The movie adaptation of William P. Young’s bestselling inspirational novel, The Shack, came out on March 3, and we could not wait to get to the theater and check it out. We’ve been fans of Young ever since reading The Shack almost nine years ago — and we’re happy to say we finally saw it and the movie is just as good as the heartfelt novel. Even the trailer is guaranteed to give you goosebumps:
Starring Sam Worthington as Mack Phillips and Octavia Spencer as “Papa,” the story is about grief, healing and how we find the strength to go on after extreme tragedy. Despite his dark past, Mack has created a happy family life with his wife, Nan (Radha Mitchell), and their three children. But on vacation their youngest daughter Missy disappears, sending the family into a panic. To their horror, they later realize that she’s been brutally murdered by a serial killer in an abandoned shack deep in the woods.
But that’s not the whole story, as in his grief and suicidal depression Mack receives a mysterious note from “Papa” (his wife’s word for God), asking him to come to the shack. He reluctantly travels back to the place of his nightmares, and there finds three mysterious strangers who lead him on an incredible journey, forcing him to face his past and find healing in his present.
The Shack is the kind of movie that will make you sob buckets of tears, even as you leave feeling strangely uplifted. Its spiritual message is sure to stay with you long after you watch the film (or read the book!). With that in mind, here are four other upcoming books about healing and redemption that you should definitely dive into after finishing The Shack:
The Broken Road, Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster, May 2, 2017)
The first book in a new trilogy, The Broken Road tells the story of celebrity Charles James. After a rough childhood, Charles has found wealth, success and fame. It’s all he ever wanted, so why isn’t he actually happy? Haunted by dreams of a broken highway on fire, Charles knows he’s not done searching for peace. When one of his clients commits suicide, he’s forced to confront his shady business practices, and the choices that have gotten him to this point. But then Charles gets a second chance to find happiness, and he knows that it’s finally time to take it. This inspiring tale of redemption will definitely remind readers of Mack’s journey toward his own grace in The Shack.
The Delight of Being Ordinary: A Road Trip with the Pope and the Dalai Lama, Roland Merullo (Doubleday, April 11, 2017)
If you’ve ever wanted to read a road trip story about the Pope and the Dalai Lama, look no further. Blending humor and spiritual insight, Merullo creates a world in which two of the leading religious figures decide that they just need to blow off a little steam. When the Dalai Lama visits the Vatican, the two men decide to don disguises and sneak out into the Italian countryside. Along with the Pope’s secretary, Paolo, and his exuberant estranged wife, Rosa, the four go on an adventure that will affect all of their outlooks on life. Merullo’s novel confronts what it’s like to be a famous figure in a hilarious way, but it’s also a thoughtful look at religion, spirituality, and how we make sense of the world.
Love Story, Karen Kingsbury (Howard Books, June 6, 2017)
Kingsbury’s inspiration family, the Baxter’s, have won over the hearts of readers everywhere. This is the first book in a new series about the iconic family, bringing us the story of John and Elizabeth, and their grandson Cole, who’s determined to write about them for a school project. His grandparents had a truly happy marriage of 30 years that ended when Elizabeth passed away from cancer. Despite his grief, John relives those memories for Cole, finally sharing the secret events that made the two fall in love. And it’s not the only story of love and redemption in the book – we also see family friend Cody Coleman trying to save his own fractured love story. Filled with heartfelt moments and the strong bonds of family that Kingsbury is known for, any fan of The Shack is sure to fall in love with this book.
Into the Water, Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, May 2, 2017)
Hawkins latest novel isn’t necessarily a spiritual read, but it is a story about how grief shapes us and how we move on from tragedy. A small town is rocked when several women get swept away by the river that runs through it – including a single mother of a fifteen-year-old girl. In order to take care of her, the girl’s aunt returns, though the older woman vowed that she would never come back to the town that holds so much of her grief. But things aren’t always what they seem, and soon it becomes clear that the women may have been murdered. With an intricately woven mystery at its core, Into the Water examines how memories can deceive us, and how our childhoods continue to shape our perceptions of reality.