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Betsy Kelleher
Beyond the Visible Edge

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

 As Betsy Kelleher struggles to accept God's will in the loss of a son, walking the dog becomes a spiritual pilgrimage. Within a peaceful, secluded field just beyond the edge of her mobile home community, she experiences God's intimate, healing presence. 

Walking her dog while reeling from the death of her adult son, Bob, Kelleher stumbled upon a wetland preserve. There, among the grasses, flowers, and solitude of what she would come to call her “healing place,” Kelleher felt her way toward processing her losses—of her son, her beloved terrier, her friend, and even a marriage. Kelleher opens up about her raw emotions and the experiences that led her to these contemplative walks on the wetland path, as well as the solace, healing, and renewed perspective she found there. She treats the prairie and her canine companion as gifts from God, seeing her journey as something of a pilgrimage in which she found the strength and peace to face traumatic loss.

Kelleher’s story is told with disarming frankness, aimed at Christian readers for whom the sentiments about seeking peace over grief in prayer and scripture, or in the conviction that God has a greater plan, will resonate. Kelleher describes herself throughout as a steadfast believer who dedicated herself to the Bible and prayer in order to maintain a relationship with–and to understand–God. The Arlington Wetlands of Illinois, which she calls a “‘Holy Land’ of weeds,” offered opportunity to deepen that connection, and she describes it with passion. Readers looking for answers from outside the faith, however, should seek elsewhere.

Kelleher’s genuine character and questions of faith will connect with believers. Her tone is earnest, thoughtful, and appreciative, and she writes with slow candor, suggesting the drift of mind of her walk, often meandering into deeper thought and capturing memories of a life well-lived. While grieving loss, she is simultaneously facing the reality of her own mortality, considering her fears and feeling gratitude surrounding her age. Beyond the Visible Edge makes clear on each page that she loves God, nature, family, dogs, and the life she has devoted to being a Christian.

Takeaway: On a wetland walking path, a grieving mother feels her way toward healing in this Christian memoir.

Great for fans of: Steve & Sharol Hayner’s Joy in the Journey, Gary Roe’s Shattered.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: A-
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Beyond the Visible Edge is a heartrending memoir about the delicate balance of life and the powerful role of God and nature when it comes to healing. The book is honest and reiterates the presence and soothing power of God...a unique perspective on life and death...and the healing energy of nature...for all those readers who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. The author's journey--learning to deal with her grief with the help of her dog, and through God and nature--will give hope to many others who are on the same path. A source of inspiration and strength to many readers who are grieving.

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite