A Journey by Chance by Sally John

Friday, August 12, 2011

About the book:
Publisher: Harvest House
Source: Purchase
Publish Date: 2008 (re-release), 2002 (first printing)
Author: Sally John
Series: The Other Way Home - Book 1
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Dr. Gina Philips leaves behind the big-city comforts in California to attend a family wedding with her mother in the small Illinois town her mother grew up in. Suffering from wounds that have yet to heal – both physically and emotionally, Gina just wants to escape her past for the extended period of time she will be residing at her great-aunts home. Her plan backfires when she instantly clashes with the town’s local (and only!) celebrity Brady – who is a well-known author. Just as Gina begins to feel somewhat at ease, a secret from her mother’s past is revealed leading to more questions than answers. 

Review: this is the only series that I’ve read by John and while it is simple in its story lines and writing, A Journey by Chance is, nevertheless, touching. Oddly enough I did have a really difficult time getting into the story. Setting it in a rural Midwest town lends some charm although it also inevitably leads to a slower pace, clich├ęd sayings and out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-small-town pleasures (like enjoying the great outdoors). Gina is aghast at the simplicity the residents of Valley Oaks go about their day. Where is the Starbucks? Or a restaurant that serves a decent meal? Add in the nuisance that nearly everyone knows everyone else’s business and Gina’s perception of the town isn’t kind. When she arrives, she is not a Christian and it’s the stay in Valley Oaks that ultimately not only changes her heart, but how she sees life.  

Her journey towards Christianity is a heartfelt change, and the author effortlessly weaves humor and some beautiful convictions into the story. The characters aren’t all that complicated, but the trials they go through to become better people are realistic and therefore I was able to relate to them. Gina feels unworthy to be considered an equal to Brady, even as a new Christian because of her past – one she felt guilt-ridden over. Similarly, although he is a Christian surrounded by a wonderful support system through family and friends who has deep-rooted beliefs, Brady discovers he has a lot to learn through Gina’s friendship. His past has a few skeletons – some of which he doesn’t share with Gina when he should as their friendship blossoms. By knowing her, he is able to open his heart again and although he experiences frustration at her guilt, he also cares so much for her, he steps back and lets her pursue her dream. Also woven into the mix is a subplot involving Gina’s parents who are also re-examining their marriage (the trials) and love for one another (or lack thereof). It too is approached with touching and caring sentiments.

A Journey by Chance is a story of four people looking into their hearts and examining what is most important in life. The results are special and unfold in a typical romantic-comedy dash to reunite the couple – and involving a police car, too! If you want to know how that plays out – check out the book.


  1. Just bought Books #1 to #4 and finished A Journey by Chance and enjoyed it.
    New Follower

  2. I remember enjoying this series, overall. There were a couple I liked less but I thought book #4 was fabulous! Hope you enjoy the rest, Paula!

    Thank you SO much for the follow - I hope you visit often. :-)


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