The Gray Season

The Summer of Salvation

Fiction - Inspirational
260 Pages
Reviewed on 12/04/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Dianna Donnely is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest who grew up on the Northern Oregon coast and currently resides in the Portland area. "The Gray Season" was inspired by real life events and the never-ending search for an understanding of life’s purpose, and the pursuit of a path to filling that emptiness in the soul that only the love of God can provide.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)
We all just want a life that matters!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely is not only a story about how the death of two family members only a few weeks apart caught two families completely off guard, but it records the wonderful guidance and nurturing that took place within the lives of those closest to them. Lily Eastbrook Rhodes' story shows how, at each turn, there was another “God Thing” or “Open Door” that led from one seemingly impossible event to another; and how each of those things added up to not only healing for the family, but healing for individuals as well. The events that take place bring Lily out of the high stress corporate world and back to her childhood hometown and ultimately to the "Shop of Her Dreams." Though the healing improves the lives of the individuals and of Lily in particular, there is an ultimate healing; a healing for the emptiness inside that has plagued Lily since she was a child.

“We will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1, New Living Translation).” As the story of Lily Eastbrook Rhodes unravels in this inspired story of her family, the reader will come to realize that the things we see falling into place as we go through open doors are those things which God has been building for us in His Kingdom. Honest, compelling and inspiring; The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation is a marvelously written chronicle of how those things which seem to be the end of our happiness turn out to be our deliverance.

Anne Boling

The Gray Season: The summer of Salvation written by Dianna Donnely is a novel offering encouragement in a time of loss. Lily expected perfection from herself. The stress of reaching for perfection brought on multiple health problems, growing numerous tumors in various parts of her body. Lily Marie Eastbrook Rhodes found her life changing in 2004 when her father, Nick, was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. In the midst of the Eastbrook drama came the news that Lily’s mother in law, Maggie, had cancer. Nick and Maggie passed away only twenty days apart. After loss comes the time of mourning, a time of dealing with emotions and changes in life. The most important change in Lily’s life was her introduction to Jesus Christ. She’d always thought of him as a wise man with a message but Priscilla, a new friend, explained what it means to be a Christian. “He is not just some man who was wise. He is the son of God. A Christian is a believer in Jesus Christ and His teachings, someone who is transformed by the spirit of God, not just someone who says yes to a set of beliefs or goes into a church.”

The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation is an inspiring book. While it deals with death, grief and change it also offers hope of salvation. Dianna Donnely is a talented author. I quickly connected with Lily, Priscilla and Ryan. I admired the way Lily and Ryan were there for each other through their pain and loss. They were also supportive in each other’s career. I also found it heartwarming the way Lily reacted when Ruby began to date again. One of the lessons to be learned from this tale is that material objects hold little meaning or gratification. The author has provided scripture at the end of each chapter. Her ending words will stay with me for a very long time: “You don’t want to miss your miracles when they occur. Be sure your heart is open and you are actively seeking God, and that you honor Him each and every day.” I highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with loss and change. You might just miss a blessing if you miss this tale.

Melinda Hills

The passing of a parent is something that everyone must face, but few are well-equipped to handle the emotions that arise. Dianna Donnely has provided wonderful insight into the process of grief and coping with the devastation of loss in her book The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation, a fictional account of Lily Eastbrook Rhodes. Lily and her husband Ryan are confronted with the almost simultaneous diagnosis of cancer affecting both her father and his mother and spend almost one year trying to make the remaining time with their parents memorable and meaningful. Throughout the ordeal, Lily is searching for a deeper meaning in her life – a way to fill a hole that she can’t quite identify or understand. Through the acknowledgement of ‘Open Door’ moments where she allows herself to be led to do the right thing at the right time, Lily gets closer to knowing that God has a plan for her – all she has to do is to accept Jesus and have faith.

The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely offers gentle encouragement to anyone to open their heart to the love and comfort of Salvation through Jesus. Appropriately titled, The Gray Season represents a time in a person’s life when things seem bleak. Through quiet acceptance of heartache and heartfelt appreciation for the blessings in life, Lily is able to make peace with her circumstances by admitting true faith in God and accepting Jesus as her Savior. This book is wonderfully written without preaching. It serves as a suggestion and an invitation that anyone can follow to achieve a sense of purpose and peace, no matter what life has to offer.

Jean Hall

Lily's spiritual journey has many twists and turns but somehow she keeps an open heart. Dianna Donnely's, The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation, describes grim health challenges along with charming and heartwarming moments. The wistful, gray painting of a cloudy day on the shore sets the scene for quiet reflection. Lily has been to church as she grows up but she has always wanted to know more. "I'd always felt I believed in God, I simply had no idea how to experience His Presence." She has been on a stressful, corporate career path since moving to the big city. Then Lily's father, "Iron Nick," is diagnosed with cancer and the family pulls together. Lily and her husband go back to the small, quirky town of Beachville, Oregon. The couple renovates the large, historic River Rock House in the process. She even opens a shop in town that features organic cotton clothing called Calla Lilies.

Dianna Donnely shows Lily responding to difficult circumstances with courage and humanity. Bible verses punctuate emotional milestones in an artful way. She promotes a healthy, organic diet for her family members in the book. I liked the description of the tangy, chicken stir-fry the best. She even includes a recipe for wholesome and hearty vegetable soup along with healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely gives humble testimony to Lily's spiritual awakening. I'll be looking forward to her next book in the series called The Yellow Season: A Rainbow Revelation.

Mamta Madhavan

The Gray Season - The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely is a compelling novel. Lily loses her father to cancer. She and her husband have to help her mother overcome the loss and they go through the healing process together. The healing process fills the void in her heart that has been plaguing Lily for a long time and it gives the answers to questions that have been bothering her for a while. The book justifies the color in the title through the narration. The book is dedicated to the author's father and mother-in-law, whose deaths change her perspective on life.

I would suggest this novel for those who are undergoing loss in their lives and are struggling to come to terms with it. The spiritual support in the book is given by passages quoted from the Bible throughout the story. That makes the story more uplifting. Though the story has many ups and downs, it slowly winds up in a positive ending where Lily is at peace with herself after battling her inner demons. Readers can relate to the author's emotional turmoil and anxieties.

The author shows us how to find inner peace through her experiences. The metaphorical effect of the color of the gray season lingers throughout the story, which flows well. This book is the first of a series. The story will help readers meet challenges and problems head-on and handle things in a positive way, finally finding the much needed peace they seek. A spiritually uplifting story that can be a guide during times of pain and loss.