Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin
Laurie Coombs was an average American girl. Growing up in a loving family, she was surrounded by all that makes family good. Despite her parents’ divorce, she maintained good relationships with both her mother and father and enjoyed spending time with them. But one man’s heated actions changed her life forever. After a great vacation with her father, she and her boyfriend arrived home to discover that something was wrong…dreadfully wrong. Her father was dead. He had been murdered in his own home. The shock brought Laurie’s world to a halt and started her a long journey towards healing that would take many years.
In Laurie’s book, Letters from My Father’s Murderer, she shares the story of her father’s death and the journey she took to forgive Anthony, her father’s killer. Her story of healing takes years to begin as the case progressed in court and she battled depression. Only after finding faith in Jesus did she feel led to contact Anthony. Most of this book is their exchange of letters and how Laurie processed through each one. You can feel the emotion pouring off the pages. Hoping to find answers, she continued writing to him even when she was hurt and angry. Over the course of time, an unlikely relationship formed—one built on understanding and forgiveness.
This book is different than a traditional memoir. The exchange of letters provides two perspectives on the same crime and the events that led up to it. Reading the letters, I almost felt transported to her kitchen or living room as she read through Anthony’s letters and crafted her own responses. Part of the time, I found myself feeling great compassion for Laurie and then other times feeling very annoyed at her religious spirit. At the same time, emotions were bouncing all over in response to Anthony’s input as well. I think it reflected well the turmoil they shared during the months of writing back and forth. Amazingly, this story of forgiveness ended up being a catalyst for many others in prison to seek forgiveness for their own crimes. By allowing the Lord to work through her, the painful events of her father’s death became a special testimony that Laurie and Anthony are now able to use to bring spiritual freedom to prisoners in bondage.
Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.
Review copy was provided by Kregel Publications. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.