Shades of Morning is one of those books that is so filled with bits of wonder that it wakes the soul to all the possibilities that we so often miss. Then there are the characters – Marnie with her box of regrets that she can’t let go, Taylor who has become stuck in a hum drum life so different than the one he planned, and Emmit whose Down’s syndrome makes him both difficult to live with but irresistibly lovable. Although Marnie is the primary focus of  the story, it is told through both her and Taylor’s viewpoints in present tense and through flashbacks.

Several themes run through the story which deals with guilt, unforgiveness, and ultimately the fact that no matter how hard you try, you cannot run from God. A strong message of love and redemption permeates this book.

I loved Shades of Morning, even the surprise ending that many reviewers had problems with. I can think of other suitable conclusions that would have worked as well but ultimately that choice belongs to the author and I gladly leave it to her. I do hope that others will not allow their opinion of the ending to take away from their enjoyment of the book as a whole. I personally recommend it.

Shades of Morning can be purchased at Amazon or at Waterbrook Multnomah.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned. As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?


Marlo Schalesky is the author of several books, including Beyond the Night and Empty Womb, Aching Heart. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo also has a masters of theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Married over twenty years, she lives with her husband, Bryan, and their five children in California.