A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Faith. Family. Fiction. Fun.

A Beautiful Mess by Brenda S Anderson {A Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Can she love the child who broke up her marriage?

Nearly four years ago, Erin Belden’s happy life became a shattered mess. After her husband admitted to an affair and that a child had been conceived, he left her and their young daughter for his new family. Now, she’s finally ready to put the pieces of her life together. She’s set to launch her own business and even thinks her heart might be open to romance—should the right man come along.

But just when everything seems to be lining up, she receives a devastating call: her ex-husband and his wife have been killed in a car accident, and Erin is listed in their will as their daughter’s legal guardian.

How can she be a mother to the child—let alone love the child—who broke up her marriage? Does she have the courage to start over yet again and turn this mess into a mosaic of beauty?

A single mother’s journey from bitterness to forgiveness.

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is Past-President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE, the 2016 ACFW Chapter of the Year. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 30 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Readers can learn more about Brenda S. Anderson at www.brendaandersonbooks.com

A Beautiful Mess is the 4th book in The Mosaic Collection. If you've not read the others, no worries. Each book is a completely standalone novel written by different Christian authors to make up this unique collection of novels.

To be honest, A Beautiful Mess was unlike any Christian novel I've read in the past. What set it apart to me? Christian novels are more often than not VERY squeaky clean... A Beautiful Mess was not. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty clean as far as romances go but it doesn't shy away from real life either. There is no language actually written in the story, but there are several instances when it mentions characters using such language. Likewise, there are no graphic sex scenes... but the topic is certainly not glossed over. After all, this IS a story about a child who was conceived from an affair. It's real, it's messy, and it's quite frank in it's talk about the subject. It certainly puts more focus on the subject than you typically find in a Christian novel, but I felt like that added to the realness in the story... that's just life, and life isn't always squeaky clean. For this reason, I feel there are some Christian readers who are not going to enjoy the story, but I would encourage you to look past that discomfort because this truly is a fantastic story about forgiveness and the power of God to change our hearts and our lives.

As I read this book, I was drawn to the character of Erin. As a mother to an autistic child, I saw many descriptions that made me wonder if she was on the spectrum. But then I also saw some of myself as a socially anxious and rather awkward person too. It was never really addressed as to why Erin was the way she is, but it truly doesn't matter either way. I enjoyed getting to know her in all her quirks. She is just one of the well-written characters we came to know throughout this story...and not all of them were nearly as likable. Her ex-husband was in fact not very likable at all... nor was he supposed to be. One thing I did really love was that we got to get to know him through his journal entries and while he still wasn't a saint, it showed again just how God can change even the most unlikable.

This was the first book I had read my Brenda S Anderson, but I so enjoyed the realness of this story so I will definitely be checking out more in the future. This is another great addition to The Mosaic Collection and one I would certainly recommend.


  1. Thank you for your very thoughtful and thorough review! I'm so glad you enjoyed A BEAUTIFUL MESS in all its messiness! I love seeing how God turns our messes into works of art, and I try to convey that realness in my stories. :)

    I'm also glad you picked up on Erin's autism-like behaviors. Much of her personality (deep feeling, difficulty in reading non-verbal communication) is drawn from myself--no doubt that I would be on the autism spectrum if professionally diagnosed. Also, my son has Asperger's syndrome, so I drew a lot from him too. I debated labeling it in the book, but decided against it to let readers--like you!--draw their own conclusion.

    Thank you for reading & reviewing!
    God bless,


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