One Last Thing

One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue (published by Thomas Nelson) is a story about secrets and hidden shame.

From the back cover:

One last thing“Tara had always imagined her happily ever after. But her fiancé’s secrets are changing this story into one she doesn’t even recognize.

Tara Faulkner and Seth Grissom grew up next door to each other in Savannah’s historic district. Their parents are best friends. They finish each other’s sentences all the time. Their fairy-tale wedding is a foregone conclusion … until Tara discovers another side to Seth three weeks before the wedding.

Reality has crashed in on Tara’s fairy tale–but hope will lead her to a future she couldn’t have planned for herself.”

I enjoyed this story. Perhaps it’s because I recently visited Savannah, so the setting was very real to me. Tara wanders the historic district, visiting coffee shops I visited. She plans her life in script, rehearsing the scenes in her head as she walks from square to square.

“The problem was, I hadn’t given him the script. He didn’t know the lines.”

Isn’t that the way it often is? We decide what we want, and how it’s going to happen–and when it doesn’t, we feel the sting of defeat and in this case, intense shame. It’s the exploration of shame that made me appreciate this book:

Was it just the pull Seth had on me to protect him from the shame that stalked him? Or the shame that followed me?”

That whole “make me hide because of something you did” thing has happened to me. I’m sure it’s happened to many of us. Someone has a secret–a horrible secret–and when we discover it, we are pulled into hiding as well. Their secret becomes ours because we love them. We borrow their shame and cloak ourselves in it.

When my nephew died by suicide, several of us felt shamed until we learned enough and healed enough to realize we didn’t have to. When my first marriage disintegrated, I couldn’t talk about it for the longest time because I felt the need to guard his secret, and consequently, to guard what became my own. It happens to abused children and spouses, to relatives of criminals, and in some way, to all of us. Shame can defeat us if we let it.

“Unless you love someone,” e.e. cummings once said, “nothing else makes sense.” In this compassionate story, Nancy Rue reminds us that even when we love someone, the world can be a dark and confusing place. Empathy and shame are not the same thing. Forgiveness and trust are not the same either. She focuses on how love endures all things, even though the script we had in our heads may not play out in the real world.

And sometimes, we’re all the better for it.


One Last Thing is the third collaboration for Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue. Previously, they released The Merciful Scar and Sarah’s Choice.

 

2 thoughts on “One Last Thing

  1. Crystal, I can’t tell you how much that means. YOU GOT IT. You saw the core message, which goes beyond the subject matter Tara, the protagonist, deals with. And as always, you expressed it so beautifully. You must be a writer yourself … Thank you.

    Nancy

    1. Nancy, thanks for this message. If I am a writer myself–then it’s because I’ve had some very good teachers.

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