on My Mind (Tyndale House) by Susan May Warren is the fourth in
her Christiansen Family series. This novel follows the stories of Casper
Christiansen and the woman he is still in love with, Raina Beaumont. While it
stands alone as a complete story, reading the previous book in the series
provides additional background information on the characters.
Casper, recently jaded from an unsuccessful
archeological treasure hunt in Roatán,
returns to his hometown of Deep Haven after another rejection from Raina. He is
seeking peace and a way to prove himself to his family, having been the classic
“middle child”, always trying to fix everyone else’s situations but still
searching for his own place to belong. However, Raina is still constantly on
Raina has never had many people to rely on. Grace
Christiansen, Casper’s sister, has taken her in and encouraged her as she’s
dealt with an unexpected pregnancy. After she decides to give the baby up for adoption
to someone more prepared for motherhood, she is left with feelings of failure
and unworthiness. The true identity of her baby’s father complicates her relationship
with the Christiansens—especially Casper. While trying to escape and recover,
she finds herself house sitting back in Deep Haven. Her biggest challenge comes
when her job puts her in the path of Casper, a man she can’t seem to move
Warren uses antique letters and mementos to impart
wisdom and guidance to the characters, with a story from the past that
parallels life events of the main characters. Casper’s work at the local
historical society and Raina’s job with an antique store lead them to exploring
an estate of a local resident together. As they are brought together by various
circumstances, themes of forgiveness and sacrificial love play out in the
decisions they make.
Warren’s characters face realistic problems and
struggles through this story. As the characters grow, one lesson they learn is
that some people are placed in others’ lives in order to be a light for Christ.
Sometimes, no matter how much a person wants to fix a situation, he or she must
step back and allow God to work through them in an unexpected way to change
A small side story takes place along with Casper’s.
His older brother, Darek, is dealing with his responsibilities managing the
family resort and wrestling with being enough as a husband and father. A
returning reader would likely think it good to catch up with these characters.
Touching on Darek’s life again is a reminder that people’s stories are never
finished. They are not through growing and being molded by Christ, even after they
find a “happily ever after.”
One faithful trait of Susan’s stories is her
message and tie in with the story of Christ’s redemption. She beautifully
illustrates through her characters’ lives the sacrifice of Jesus, His
relentless pursuit of mankind, and His ready forgiveness and love. God’s love
is not showered on people because of their accomplishments, but because of
grace shown to them in brokenness.
Courtney Clark is a small-town girl from
Arkansas who loves Jesus, reading, photography, cooking, crocheting, and hot
tea (in any combination). When she’s not doing any of those things,
she’s working at her family’s restaurant or teaching at the
local community college. Catch up with her at her blog,
thegreenmockingbird.wordpress.com, or follow her on twitter @CameraCourt.