Forgiving Tess is a Christian romance that has a strong message for readers. The basis of the story is forgiveness—obviously—but there’s also insight on judgment, progression, and even true love. As a Believer, its easy to look at someone and judge their sins, especially when we think someone else’s mistakes are worse than our own. But Miller makes it clear that sin is sin: period. It doesn’t matter if you’re a liar and someone else is a murderer—both of you are equally guilty in God’s eyes.
As much of an emphasis as there is on forgiving others, there is also some light shined on how important it is for Christians to forgive themselves. I think sometimes we (Believers) get so consumed with repenting and feeling sorry that we don’t realize we are wallowing in guilt. Guilt is not from God, my friends, forgiveness and redemption are. Many people in Tess’s life tried to scare her or even threaten her by bringing up her past, there were even times where Tess seemed to be running from it herself, but there was a bigger picture here in the fact that you cannot escape your past but you don’t have to let it hold you hostage either.
Besides forgiveness, I think it was beautiful that we got to see Tess grow and develop as she learned to accept herself and her mistakes, but it was an even more wonderful journey seeing Josh open up and their romance unfold. Christian romance tends to be focused on a Believer bringing a sinner into the Kingdom—usually we see a kind young woman slowly shine some light and kindness onto a dashing unsaved man. It was refreshing to see the tables turned in this story. Not only was the story centered on two people who already had a relationship with Christ, but it gave some insight on how women may struggle in their relationships with man and God. Men aren’t always the ones who need a little more guidance and women aren’t always the ones who are perfect and pristine.
There were many different levels to this book, each one has its own message and meaning—if you’re willing to sit down and allow yourself to learn from someone else’s experiences, I think you might come to love this story. There is romance, mystery, hurt, and recovery all wrapped up in one—plus it stems from a Christian foundation, which is the cherry on top for me.
If you enjoy Christian fiction, romance, or contemporary novels I would highly recommend this book to you. You will not be disappointed.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*