Book Review: “Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss”

Editor’s note:  This review is part of our series on Reading to Enhance Mental Health and Well Being.

Book cover of Seeking Solace. Amy Bovaird, author, is standing in snow field against a backdrop of trees holding her hands in the air

Forget the old adage that says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” The cover of VisionAware Peer Advisor Amy Bovaird’s third book could indeed be judged by its cover, and the assessment would most likely be correct. Her book, Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss, shows the petite author dressed for winter and surrounded by a snowy wooded landscape. Hands raised and smiling broadly, Amy looks to the sky as the snow comes down. Done in classy colors of black, white, and gray, with just a splash of red, the reader gets the impression of “Come what may, I will choose joy.” As you journey along, you find out how Amy arrived at her optimistic outlook, despite multiple losses.

Layout of the Book

The book is arranged in a devotional format, but reads like a memoir. Forty-five devotions are divided into three sections. Each short entry begins with a Scripture verse and ends with a prayer. Amy’s story is written in short scenes, making for an easy read. As a bonus, ten delicate sketches accompany some devotions and give the flavor of the story. For example, in the entry, “Serving Egyptian Tea,” a detailed sketch of an ornate tea tray— complete with pot, cups, sugar bowl and sweets—alludes to a foreign adventure.

Timeline of the Book

The timeline of the book follows Amy’s ten-year stint as a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) in the United Arab Emirates. The stories are deeply personal, yet also relatable. Loss comes to all. But Amy’s message is a gentle reminder that God is in the broken, and He is in the business of healing hearts, no matter what.

Genesis of the Book

Seeking Solace was born from a question Amy often receives at speaking engagements. “How do you face each day with joy and confidence when you’re losing more of your vision all the time?” Amy has retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited retina disease. With a very narrow field of vision, daily living with RP can be beyond challenging. The questions people asked began to make Amy wonder for herself: How did she arrive at her positive approach?

Years of God’s faithfulness came to mind. Amy recalled her time abroad and the challenges of child loss, divorce, and her father’s cancer. A quote from the book sums it up this way: “God catches our losses in freeze-frame moments. He allows us to see an event and experience the memories picture by picture. But when we focus on each photograph, His image is clearly visible within the borders.” Losses and the messy emotions that result may be more common than we would like; however, when viewed through the lens of faith and gratitude in God’s provision, they provide a steppingstone to fulfilling our purpose. Keeping that perspective—along with a sense of humor—provides growth. In the writing of Seeking Solace Amy says she experienced a degree of healing. She hopes readers feel the same as they allow the tender words of her book to penetrate their hearts.

Seeking Solace is available through Amazon in text and audio format.

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