In Sincerely, Mayla—the heartwarming sequel to Just As I Am—Mayla Strong’s life is starting to seem normal. She has been working at the same job for four years, living with a good friend, and enjoying a deep relationship with God. But when Mayla is suddenly laid off, she learns the hard way that things aren’t always what they seem. One disappointment after another drops into her lap: her budding relationship with her pastor, Paul, turns out to be less than she has hoped; her friend Stuart refuses to talk to her; and Lindsey—the younger sister of her late friend Alex—calls her in a panic looking for a place to stay. Mayla decides to take advantage of her newfound “vacation time” and sets out for Florida. She hopes to spend a few quiet days visiting her aunt and grandmother, but one by one her problems catch up with her. Mayla comes face-to-face with the responsibilities and joys of friends and family. As Mayla tries to help her friends, she realizes that God has all the answers—the trick is letting go long enough to let Him prove it.
My Review: Mayla Strong is a new creation in Sincerely, Mayla, and it makes me wonder what she was like in the first book, Just As I Am. I want to read that one now. I imagine her with many tattoos and piercings, which I see a lot of in the town where I live, struggling to find her way to Christ in a world where Christians don’t look like her.
Kudos to Virginia Smith for tackling characters and topics that most writers would rather ignore. The author has an easy going and fun loving voice—or at least her character, Mayla, does. She sounds like she has a southern accent. I’m from Texas so I project my Texas accent into the characters in this story–especially Mayla’s mother–but I’m sure Kentuckians must sound different than Texans! I didn’t know you could go that far north (Kentucky) and still get a southern accent. But it did make me miss Texas—the friendly state.
Smith has a way of taking everyday events–such as Mayla’s newfound pet rabbit–and weaving them into a tapestry of fun-loving characters who feel like real people with real problems. I especially love happy endings and though I wasn’t completely convinced that in real life, things would end so well (I don’t want to spoil the ending for those who haven’t read) I’m still glad the book ended as it did. I read so that I can escape on an adventure, and I expect to shed tears and sigh with satisfaction at the end (real life or not). Virginia Smith delivered this for me with Sincerely, Mayla.
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Virginia Smith is a writer of humorous novels, a speaker, a snow skier, a motorcycle enthusiast, and an avid scuba diver. Since leaving her twenty-year profession as a corporate director, she has written numerous books, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and Stuck in the Middle (Revell, February 2008). An energetic speaker, she loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truth in Star Trek.”