The Best We’ve Been
by Beth K. Vogt
Series: Thatcher Sisters #3
Published by Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date May 5, 2020
Genres: Christian Fiction, Woman's Fiction
Setting: Colorado, North Carolina Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 35-60, 25-34
Written for: Adults
How can you choose what is right for you when your decision will break the heart of someone you love?
Having abandoned her childhood dream years ago, Johanna Thatcher knows what she wants from life. Discovering that her fiancé was cheating on her only convinces Johanna it’s best to maintain control and protect her heart.
Despite years of distance and friction, Johanna and her sisters, Jillian and Payton, have moved from a truce toward a fragile friendship. But then Johanna reveals she has the one thing Jillian wants most and may never have―and Johanna doesn’t want it. As Johanna wrestles with a choice that will change her life and her relationships with her sisters forever, the cracks in Jillian’s marriage and faith deepen. Through it all, the Thatcher sisters must decide once and for all what it means to be family.
I would like to thank Netgalley, Tyndale House Publishers for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Also in this series: Things I Never Told You, Moments We Forget
Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster!
Having read the previous books in The Thatchter Sisters series, I had already formed an opinion of Johanna. Harsh. Rigid. Driven. Selfish. Closed off. Not exactly my favorite of the girls. Now I was able to find out why.
Confession time! Despite the prologue telling what happened when she was a child and had been so hurt by her parents, I didn’t love Johanna right away. And I doubt I was supposed to. But don’t worry, by the conclusion my feelings towards her warmed up. She still isn’t my favorite sister but I do have high hopes for her now.
I’ve discovered that as I read books by Beth K. Vogt, I feel like she has been eavesdropping on my conversations with my sisters! The struggles these women have in their relationship with one another and in their perceptions of how their parents treated them when they were children are realistic and poignant. I probably relate best to Jillian, being the middle sister myself. I especially relate to the pain she experienced in learning Johanna’s secret as it mirrors similar struggles in my own life.
One of the things that struck me as I read is how so often our life choices are ones that if they are good for us, will hurt others. In getting my way, someone else has to concede. And while sacrifice in some circumstances is needed, it isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, the solution is coming to an agreement together.
As with the other stories in the series, The Best We’ve Been showed the lives and perspectives of all three sisters, though only Johanna’s was written in the first person. It was effective and less confusing than if all the perspectives were told that way.
New believers, Peyton and Jillian struggle with their faith when their lives haven’t automatically become perfect. Jillian certainly struggled with that the most. Married to an unbeliever who didn’t support her dream, she was crushed. Poor Geoff tried so hard to love her and understand yet his own pain kept him from supporting her as she needed.
Peyton’s husband Zach was a believer and like all good Christian husbands, brought her to a Bible study. Which should be a really good thing and yet this ended up being a major area of trouble for her. Feeling judged for what she didn’t know, afraid to speak for fear of looking stupid, she didn’t even tell Zach her struggles. There were some humorous moments when we saw her thoughts as she freaked out and tried to navigate this strange new world! These were some of my favorite moments.
Themes of trust and hope and family fill the pages of this touching story. While there were loose ends – not all the unbelievers became Christians, not all the relationships were healed – like in real life – the ending was satisfactory and appropriate. I would love to see more of what happens next and hope there will be another book that picks up their lives from here.