Trish Ryan and A Maze of Grace

Trish Ryan and A Maze of Grace

Memoirist/Essayist Trish Ryan took readers along on her quest to find “Mr. Right” in her debut memoir, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: A Memoir of Finding Faith, Love, and Happily Ever After, and tomorrow — June 22, 2010 — she continues to share her life’s journey in A Maze of Grace: A Memoir of Second Chances.

The idea for chronicling the continuation of the author’s now five years of married life came at the insistence of a friend who never realized that daily wedded experiences could be “Great!” Yet that’s how things “by some crazy miracle” seemed to end up for Trish and Steve. And so she shares their ups and downs as encouragement, noting in a disclaimer: “I’m under no illusion that Steve and I have mastered some “‘spiritual”‘ right way to do life.” However, by asking for God’s input in places they’ve been stuck has provided ideas, suggestions and alternatives to their personal struggles including: infertility, depression, body image, and sex.

Yes Trish talks to God, even about THAT subject. Now for those unfamiliar with He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, please don’t raise your eyebrows. Because the first book is “the story of how a new-age dabbler turned to Jesus for relationship advice and ended up with a “‘happily-ever-after'” husband and a newfound Christian faith.” Considering God offered her sound, practical, and miraculous advice back then, it’s only natural for this author to keep asking for and following His guidance.

Yet to share even more of herself… In the Monday, May 17, 2010 blog post, Good News from Publishers Weekly, Trish admits her relief and joy by writing:

“I just saw the Publishers Weekly review for A MAZE OF GRACE. And it’s fabulous!!! I’m shaking right now, all teared up & soggy. I hadn’t realized how nervous I was about this until I read the review (and then re-read it six or seven times). The relief is unbelievable.

“Here’s why: MAZE was a tough book to write. It’s super-personal, even more so than HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT. It’s real and raw and (in a few places) heartbreaking, even for me. But it’s also–like me–fun and funny, and a little absurd. Which was a weird balance in the midst of the process. Not to mention that life while I was writing was rather tumultuous, and my editors and I were adding and deleting scenes right up until the very last moment. By the time the book was finalized, I’d sort of lost touch with whether it was “good” or not, in the big-picture sort of way: Was it entertaining and encouraging…and something you’d want to give to all your friends? I hoped (and I certainly prayed) so. I’m tearfully grateful to report that he folks at Publishers Weekly say yes:

Ryan (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) returns with another spiritual memoir, bringing back her trademark wit, humor, and honesty. Her first book portrayed her journey toward love after a promise to take Jesus seriously; this sequel chronicles her spiritual and romantic life during the first five years of her marriage. Each chapter focuses on a unique struggle or revelation, from the joys and challenges of marriage to body image and politics; as a result, the book reads more like a compilation of short essays or long blog entries rather than one continuous narrative. Most admirably, Ryan, currently part of the pastoral staff of Vineyard Church, is able to present herself as a believing Christian who recognizes that spirituality can be both simple and complex, a universal experience that can be felt in an infinite number of ways. Ryan does not evangelize, instead humbly and humorously offering her own experience for interpretation. Readers of all faiths can enjoy this memoir for its humanity and its honest exploration of relationships and religion, showing how those two things can often intertwine. __Publishers Weekly

And, of course, there’s this praise:

“Trish Ryan is the rare writer who can range from the deepest questions of the soul to hilarious moments of everyday life…This engaging account of a spiritual journey will resonate with readers of all backgrounds.”
–Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project

Interested? Well now you can Browse Inside This Book.

Having read He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not and then following Trish’s life through her blog posts, I appreciated the Advance Reading Copy that Hachette Book Group sent. A Maze of Grace does not disappoint. In fact Publishers Weekly “got it” so right…and more.

Perhaps the book’s appeal is simply Trish. She is both honest and brave in revealing her faith, confusion, opinions and less than sterling homemaking attempts at cooking and cleaning. Yet she tries to find the right way or method.

Her talks with God are most impressive because — though a gentle, loving Father — He doesn’t allow Trish to whine or take the easy way out of a situation. While you may not believe and agree with His teachings or wonder why an intelligent adult woman — complete with a law degree — would believe and abide by seemingly archaic traditions, the fact IS that the author DOES. And she takes full responsibility for that course of faith.

This memoir begins after Trish and Steve’s wedding reception and follows in chronological order through their first few months of the “Honeymoon period.” After that it is a maze of dealing with “life happens.” However, through it all, there is communication with God and between each other. Also there is love.

In reading the post, Guest Trish Ryan on Your Life, Starring You!, you learn that the author doesn’t see herself as the main character in her books, instead “LOVE is the main character — that urge inside of us that keeps us looking and hoping for romantic partnership….” After reading both books, I disagree. Love could be considered the main characters in Trish’s books however it is SELF LOVE — the need within all of us to like ourselves, to be the best of ourselves, and to accept ourselves…that’s what the writer really finds along her way. And everyone can benefit from a good measure of that love found in A Maze of Grace: A Memoir of Second Chances and in our own lives.

IMPORTANT: Trish Ryan is offering a BOGOF plan until 11:59 p.m. tonight!

Here’s her plan:

“Buy a copy of A Maze of Grace before the official launch date of tomorrow, June 22nd.

Send a copy of your receipt (scanned store receipts count, too) to Trishryanonline AT Include your mailing address (no worries…I won’t use for any other purposes) and I’ll send you a FREE copy of my first book, HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT.”

Source: TRISH’S DISHES’ Tuesday, June 15, 2010 post, BOGOF.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Trish Ryan’s latest memoir, A Maze of Grace in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to possibly claim your book.

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