When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti explores three different, but related, timelines.
The first one, in modern times, involves Becky, whose teenage daughter had a baby out of wedlock. Becky takes care of her grandson so her daughter can finish high school, but she struggles with how much she’s helping and how much she’s enabling her daughter’s lack of sense of responsibility.
In 1951, Ivy just saw her boyfriend off to the Korean War. Then she found out she was pregnant. Now she’s afraid to tell him. She doesn’t want to put him in danger by distracting him, but she’s also afraid he’ll reject her. Ivy works in a nursing home, and one of her patients is Anna. Anna wants Ivy to help write down her story, and at first Ivy acquiesces just to please Anna. But she realizes that Anna is perfectly clear and not at all the dementia patient Ivy had thought. And Anna’s story is not only remarkable in itself, but it touches her own in many ways.
In the 1890s, Anna inherited some property. Her dream: to turn the old home into a haven for unwed mothers. She had little resource except faith. Her plan was not well-received by the community – except for her pastor and his wife, who helped to bring others on board.
As you can see, each of the stories involves unplanned pregnancies. Even though they were handled in different ways in different eras, they still brought complicated and painful consequences. Yet in each story line, those involved found some measure of grace and some maturity and growth through their circumstances.
The three are also connected by morning glories – but I’ll let you discover what that means.
A few quotes:
Your baby’s name is not Regret.
Wouldn’t one think that the forgiven would be quickest to forgive others? That the redeemed would fall over one another in their rush to carry the song of deliverance to those who had yet to hear its calming melody? That those who had found refuge would do everything in their power to light the way for others?
When young women lived with me, they worked beside me both because their help was needed and because work is both healing and character building.
I thought I’d have trouble keeping up with three different threads of story, but Cynthia wove them together well while keeping each distinctive enough to avoid confusion. I enjoyed the humor especially in Becky’s narrative. There were a few surprises: some of the connections between the women turn out to be different from what I had thought they would be. I enjoyed the unfolding of each woman’s story, and the need to extend and receive grace displayed in each one.