Never Say Never

Lisa Wingate
Bethany House

Reviewed by Cindy Loven

Wow, ever have one of those if anything can go wrong it will go wrong days?  Well Kai, and Donetta are both having that kind of a day or days.  Two unlikely candidates, a twenty seven year old young woman and a seventy year old auntie, to be traveling together. However a hurricane makes your choices of traveling partners change quickly, especially when your stranded during a hurricane evacuation.
Hurricane Glorietta was on her way to Perdida Texas.  Donetta Bradford, and her friends Imogene and Lucy are on their way to Perdida Texas too, to catch a cruise ship. This  huge hurricane, Glorietta  is changing everything.  Kai Miller, a cruise line employee awakes to find the hurricane shifted direction and the boat was moved during the night. With no way to get out of Perdida, except to drive her Microbus, loading up her landlord's dogs she heads out. A chance meeting with Donetta and her friends at a gas station on the way out of town, makes an impression on Kai. Finding Perdida in a state of evacuation  Donetta and the ladies turn around after filling the gas tank and head home.  Only a six hour drive home, but the stop and go traffic and the sitting in lines for hours cause them to run out of gas, Kai remembering seeing them as she was leaving town has mercy on them, and picks them up.  Thus begins the adventure of a lifetime.  A flat tire brings more trouble when there is no spare, and they are rescued by a large Creole man from the coast who is part of a evacuating church group, The Holy Ghost Church.  The adventure just keeps getting more exciting.

After a grand rescue by the men from Daily Texas, Donetta's home town, all the church members and Kai, find themselves there with a town gathering around them to show them hospitality, well most of the town.  A wonderfully written story with a theme of God's unconditional love, and forgiveness, this book will totally keep your interest.  This is the first book I have read from this author, but it wont be the last.  350 pages $US 14.99 5 stars

This book was provided by Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.

Book Summary and Short Interview with Lisa Wingate

About the Book:

Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the wind blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.

Interview Questions:

1. How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?

Some book ideas you search for, and some just blow in on the wind. For the past several years, dating back to Hurricane Katrina, we in Central Texas have been the recipients of massive hurricane evacuations. These massive exoduses of people, pets, and belongings are frightening, frustrating, challenging, and at times oddly wonderful. When so many are on the road seeking shelter, the worst, but also the best qualities of humanity come to the surface. Hurricane evacuations truly provide times when we ask the question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" In answering that question, we’ve enjoyed amazing moments of friendship and fellowship, family reunions, and chances to share a food and space with strangers from other parts of the country. We’ve traded stories and recipies, laughter and tears.

One thing we’ve learned about hurricanes, living here, is that the paths are never predictable. Storms waver, hesitate, speed up, slow down, and sometimes change course unexpectedly. Evacuations needs can change and develop quickly. What better way for the beauty shop girls to find their inner strength and to show Daily hospitality, than for their cruise plans to land them smack in the middle of a sudden and chaotic hurricane evacuation?

2. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)

There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas, in all its variety of cultures and landscapes, but, living in a small town, I have a particular affection for little bergs like Daily, where the coffee’s always hot, and a good slide of pecan pie can cure most ills. Having watched our little town mobilize to take in hurricane evacuees several times now, I’ve been reminded that sometimes the worst things that can happen bring out the best in people. Given the opportunity and faced with the need, regular people can rise to the occasion in amazing ways, as do the citizens of Daily in the book.

Some members of the Wingate family might also claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Daily, Texas. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you’ve got.

3. Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.

The most difficult part of working on Never Say Never was researching and reliving the devastation left behind on the Texas gulf coast last year after Hurricane Ike. While interviewing family members about their experiences during the evacuation and return, we shared laughter and quite a few tears. For those who have lived in southeast Texas all their lives, talking about familiar landmarks, heirlooms, and old family places that were washed away forever, knowing some things will never be the same, is both difficult and devastating. For those of us who have so many memories of family gatherings and vacations there, it’s hard to believe we’ll never visit the old places again.

4. Why is this book/story relevant today?

Despite our best-laid plans, we all experience storms in life—whether those storms be of a weather-related nature, or due to an illness, death, or in recent months, job loss and financial misfortune. When the parameters of life and our ability to control fate suddenly change, we’re confronted with our own helplessness and need to rely on other people and God. In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important to remember that we all have a common need and a common responsibility for each other and that without faith we really are alone in the storm.

About the Author:

Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched in Light, A Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.

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