This note brought me to tears. Good tears but tears, nonetheless. I asked her permission to share (absent her name) and she kindly agreed. When folks ask me what I hope my books accomplish...I can't really say it any better than this.
Dear Mr. Martin,
I'm so honored that you read my post. I read that book at a time when my heart and soul were fractured. I was in my local Christian bookstore (Cedar Springs Christian Store) and I bumped into my ObGyn, a dear friend who had delivered two out of my three children. A Christian brother, he recommended your book, Wrapped In Rain. They had it in paperback and I purchased it and there my story began. I read it in one sitting - began to weep when he spoke of the pain of watching his father hurt Miss Ella and my healing began. The way she endured pain and showed forgiveness and taught the boys what was right touched my heart.
I wish I could take this one chance to eloquently tell you how each book impacted me. To tell you the way I wept when I read the Dead don't Dance and realized what Amanda had endured to "Maggie", "When Crickets Cry" to all of the others. The Mountain Between Us was started unfortunately late in the evening, so I read the entire night, through the morning until I was finished. I have read all of them and own a copy of some, but my library has filled in the gaps. I've spent so much trying to find my peace, thinking it'd never be found. I am divorced and have known a heaviness that the darkness appeared light on my best day. But my life pales in comparison to those of the characters in your stories - God's stories - and through it all, they endured, they overcame and didn't get to quit or make excuses.
The common thread is that God healed another piece of me that was broken with every story thru every character and I had to read each book in one read. I cried in pain because their voice became my voice, their pain mine, and their triumph my victory.
There is so much that I want to say but I've written too much and I do truly respect your time, plus the roar of my children are making it difficult to write in complete sentences. In 72 hours, I will be 42 years old. I remember when I was in my 20s and thought I'd never have children or live to see 30. God probably has shaken His head a lot over my lamenting. I have three children, ages 14, 9, and 5, and am alive. It's not my life, but His that He allows me to live.
Thank you for sending me a signed copy of Wrapped. It will truly be a treasured piece of my "Charles Martin" collection, the cornerstone. Thank you for using your gift to God's glory. There is truly beauty and something to revere in the majesty of God in all things. He can be seen in the sunset over the Mississippi, in a sticky hug of a dirty-faced child, and in the words on a page that God used to combine the broken pieces of my life into beautiful art - a mosaic of sorts.
Blessings to you, your wife and your children. May the Lord smile upon you and yours, use you to His glory, keep you in His will, and use your stories to give hope to others who don't know the peace they can find in Him. God's peace to you.
To the precious reader who sent this to me -- May the God of Angel Armies, bless you, your children and all your hopes and dreams.