Test of Faith Book Review

I recently had the opportunity to read and review a rather unique memoir.  Most of our readers probably know that memoirs are my favorite genre--alongside true crime or mystery novels and faith based novels.  This memoir takes a very heartfelt look into a mother/daughter story that combines all of the above into one work.  Before reading this memoir, I had not heard of the Lacey Hirst Pavek case nor any of the circumstances surrounding the family or the murder-for-hire trial.  What did I think of Test of Faith by Bonnie S. Hirst?

“Test of Faith: Surviving My Daughter’s Life Sentence”
Bonnie S. Hirst | Sept. 24, 2019 | She Writes Press
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63152-594-0 | Price: $16.95

*I received an advance release copy of this book for use in my review. All opinions are my own.

About the Book

Ten years after her daughter was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in a murder-for-hire case, Bonnie S. Hirst is sharing her family’s story for the first time. She Writes Press will publish “Test of

Hirst is a woman of faith who has always believed that everything in life works out for the best. So, when her daughter, Lacey, was accused of a terrible crime, Hirst was convinced that God would protect her family from harm. But when Lacey was sentenced to life in prison without parole, Hirst questioned every aspect of her existence – her beliefs, her role as a mother, and the purpose behind the events that tore her family apart.

In “Test of Faith,” Hirst shares the story of her family as they navigated the labyrinth of the legal system. She struggled with the fa├žade of being okay on the outside and screaming for air on the inside. And it also shares her spiritual journey, discovering the rewards that come from asking for help and the blessings that exist even in the most heart-wrenching circumstances. You just need to keep your heart open enough to receive them.

“A friend shared this quote and it guides my life currently: ‘One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome a difficult path in life, and it will be become a part of someone else’s survival guide,’” Hirst says. “The highest compliment I can imagine for my book is that it becomes a guidepost for others going through desperation.”

My Review

The Author Tells Her Real Story. The author referenced Faith and Prayer and God often through the pages of this book--and did not sugar coat the times when she doubted herself and her strength. She prayed and sought God's guidance always. She found herself questioning, not God, but her power in prayer when God's Plan sent her family in a different direction than she prayed. I cannot say whether the author's daughter is guilty or innocent of the crimes for which she was convicted. However, I can say that Bonnie's story will pull the heart from readers' chests as the memoir unfolds. I cried as the author told her family's story. I held hope with her throughout the pages--and I understood so many of her emotions and experiences. The author writes in a very relatable, down to Earth manner. She shares even those judgemental, doubtful moments that challenged her Faith and her world as she knew it.

Test of Faith is a Mother's Story. As a mother of three daughters, I cannot imagine enduring the situation that the author suffered while keeping her grace and strength. Again, I am not taking sides against the justice system or the victim and her family as the case was circumstantial yet plausible to a reasonable jury. However; the memoir shares a mother's love and a mother's pain and a mother's Faith from start to finish.

Would I Recommend Test of Faith by Bonnie S. Hirst? If you enjoy faith-based memoirs and true crime novels--this is a must-read. I am sure that the victim's family has an emotional story to tell as well--but, I do not have that story in my hands. For those interested in reading a raw account of the family and friends surrounding a person convicted and sentenced to life for a violent crime--this story will hit home on many levels. Parents face a lot of responsibility in life.  When life goes as planned--there are certain rewards.  When life throws some curves, with drugs, infidelity, and behaviors--parents face blame, self doubt, pain and heartache.  While I cannot know if the author's daughter is innocent--and I feel for the victim and her family in this case too--the author tells a story that readers will hold onto long after the last page.

Buy the Book

About the Author

Bonnie S. Hirst is the author of “Test of Faith: Surviving My Daughter’s Life Sentence” (She Writes Press, Sept. 24, 2019). She loves feel-good movies and stories with happy endings. After a 35-year hiatus from writing during which time she was busy being a mom and grandma, she is enjoying connecting with other writers. When life tries to shorten her stride, she prays, cries, talks with her guardian angels, reads self-help books, and writes. She can often be found kayaking on a calm mountain lake.
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