Of Stillness and Storm

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Of Stillness and Storm

Of Stillness and Storm (Thomas Nelson, December 2016)

“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

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Reviews

  • Calluna says:

    In a nutshell:
    Enjoyed it
    Related to struggles and characters
    Underlined some cool quotes
    Wished there was a sequel
    Be careful reconnecting with old boyfriends on Facebook

  • Author Michele Phoenix left me heartbroken, dismayed, and amazed as I came to the final page of her new release, Of Stillness and Storm. Aptly titled, but in an unexpected way, this is not your typical missionary story. The last time I was both moved and troubled in this way was after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible.

    The prose in this book is lovely, the images exquisitely crafted. The themes hit home—not always in a good way—in that she exposes the vulnerabilities that exist in all of us when our needs are not being met, and what happens when we chase after rainbows, other gods, or what might have been.

  • Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix is by far the most interesting Christian love story I have read in awhile. It is a love story between a man and his wife. It reads so true to life I had to recheck to make sure it was fiction which it most certainly is.

  • Of Stillness and Storm is powerful and moving. It gives us an intimate look into the lives of those who gave up everything to help others – the good, the bad and the ugly. We also see the effects these decisions have upon the most innocent individuals – the children of these families. A definite must read

  • Days at Home says:

    This book wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I was expecting a story about a woman struggling with infidelity, but instead it was about the unraveling of a missionary family. I felt a lot of sympathy for the main character, Lauren. She really wanted her marriage to work. The struggles she was having broke my heart. There were so many red flags she chose to ignore about the man she was married to. I also felt badly for her son who never really wanted to go to the mission field in the first place.

  • Michele’s writing style is absolutely beautiful and draws the reader in for a delightful trip through heartache, joy, and celebration. I was captivated from start to finish.

  • Of Stillness and Storm by Michéle Phoenix was a good book. I did find that it was kind predictable in the sense that I have read enough books in this genre that I pretty much knew what was going to happen but even with that being so I still really enjoyed this book and the authors writing.

  • This is a very well written book though a hard-on-the-heart story to delve into.

  • Phoenix has created a troubled missionary family working in Nepal. I did not like any of the major characters and felt they themselves caused much of their missionary trouble. Unfortunately, their thirteen year old son was caught up in the struggle and suffered. This is a portrayal of one family and the difficulties they experienced.

  • This was a very thought provoking read. A story of family and missions. In true Phoenix style you will be turning pages until the very end.

  • This book was so sad to me. It was really troubling to see this family being twisted and pulled based on the calling that the father felt he had. It was sad to see Lauren feel like she had to lean on a friend she hadn’t spoken to in 20 years rather than her husband. It was torture to see the loneliness and hopelessness in the son that no one else seemed to notice. I think the book was really well written, and it was probably quite realistic, and maybe that’s what bothered me so much about it.

  • The author’s own growing-up experiences as a missionary kid (MK) lend a credibility to Of Stillness and Storm that enhances its depth and takeaway value. Had Phoenix not lived and breathed missions work herself, I don’t think the book would have nearly the strength and powerful message that it does. Phoenix’s heart for MKs shines through, and the result is admirable. A worthy read; its message deserves to be shared, heard, and discussed globally.

  • ​I admire Lauren for her courage and ​diligence not to mention her outlook while living in a place that is far less than what she is used to. Her heart is set on fulfilling her purpose and though it is difficult she presses forward while trying to be a good mother to a teenage son who does not want to be there. This is an encouraging story of endurance and love. I enjoyed it very much.

  • Following31 says:

    I enjoyed this book for its rawness and good writing. Phoenix paints a vivid picture of what world missions can be like for those who give up almost everything in order to reach the lost for Christ.

  • Whoa…this one surprised me. As someone with many connections to missionaries and missions-minded people, this novel’s premise intrigued me deeply. I looked forward to the insights it promised into that lifestyle. I expected an eye-opening, entertaining read, which it was. I did not, however, expect it to go where it did, or to explore real-world scenarios with such depth of insight, compassion, and gut-wrenching honesty.

  • Of Stillness and Storm is by a new-to-me author- Michele Phoenix. It was poignant and moving. I was immediately drawn in to the life of Lauren who is an excellent character, very well developed. I found myself thinking of her and wondering about the book when I wasn’t reading it- the true sign of an excellent book and compelling characters.

  • Thank you, Ms Phoenix, for this very touching story. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  • Books,Dreams,Life says:

    This was an enjoyable read but it was also an emotional read as well.

    This story will grab your attention and keep turning the pages. Make sure you have a box of tissues as well when you read this. This shows us how much God really does love us and how close he is to us.

  • I could not put this book down and was invested from the very beginning! There is something for all of us to learn from Sam and Lauren’s journey about the things we allow to become idols in our lives. Haunting and emotional, Of Stillness and Storm is not to be missed!

  • Michele Phoenix’s Of Stillness and Storm is a must read for anyone considering going into, or already in full time ministry. The book’s primary focus is a family serving as missionaries in a foreign country. However, the sad truths hidden beneath the guise of fiction carry over into the realities of any form of ministry.
    The author keeps readers intrigued via smooth transitions between present day circumstances and glimpses into past situations that help shape the situations in which the characters currently find themselves. As the reader gets better acquainted with Sam, Lauren, and their son, Ryan, one cannot help but sense the storm brewing.
    Of Stillness and Storm definitely makes one stop to consider the cost of being a missionary.

  • Of Stillness and Storm was a difficult read because of the emotional turmoil faced by the characters. In some ways, I forgot this was a work of fiction. It just seemed so realistic. Though you may think it’s going to be an overly evangelistic book due to the family’s lifestyle, it is truly a book about one’s choices in life—and how those choices impact others.

  • I was immediately attracted to this novel. From its poetic title to its symbolic book cover and book description. My instincts were right. Of Stillness and Storm is full of depth, rich in character with an expat and missionary setting that pulls you in from the first page and doesn’t let go until the last page, leaving you spent with conflicting emotions.

  • I really enjoyed this book. The story starts quickly and does a good job with setting up the characters and their situation in the first few chapters instead of dragging on over most of the book (that drives me crazy!!!). The story is very believable of what would happen to a family in that type of situation of isolation and insecurity.

  • Carol Cool says:

    A compelling story. I had to know what Lauren would choose, if her family would survive.

    It provides a thought-provoking challenge to parents in or headed toward ministry. It also serves as a sobering reminder to pray deeply for those in ministry and especially for their families.

    I do wish Sam was a bit less one-dimensional—so dogged in the pursuit of his passion that he ignored warnings from his wife, his child, his church leadership. The book serves as a cautionary tale for those who insist on going it alone into ministry without a mission board or denominational or association accountability (organizations that likely would have caught many of the issues arising in the book before damage was done).

    Michèle is a beautiful writer; I found myself pausing to savor sentences.

  • Of Stillness and Storm by Michèle Phoenix is haunting and poetic and not a book you can easily walk away from. It’s a cautionary tale and a riveting story, all at once. I’m still reacting to a lot of it, to be honest. In my spirit. In my gut. In my heart. Wanting to hug some characters close. Wanting to shake some sense into others. This is not a book to be read lightly but it’s one with the power to heal and the power to prevent. Which, really, is the best kind of fiction.

  • It’s easy to get swept away in the romance of an idea, without realizing the hardships that can come with those dreams. This book is a gorgeous story about what happens when you wake up from that dream.
    I look forward to reading more by Michele!

  • Of Stillness and Storm is one novel that grabs the soul of the reader and its tentacles reach so deeply into the reader that it doesn’t let up until the end of the story.

    A very raw, tough, gripping novel that I highly recommend for people to read, especially because it shows how real, loving and close God is to us. It reflects how He alone can make beauty from ashes!

  • There aren’t many books that surprise me, but this book did. I don’t usually care for first person narratives, yet I became enthralled with the story and couldn’t put the book down. Another surprise was how the book impacted me, and I’m still processing it. This is a book I know I will think about for a long while and it is also one I am sure I will re-read to be able to take it all in.
    I loved that Michele used her background as a missionary kid to write a book that will not only speak to them, but those of us who spent summer’s reading missionary books. This is really a book for anyone.

  • Author Michele Phoenix in “Of Stillness and Storm” explores the building tension between Lauren, her son, her husband and her past – reuniting with a childhood friend, Aidan, on Facebook. Written in first person the narrative goes back and forth between the present and the past as Lauren relates how she married Sam, came to be in Kathmandu, and her struggles. What one does not expect is the ending. It caught me by surprise. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the book but the more I read, the more the pages drew me in.

  • For many people, they look at their whole life and don’t think of how it can be changed. The little choices we make, from people we friend, to answering a simple email, or the big decisions of moving across the world. The author explores this in a very big way. From a family who moves to Nepal as missionaries, to Lauren who discovers an old friend on Facebook. The little choices that change our world forever and in ways we never imagined.

  • By The Book says:

    This book is beautifully written. The language is exquisite and almost painful as it reveals sorrow and loss. The ending is not what I would have wanted; no fairy tale endings here. But it is gritty and above all real.

  • This beautifully written novel leaves the reader fighting for Lauren and her family.

  • Moments says:

    “Of Stillness and Storm” is a completely engaging, emotional and though-provoking read that will leave you thinking about it long after you finish reading the last page. Michele writes in such a way that it is so easy to became wrapped up in the story so that it feels as if the reader is a part of the story. Lauren is facing dilemmas in her life as she believed that she and her family were living their dream, but now she is questioning their choices and the path their lives are on.

  • Nancy Famolari's Author Spotlight says:

    This is a powerful story highlighting two ways to see God and the consequences to a family ripped apart by their divergent concepts. The characters are beautifully drawn. Sam believes in his mission so strongly that he can’t see what it’s doing to his family. Lauren tries to be a loving mother, but her own needs push her away from being able to help her son. Ryan is a frustrated teenager caught is a world he doesn’t understand and hates. Why would a loving God put him in this situation?

  • Michele Phoenix painted a picture of the challenges that come to a couple when hard decisions have to be made.

    I had a difficult time getting started in this book and I think because, I saw the reality of Sam’s decision, the loneliness and displacement of Lauren and most painful of all, Ryan’s pain. While it is well written, the setting of the stage is too long for me.

  • Michèle Phoenix’s certainly knows how to “get you in the feels”. This is a story that you will think about for a long time after finishing it. It is one that will really stay with you for a long time…

  • I like that the author brings up this very important message of missionary kids and that it is not all a happy experience. I think you can attach this to even pastor’s kids and really to all children who are sacrificed to their parents’ career choices and pursuing of their dreams at the cost of the security and determent of their family.

  • Though this is fiction I think the author hit the nail on the head with this one. Missionaries are “real” people that have the same “real” problems that we all do. They need to know that their work is paying off in a real and big way. A great story that is real life fiction!

  • It is a gripping story about a family who leaves everything normal behind to answer the call of being missionaries. The stress and tension slowly eats away at who Lauren is, while her husband, Sam, remains unwavering in his commitment to the Nepali people. She’s lost the comforts of home, but seeing her son as a shell of himself is her greatest regret.

    To add to the suspense, a long lost friend comes back into her life. I wanted to turn the page to see what would happen next. Aidan’s no-nonsense approach to life was refreshing and relatable.

    The beginning was a little slow for me, but Michelle Phoenix did a masterful job with the dialogue. It was heart-wrenching at times and profoundly insightful at others. I loved that Lauren and Sam weren’t afraid to have the hard conversations.

  • “Of Stillness And Storm” by Michele Phoenix was a hard book to read. There is much loss and despair in this book, but also a hint of hope and love that goes beyond the failures of men.

  • This is not a “feel-good” book. But it is gripping and raw and real, all of my favorite characteristics in a great book. The characters are well-developed and relatable, and while it is fiction, it speaks to a very real issue for some very real families.

  • I had to check and make sure this novel is fiction as it sounds very realistic. The characters draw you into the story even though it is indeed fiction. I picked this book to read because I am interested in missionaries and how they live. I found they are not so different from laypeople, they have problems too. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in the mission field.

  • It was easy to see the red flags and mistakes Lauren was making as she stumbled off the right path and it reminded me of how hard it is to see those flags in my own life. This book would make a great book club selection. It will have you thinking about the characters long after the story has ended.

  • LyonsLady says:

    From the first chapter I wanted to know more about who was who and what was what. At first I did not like the way it went back and forth in the dates but then it made perfect sense as the story as it went on. I liked the characters, they were believable and I just wanted to know more about them and what was going to happen next. It was a good to read about what they went through and where they came from.

  • I was very surprised at this book. I wasn’t paying attention very well apparently because the tagline for the book had me thinking this was a sci-fi/fantasy novel so when I was offered a review copy, I jumped at the chance. As I started reading, I thought I had been suckered into reading a romance novel, I was wrong again. What I found was a very compelling cautionary tale for anyone involved in full-time ministry. The character development in the story is very good and I found myself having visceral reactions to each of the three characters as I read the novel.

    A must read for anyone in full-time ministry.

  • Mj's Mommy says:

    The description on the back of the book really didn’t prepare me for the story that Michele Phoenix told in Of Stillness and Storm. She tells the love story of Sam and Lauren, their journey to mission work in Nepal and the toll the mission work takes on their family relationships and relationship with God. The characters felt so real to me. I think this book brings an awareness that mission work isn’t always a happy experience for everyone. Touching, heartbreaking, real and raw.

  • Of Stillness and Storm is a good book. It makes you think. It draws you in. It is stays with you and causes you to review your decisions and the choices you make.

  • This book was hard and raw at times. It wasn’t the subject matter but the intensity, the depth, and the wringing of the emotions that were hard. The author doesn’t hold any punches. She shows the difficulties missionaries face in country and balancing faith, life and the struggles with they don’t line up with others. This is a wonderful book that really made me think about my faith and the struggles missionaries face within their own families and the people they are trying to reach. This is one I plan to keep.

  • A moving novel of faith and limitations. I found this book to be marvelous in providing the thought of one God but many travels. I truly felt that God was shaped in this story to show us the options we have and that one man’s calling isn’t always one woman’s calling.

  • More Of Him says:

    The thing that makes this book good is the beautiful writing and wording that Michele weaves throughout the story. She takes a very difficult, even sad, situation and makes it readable because of her amazing writing style. The ending is not what I expected and definitely not the fairy tale ending you might want or expect. This is a deeply thoughtful book that will keep your emotions running high.

  • The grittiness of this story and all the messes created because the couple hadn’t fully examined their mutual expectations and motives for going makes this story one worthy for television. It’s a sad story told in a compelling way.

    This should be a must read for anybody contemplating going to the mission field either on a long or short term basis. Life can turn to chaos quickly with consequences that have real impact.

  • This is a good book with great characters going through a difficult time. Even though the subject matter is difficult at times it will grab you and keep you reading.

  • I do wish that this book would become a bestseller, and the author’s name Michele Phoenix household name among Christians and that parents would take a long hard look at the God they serve. Too many children are lost in His name.

  • I LOVED IT! I was hooked from the start. The cover would make you think it is like a mystery’ish book, but it’s not. It’s a drama filled book that is no holds barred. The author doesn’t hold back in the least. The imagery and writing is raw, gritty, and nailbite inducing. I really enjoyed this, and felt myself frequently thinking and reflecting upon my own life. Well done. Very well done.

  • in a minute says:

    Though I hate Sam and most of the characters tick me off, this book stirred a lot of passion in me. The reader will not read idly; the reader will read with fervor! Be prepared to have this book really make you reconsider you life and your relationship with God.

  • The complexity of faith, the reality of daily life, the sheer selfishness of some people, the humanness that connects people to each other, the yearning and need to be heard, to feel validated, to be loved – these elements come together creating a powerful story.

  • This is the first book by Michele Phoenix that I have had the pleasure to read, and I’m looking forward to reading her others!

    Of Stillness and Storm is a book that has a very hard hitting theme that many families could relate to. With that theme, it sticks with you. It makes you think and feel for the characters. It makes you think if anyone you know who feels like these characters.

  • My eyes are blurry and I’m very emotional after spending the day reading of stillness and storm from cover to cover. I love to read but I don’t usually read a 320 page Christian novel in one sitting. Once it touched a nerve in my missionary heart, in my own life and ministry I couldn’t put it down. Parenting on a foreign field as missionaries has more challenges than most people know. Before I knew anything about the author, personally, I was impressed that she intimately understood the challenges of the missionary call and parenting.

  • A story that did not interest me at first, soon became compelling as a look into Lauren’s past awakens her need for connection, and subsequently, her family begins to unravel even further. Of Stillness and Storm offers a sobering look at how ministry has the ability to harm a family and shows one woman’s journey back to God.

  • Book by Book says:

    Michèle Phoenix’s Of Stillness and Storm is a captivating and thought-provoking novel—one that lingered in my mind long after my reading of the last page. She transported me to the other side of the world with her intricate characters. It’s a powerful read, and I highly recommend it.

  • Of Stillness and Storm is a story that continues to linger in my mind. It’s about relationships, physical and spiritual. It is beautifully crafted in a style that skillfully blends exquisite narrative, literary quality, candid themes, and emotional depth. With rawness and honesty, it plumbs the depths of commitment to family and God.

  • This may be a Christian novel about a missionary family in Nepal, but leave any preconceived notions about what type this book might be behind. Starting with lyrical, haunting prose from the very first page, I was absolutely hooked and couldn’t put it down. This is a bold and dynamic tale with themes of love, loss, betrayal, longing, and more.

  • Noveltea says:

    I literally had no clue what I was getting into. Of Stillness and Storms was gloriously beautiful. Heartbreakingly honest. Terrifyingly real. Horrible, amazing, gripping, totally wrong, and completely spot-on all at once. Each page was one more waving red flag, screaming about the train wreck that was taking place, slowly, one word at a time.

  • Author Michele Phoenix was a missionary kid and gives a viewpoint of mission work not all rosy as some stories depict this calling. Using the alternative tellings, the reader gains insight into the main characters Lauren and Sam and their relationship strains. This story is poignant and thought provoking.

  • I liked the stark rawness of this book and how it shows a different more honest side of missionary life, that it isn’t all glamour, tent revivals, miraculous medical treatments, but it can be lonely and desolate as well. I think that Ms. Phoenix did an amazing job with the characters, and bringing them to life, I felt that I could see why many of them did what they did, and how their different personalities and mindsets affected their choices throughout.

  • I just finished this book and have so many emotions from reading it. The ending totally took me by surprise and was not wrapped up neatly like most books, but isn’t that how real life is?
    This book is raw and intense, filled with deeply flawed people. Being that the author has lived and worked with missionary kids I think it is a very accurate of how some young people handle the situation.
    This book is gritty and sad, but the author writes in such a way that it is hard to put down and at the end you are glad you read it.

  • This is a story of a missionary family. It goes back to how the parents met and how they got to where they are now. This book shows us what can happen to families in missions or other ministries that foundation is not solid on the Word of God. The expectations put on the family by the husband or other’s members of ministry can destroy a family. If the family is not kept Christ centered the family members can be hurt and even destroyed.

  • For me, it was difficult to get interested in this story until after the first several chapters, but then, the story opens up into raw emotions about what truly happens to families that go into full time ministry, especially as missionaries to another country. Through fiction, this author shares the feelings and truths of the real family problems that can occur. After reading this, you will feel more of a desire to pray for missionaries you know, as well as any missionaries that give up their lives as they know it to go into an unknown place and share the gospel of Christ. Remember to pray for those taking the gospel to the places in the world that would not hear unless someone comes to tell them.

  • These characters are so well-developed and life-like, you’ll forget you are reading a novel and the events as they unfold are creations of the author’s skill and not true events. The plot is well paced and keeps the reader’s interest. It certainly gave me a new perspective on what the life of a missionary is really all about.

  • OF STILLNESS AND STORM is an interesting if at times complicated book in a genre that I normally do not read. I had a hard time putting aside my own emotions to read about the struggles of this family and the events that transpired between them. The characters were interesting yet I just could not connect to them in any way.

  • Of Stillness and Storm by Michèle Phoenix’ synopsis starts off with “I felt torn…” Yes, that really is the gist of the emotional struggle our main character Lauren felt throughout, and frankly me too. It’s brilliantly written, beautifully envisioned, and poignantly envelopes a reader’s mind. I am torn as well. I can probably point out every little thing or character, but then, that’s exactly why I can’t let it linger more. I’m lost.

  • Sam and Lauren want to help others, namely tribes that are in Nepal. Sam wants this the most. It takes Sam away for long stretches of time. He is happy helping others. Ryan their only son is only thirteen years old and he seems to be the one that is having the most trouble. What is making Lauren deal with Aidan? Is Lauren the only one suffering in this? Sometimes when you help others you hurt those close to you. Will Lauren and Sam continue this way? Will they be able to fix their problems? I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book and all opinions are mine.

  • This is a book that I say go and pick it up. Read it. It’s going to take time though. This book was not one that I could just sit down with and read straight through. I had to take time off and digest what I was reading. Think about it and how it related to me and my life.

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