The subject of infertility has always been near and dear to my heart. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched close friends and family members struggle with it.  Maybe it’s because of a small white casket.  Maybe it’s just something God planted in my heart.

I used to be on the fence about abortion, but, like the tide coming into my heart, I grew into a greater appreciation of what it really meant.  Now, abortion — and especially its effect on women and families — is also very near and dear to my heart.  I have a hard time discussing it, though, without sounding like a crazed fool or a sobbing idiot.

I’ve never had an abortion, though, and I’ve never struggled with infertility.  I keep coming back to this, saying it to myself.  Why are these two items — abortion and infertility, infertility and abortion — so important to me?  Why do I care so much?  Why are they special concerns I keep in my prayers?

rain-dance-coverWhen I received my copy of Rain Dance, by Joy Dekok, I started to question why I had thought a novel combining two things so close to my heart would be fun to read.  The cover asks, “Can two women grieving infertility and an abortion forge an uncommon friendship?”  Though the blurb had looked enticing, I was not so sure I’d enjoy this novel.  It was hitting me a little too close to home, and I hadn’t gotten past the cover.

I shouldn’t have worried.  Rain Dance is a well-told story of two women who become close friends.  Jonica’s painful struggle with infertility and Stacie’s impulsive decision to have an abortion bring them together, and then bring them together again.  Amazingly, a friendship is born.

This book spoke to my feminine heart.  In the story of a friendship forming and strengthening, I couldn’t help but think of my own friends.  They are those women who support me when I need it, who send me notes of encouragement out of the blue, who hug me when I find myself crying.  They cheer for me, over silly stuff like trying a new recipe, and they put up with my long and rambling (and usually silly) voice mails.  My close girlfriends (there are two or three of them) are an important faith foundation for me too; they are the voice of God, so often, in the crises of everyday life.  In their example, I find inspiration and motivation.

I enjoyed Jonica’s Christian witness, though I found some of it a little far-reaching — that may be a result of my own approach to faith and not the author’s storytelling, though.  I related with Stacie’s cynicism and longing, and found myself smiling at her — I think we had (and have) a lot in common, this character and I.  DeKok uses a back-and-forth first person narrative to tell the story, which was interesting, though I found myself confused with some of the retelling; it’s a little different than some of the other books I’ve read using this style.

DeKok uses her story to educate readers about the realities of both abortion and infertility, and in doing so, she weaves them together in a way that I thought was very well done.  Her characters are people I felt like I knew, and I found myself sort of sorry the book was over — one of the highest compliments I have for a writer.

I’ll be passing my copy along, I’m sure.  It’s not the kind of book you shelve, but the kind you share. Would you like your own copy of Rain Dance? Leave a comment on this post, and on Saturday, I’ll pick a random winner.  You have to have a U.S. or Canadian shipping address, please.

Fine print: I received this book as a review copy, which means it was someone else’s money that purchased it.  However, this review was written as I try to write all my reviews — my opinion and nothing more.  There was never an agreement that I say only nice things.  Just so you know.

Update: Congratulations to Jen at Happy Little Homemaker, who won the giveaway!