Book Reviews, General Book Stuff, Writing

BELIEVE IN ME: The Story Behind the Story

In recent weeks, following the amazing free Kindle download days for BELIEVE IN ME (June 1 and 2, 2013), I’ve gotten several new reviews on it, including two one-star reviews from people who seemed to not really get what I was trying to do with the story. I thought the story description – especially the tagline – said it all: Reconciliations can occur. Broken hearts can be mended. If you believe. But maybe I was wrong.


BELIEVE IN ME is, at its core, a story of RECONCILIATION. The dictionary definition of “reconciliation” is “the condition of being reconciled”…which is not very helpful unless you understand what “to reconcile” means. The Merriam-Webster definition is this: “to restore to friendship or harmony”.


Why would a friendship (or, in this case, a marriage) need to be restored? Because something’s broken. Something destroyed it, and now it needs to be repaired…or else abandoned altogether. People in today’s society are often way too eager to abandon a marriage (or, indeed, most ANY relationship) when it ceases to “work” for them.


The fact is that people are imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes. And when you put two imperfect people together in a close relationship like marriage, you’re going to have problems. Ultimately, it’s how you deal with those problems that dictates the success (or failure) of your marriage. You have to be completely committed to each other – and to the relationship – no matter what the personal cost.


Here’s what one of the one-star reviewers said (in part), “Everybody is basically self-centered and doesn’t do anything with any common sense. If my mother sided with my husband and sister and treated me like I was the bad guy, why would I go to her house for Christmas? Didn’t take too long to read but I stuck with it hoping for someone in the family to come to their senses; didn’t happen”.


I mean, maybe I didn’t do a good job (as the author) of explaining the obligation. In the opening scene, Trina didn’t want to go to her mother’s house, and she certainly didn’t want to meet with her sister. But she felt a certain sense of duty that pulled her into that situation. The family relationships were more important to Trina than her own desires…so I find it particularly interesting that this reviewer thought every character was being self-centered.


The other one-star review? I seemed to really touch a nerve with this person. “I am so pissed at this family that I am trying to see where the sweet romance is going to come in. Unlike Steve Harvey, I believe once a cheater always a cheater. Besides, the mother sets her up, has her drive 5 hrs for Christmas without telling her the soon to be ex-husband is also staying for the holidays! REALLY, you would do that to your own kid? That would be one ex-mother for me!” An ex-mother? Once a cheater, always a cheater? Seems like this person really doesn’t understand the meaning of the word forgiveness.


And that’s what BELIEVE IN ME really is. It’s a story of love – real, sacrificial love – and forgiveness. It’s a tale that shows the magic that occurs when two people realize that they both played a part in making a bad situation worse, but they can both change their attitudes and turn things around to make it right again.


This book is a romance story, but it’s not a romance in the traditional sense of the word. There’s very little sex (really, none at all), but there is a happy ending. Sort of like a fairy tale with no real heroes/heroines and a very Christian message (even though there is some mention of adultery and premarital sex – big “no no’s” in the Christian market).


As the author, I can honestly say that it hurts that these two individuals didn’t like the story, but I loved the fact that they hated it enough to share their thoughts on it. At least I elicited some emotion from them. Still, I can’t help wondering if I failed in some way by not getting the true message of the story across in a more completely.


Now that you know the story behind (and the true theme of) the story, maybe you’d like to view some excerpts of BELIEVE IN ME. Those can be viewed by clicking here. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just leave me a comment (or a review on Amazon, if you’ve already read the book).

Mishael Austin Witty


1 thought on “BELIEVE IN ME: The Story Behind the Story”

  1. Mishael:

    This was one of the loveliest, most sincerest explanations about a book as I’ve ever seen. You did a fabulous job identifying the reviewers’ negative feedback and addressing their comments. After reading their comments and yours, I am confused why they gave your book such a low rating. If they REALLY hated it, they would say nothing. After all, why waste so much energy puring out words of hate for something that doesn’t matter?

    In a strange sort of way, I think these folks were tickled and motivated by your book because they were expecting the family to react in another way. Seems like they were engrossed in what you wrote, so I’d categorize that as a win-win!

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