (How Sweet The Sound and Lead Me Home) hadn’t already cemented her as a must-read author, her latest novel, Before I Saw You, certainly does. I don’t know how she does it. This author takes difficult subjects and portrays them realistically, but with a large measure of mercy and grace that leaves the reader feeling blessed at the last page. Before I Saw You was an emotional read for me. No, I have never experienced the troubles that the main characters faced, but its universal message met me where I live. All I can say is read this book! It deserves a very highly recommended rating.

Before I Saw You is set in the small southern Indiana town of Riverton. The town has seen its share of hardships  — cholera epidemic, factory closings — but the ravages of heroin use has left it almost bereft of hope. The story is told in the first person voice of Jaycee Givens, a girl hanging on by the barest of threads. Tragedy seems to have followed her even before her birth, but she is doggedly determined to make better choices than others in her community. Jaycee is a wonderfully-drawn character, real and relatable. She struggles, doubts, and second-guesses herself and God. Her family consists of Sudie, an elderly wildlife rehabber/cemetery custodian, Carla, her boss at the local diner, Gabe, a newcomer to town and co-worker, and a host of others who stand with her in the darkest times. I loved the picture of church family that Sorrells portrays — grace-filled and mercy-led. Jaycee sees real religion in action. Two of the themes are learning to give things to God and trusting Him with the many what-ifs in life. I really, really needed to read those truths. It is incredible how a story many years in the making can arrive at just the right time for a reader. My reading experience was indeed God-orchestrated.

Before I Saw You is beautifully written, and takes its place as my favorite of all Sorrells’ novels (at least until I read the next one 😉 ). I laughed, I cried (ugly cry too), I rejoiced, and I found hope while in its pages. My only regret is that I did not read this book for book club. It is one I would love to talk about.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



4 Responses to “Book Review: Before I Saw You”

  1. thebeccafiles July 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m waiting on my copy but can’t wait to get to read it!

    • rbclibrary July 31, 2018 at 6:52 am #

      You are going to be blessed!


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