So much fun to be one of Pelican Book Group’s authors! They are highlighting interesting tidbits about their authors and this is what they posted:
“Flowers From Afghanistan” is a good read any time, but especially now, as our country ends its 20-year involvement with that country. There are no “winners and losers” in Parish’s book, just people who need God. The novel is a national Readers Choice Award winner and earned a Bronze Medal from the Military Writers Society of America.”~Review by Kathleen D. Bailey
“WHAT I’M READING NOW, and why you should too. “Flowers From Afghanistan” by Suzy Parish. Mac McCann never thought he’d outlive one of his children. When his son “Little Mac” is killed in a car crash, McCann doesn’t seek refuge in drinks, drugs or despondency. Instead, the Alabama police officer signs on for a year-long commitment training law enforcement personnel in Afghanistan. Yes, that Afghanistan.
McCann reasons that the higher pay will help him pay off Little Mac’s medical bills – and escape his guilt. Mac’s wife Sophie, the love of his life, wants them to grieve together. When he reassures her, “We can do this,” she fires back, “Where is the ‘we,’ Mac? Because all I see right now is the ‘you.’” She goes on to remind him that she will never see Little Mac play baseball or go to his prom, and that “I don’t have dreams. I barely sleep.” But Mac is running from more than just loss: he feels guilt for Little Mac’s death. And though Sophie wants them to heal together, he isn’t ready for that. And he has a secret, one that causes him just as much shame. So he packs his gear and heads off to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
He makes friends with other contractors, members of the military and a few locals, notably Gul Hadi, a local barber. He enjoys his time with Gul and Gul’s son Bashir, 4, a child with energy and potential – and a child in danger as long as he stays in Afghanistan.A natural caretaker, Mac “adopts” the Hadis and also a stray dog. He adjusts to life in a 7×7 foot “cell” and the strategies necessary to procure certain goods on a foreign military base. He learns to appreciate the stark beauty of the country, even as he worries about his students and the few civilian friends he’s made. He video-chats with Sophie. Though they still love each other, most of their talks are inconclusive, and he wonders if they’ll ever be whole again.
While Sophie still grieves their son, she has gone on with her life, focusing on her growing bakery business. They reunite when he is home on leave, and they finally talk, the talk they’ve been putting off for a year. Mac isn’t running any more. “We would make it. Only this time I was the one who needed reassuring. Returning to Afghanistan was harder than I expected, and it took all my will to drive toward the airport.” But Afghanistan is still a war zone, and Mac’s greatest challenge lies ahead, testing everything he has and is. Can Mac survive it?
Only when he puts himself in the hands of the One who also saw his firstborn son die. But that changes everything. Parish’s story is rich in the details and minutiae of life on an Army base, and the peculiar no-mans-land of being a civilian contractor. Her story also adequately conveys the beauty, and the tragedy, of this ancient land. “Flowers” is not a political diatribe, but like the best war stories, it shows the people and tells the story through them.
Mac’s struggles will be real to anyone who has lost a child, especially a young child, and especially when they attempt to take the blame on themselves. Parish also does a good job of portraying the fragile state of the McCanns’ marriage, and their desire to strengthen it without really knowing how. Sophie brings a warm, loving energy to the story, making the reader see that these two people do belong together. She fills Mac’s empty places.
“Flowers From Afghanistan” is a good read any time, but especially now, as our country ends its 20-year involvement with that country. There are no ‘winners and losers’ in Parish’s book, just people who need God.” ~Kathleen D. Bailey
The novel is a national Readers Choice Award winner and earned a Bronze Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Order it from Amazon or the publisher, www.pelicanbookgroup.com. Pelican/Harbourlight Books2018ISBN 978-1-5223-0044-1
A huge thank you to my readers! Your purchase payments for Flowers from Afghanistan and your gifts have been sent to Samaritan’s Purse. Samaritan’s Purse is sending relief to help Afghanistan evacuees. I can’t tell you how humbled and grateful I am by your generous response.
My character Mac, when asked why he bothers to help just one person quotes the Starfish story. A gentleman comes across another, who is rescuing stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.
” …”On a point of land, I found the star thrower…I spoke once briefly. “I understand,” I said. “Call me another thrower.” Only then I allowed myself to think, He is not alone any longer. After us, there will be others…Perhaps far outward on the rim of space a genuine star was similarly seized and flung…For a moment, we cast on an infinite beach together beside an unknown hurler of suns… We had lost our way, I thought, but we had kept, some of us, the memory of the perfect circle of compassion from life to death and back to life again.” (The Star Thrower, p.181)~Loren Eiseley
Thank you, all my fellow star throwers. You may never meet the ones you’ve helped, but even if it was only one, it mattered to that one.
When I wrote Flowers from Afghanistan, characters like Gul Hadi and Bashir were very real to me. They represented Afghans who wanted peace. Likewise, the contractors and military who made up my characters were there to do a job they believed in. My husband became friends with the young men he trained as police officers while in Afghanistan. It breaks my heart to see what is happening over there now. Samaritan’s Purse is a trusted and reliable organization. I’m asking that my readers help support Samaritan’s Purse with their mission.
SAMARITAN’S PURSE IS ASSESSING NEEDS TO DETERMINE HOW THEIR RESPONSE TEAM CAN BEST SERVE FAMILIES DESPERATE FOR HOPE.
“To watch this hurts,” said Edward Graham, Franklin Graham’s youngest son who works with Samaritan’s Purse and served in six combat deployments within special operations forces in Afghanistan. “I spent years there and lost many friends. There are many Afghan people that I love. This is a manmade disaster and there isn’t a person or an organization that can fix this. Only God can deliver us from this crisis.”
Donations from my site have closed and 100% of funds received have been sent to Samaritan’s Purse.
Thank you for your contributions. Please continue to pray for Afghanistan and our military families who have sacrificed so much.
I know that ultimately Jesus is the only solution in this world. This is my prayer for you; “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19 NASB
Don Stephens is the founder of Mercy Ships. You may have seen the Anastasis or one of their other ships in a newscast. Mercy Ships bring surgical intervention and therapy to places that would otherwise go without. When my daughters were very little we were in charge of collecting change from those countertop banks you see at the checkout. It was satisfying to know the monies added up, coin by coin, to provide healthcare for those in need. The Mercy Minute
Happy Birthday, Flowers from Afghanistan! To celebrate, we’re giving away five signed, first edition copies of Flowers from Afghanistan. Details coming soon!
Weighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain.
As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base—including a local barber and his precocious little boy—Mac’s heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there’s still something—and someone—worth living for? With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.
Are you ready to sip your way through a good book? We are 3 chicks with our favorite mugs. No, not our smiling faces. We’re talking coffee mugs. Join us for a fun and fast-paced virtual coffee hour—or two. Why should you come?•
• Learn about their craft.• Ask them questions.• Play a bit of book lovers’ trivia.• Win awesome giveaways. You may even win the grand prize—an autographed copy of each author’s featured book along with a $50.00 Amazon gift card.
When? Saturday, May 15, 1 PM Eastern time
Where? From the comfort of your living room.
Pajamas are the recommended attire. Masks not required. Be sure to bring your favorite coffee mug. You just might win a prize!
Pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org by simply sending your name and e-mail address.
You will be giving us permission to send you e-mails and will receive a link to the event. Together we’ll ZOOM into a good book. If the hyperlink doesn’t work, copy and paste the email address and send it from your email.
“This didn’t seem the type of story I would be so drawn in to, but the characters made me care deeply and the happenings seemed so real I could hardly believe it was fiction (although based on actual events). Kudos to the author for her fine work at conveying the truth of living through such circumstances. I have friends who have lived and worked in Afghanistan, so that gave me a slight background to what it’s like there. Experiencing the realities with Sophie and Mac McCann through their trials and triumphs brought their worlds to life. Both must grow for their relationship to survive and flourish. The pain of the Americans serving in the country and of the native people comes through well, as does the hope. This compelling tale will touch the hearts of readers. Those dealing with grief may find encouragement from this novel, whose characters must find ways to overcome their own. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.”
Thank you, M. Hake, for the review! This is one of my favorite reviews of Flowers. My favorite reviewers are people who didn’t think the book was for them, but they take a chance and read it anyway and end up liking it! Thank you for your kind words!