A Maze of Grace
by Trish Ryan

Faith Words, 2010. ISBN 978-0-446-54581-5.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 09/16/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir

Trish Ryan's memoir, A Maze of Grace, is a breath of spiritual fresh air. If you've ever wondered how people keep their Christian faith in a decidedly secular world of work and busy social obligations, this book is for you. Ryan brings the reader on a journey through her early marriage and her run-ins with infertility, temptation, body image, and dealing with people to whom "Jesus" is a bad word. A Maze of Grace spoke to me on so many levels. There's really only one word to sum it up: inspiring.

"One of the best parts of my faith is that it allows do-overs," Ryan writes in her introduction. "Jesus is the only spiritual leader I've found who says, Come to me when you've messed up and I'll give you a second chance. This book is a collection of the ways I've taken him up on the offer." She describes life events we've all gone through with striking humor. What does it mean to be a wife in modern America, and is it okay to enjoy caring for one's husband? If you can't get pregnant, is it God's will or is in-vitro fertilization okay? How do you stand up for Jesus in a world that shies away from evangelicalism?

Ryan takes her reader on an intimate journey through her highs and lows, through the moments she loved her life and those she questioned her faith. I laughed and I cried, I hoped and I fretted while reading this book. Perhaps most of all, I felt "I'm not the only one feeling this way!" It's extremely refreshing to read how someone else has lived through and overcome moments when their own faith wavered. This book, about love, faith, and the power of hope, belongs on everyone's library shelf.

Trish Ryan is the author of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: A Memoir of Finding Faith, Hope, and Happily Ever After. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Steve, and their dog. Visit her website.

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