Rise and Shine By Sandra D. Bricker
Published By River North/Moody Publishers May 1, 2014
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Shannon Malone wakes from a coma ten years after a diving accident to find that nothing in her previous life is the same. Waking up to the news that she’s thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that her young groom, Edmund Ridgeway, recently lost his battle with cancer.
Shannon’s elderly aunts flit through her life, trying to save her from Millicent, Edmund’s evil sister, as she tries to bar Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway fortune. Shannon’s gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, becomes Shannon’s tour guide into a whole new world of madness, where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone’s life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cellphones!
Can Shannon navigate to a happy ending, even when her heart keeps asking, “Why, God?”
Oh, how fun it is to read modern re-tellings of favorite classic stories! There are many re-tellings of Sleeping Beauty out there to enjoy but this is the first I’ve read that kept the essentials and still had its own meaningful story to tell. Ms. Bricker succeeded in bringing me to both out-loud laughter and tears as I watched her Shannon journey this road to recovery. Having the story focus after “sleeping beauty” woke up was a new idea to me and one I found perfect for a more modern telling. Ms. Bricker carefully and skillfully handled the death of Shannon’s husband, Edmund, while she was in the coma and provided excellent friends and relatives to help her heal physically and emotionally. I loved that Ms. Bricker had a hero in the making with Daniel Petros, Shannon’s doctor throughout her coma who had become best friends with Edmund before he died. Daniel’s promises to Edmund in regards to Shannon were the initial way that Daniel spent time with Shannon but the duties quickly became less a chore and more of a special time. And Daniel’s joy and willingness to help Shannon navigate her new world was fun to read. Her amazement at the technology available with cell phones, tablets (“menu – thingys”) and television had me laughing aloud many times. Ms. Bricker also gave Shannon a “new identity” when she awoke – one that would allow her to find a purpose and way to serve others. Shannon was so lost when she awoke that she quickly became afraid of how she would manage to find a job in a field she hadn’t worked in for 10 years. Ms. Bricker provided one for her in cooking – something the old Shannon never liked or attempted beyond freezer meals. I really liked that Ms. Bricker also gave her an opportunity to use her new found gifts to serve others in that she would provide meal service for families at the Draper care center she had lived in as well as serving free meals outside local homeless shelters. And Shannon’s desire to help others was a catalyst for Daniel to explore ways for him to give back as well. But their romance was by far the best part of this book. Both Shannon and Daniel have their reasons for holding back from a relationship but both have a desire for more than friendship. Daniel had slowly fallen in love with Shannon from the time he became her main caregiver after Edmund’s death. And his love only becomes stronger as he gets to know Shannon as she recovers. But he is afraid she is still in love with Edmund, as to her it has only been a few weeks since she got married, in spite of the 10-year coma. Daniel also finds further confirmation to repress his feelings when he speaks with Shannon’s therapist who tells him his interest may confuse Shannon. Shannon on the other hand is finding out that as much as she apparently loved Edmund in the past, she can’t quite remember him and their relationship. She is determined to move on with her life and while she’s at it she will have to decide if she still trusts God to take care of her – despite all the time and love she has lost. Ms. Bricker’s resolution of their relationship was pretty good – but I liked Shannon’s reconciliation with God best. Her rediscovery of her faith was raw and real and I could almost feel her desire for Him to become the only One on whom should place her dependence and trust. And this faith would be what sustains her through her heart troubles. I couldn’t give this book the 5 stars I wanted to in the beginning because I just felt the end of the book was too sudden. Shannon and Daniel had finally admitted their feelings for each other but Daniel is leaving for a 3 month stint in Africa as a missionary doctor.Ms. Bricker didn’t have anything afterwards abut his return or where they go from there. I would have preferred a more complete ending instead of one that left the future to the imagination of the reader – I always have problems with books that do that. But I will say that there was so much about this book I loved that I will definitely be keeping this one around to re-read. One of the funnies I loved in the book came from her Aunt Mary: Each time Shannon remembered a person, a skill or a memory she would quietly exclaim “Yipee!” I love that Ms. Bricker gave Shannon such a quiet but steady cheerleader to help her heal and recover memories enough to help her be confident in her future. I will certainly be recommending this book to others and might purchase copies for friends or family for Christmas. This book definitely goes on the keep and re-read shelf.
I received this book from River North/Moody Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.