Just the Way You Are (GOSPA Journeys, Vol. 2)
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Pages: 80
Goes Well With: Fresh-baked bread and butter with a mug of fresh-brewed coffee

Shane was brought up to believe in love at first sight—his father and mother fell in love as soon as their eyes met. But Noelle’s not even sure that she wants to be seen, and the fact that Shane sees her scars and knows that he could operate to heal them really doesn’t help. She’s come to Valselo for a new beginning, a chance to be more than just a wounded soul. And Shane, the surgeon, has come to make other people whole—not Noelle, and not himself. Of course, those who come here can find themselves healed in different ways than they expect. And the message of Our Lady, calling pilgrims to God, just might be specially dictated for Shane and Noelle.

Noelle wants a miracle of inner healing, and Shane offers surgery. Meanwhile, K. M. Daughters’s second Gospa Journeys story, Just the Way You Are, offers readers the quietly wise teaching and prayers of visionaries and pilgrim leaders, with gentle human friendship and concerns. As one character explains while looking at a frightening slope that she climbs in pilgrimage, “I never have to walk alone.” In this novel, those who are the loneliest and the most inclined to feel rejected learn the same lesson. And if God can love us, scars and pride and all, why shouldn’t someone else?

The Croatian scenery is beautiful, and the characters are generously described. The conflict and pain of misunderstanding are as real here on a pilgrimage as they are in any town or home or place of love. “Miracles come from God, not doctors,” says wise Anna, and the miracles we most need aren’t always the ones we think we’re looking to give or to receive.

Just the Way You Are reminds readers of God’s love, and it also tells a beautiful story, set in a lovely place, ringing to the sound of the rosary’s mysteries. It’s a story of faith, hope, and love, with a beautiful message, all packed in a precious white rose.

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