CFBA Review: Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Daisy Chain from Zondervan (March 1, 2009) by Mary DeMuth


Mary E. DeMuth teaches Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow. Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005). Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her novels, Watching The Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children.


In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy Chance went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE

Andrea’s Comments:

The story telling is certainly as beautiful and captivating as the content is dark and depressing. She manages to end on a hopeful note, literature-wise, but there’s little to be found in the actual plot line. In other words, she makes you feel hopeful even though there isn’t much reason to be. Daisy is dead, Jed’s abusive father is suspended from his pastorate for getting caught abusing his wife and two kids–but is going to be back after a month and is unlikely to be changed, when biblically the man is totally unqualified for pastoral leadership. The bible is very clear: if a man cannot manage his own house well, he is unqualified for the pastoral office: and you don’t get much worse at managing your household–and your temper for that matter-than physically and verbally abusing your wife and children.

The book highlights the worst amongst us with little guidance as to what healthy looks like. She does have an insightful comment on this, observing basically that the reactions against those who abuse and misuse their biblical authority, who turn biblical truths into ugly lies, are just as sinful, put as we walk a line with rebelling on one side and rebelling against other’s rebellion on the other. Likewise, her observation that abusive clergy mix truth in with lies hits it’s mark, for such is the cause of great confusion in the Church.

Of course, this is only the first book; it’s possible these concerns are dealt with in future installments. By itself, though, when I wake up from the dream-weaving hope “spell” she crafts, and consider the events logically, I am left feeling not hopeful, but angry. We all should be angry. Not at the author, mind you. At such pastors. At those who allow these wolves to preach. Perhaps even ourselves.

If we allow feelings to rule before the gospel, and men like Jed’s father are allowed to continue preaching, we spread blasphemy among the gentiles. Biblical submission becomes blasphemy in the hands of men who don’t realize Paul took far more words to tell them to love their wives than he did to tell the wives to submit. God is blasphemed when men confuse “submissive wife” for “mindless robot”, “doormat,”  or worse, “punching bag.”

Such interpretations are clearly invalidated by Paul’s’ clear teaching in Ephesians 5  that the relationship between the husband and the wife is intended to reflect/model the relationship between Christ and the Church. If a man thinks what Jesus would do to the Church he bled and died for is beat her black and blue, call her names, etc, it is questionable whether he knows Jesus well enough to be headed to Heaven, let alone well enough to preach! And a month of “rest” and partially laying the blame on the wife (!) won’t cure him. It’s an outrage and a disgrace that such things actually happen. The Apostles, if they lived today, would never have tolerated us to behave so! However, if Demuth is to be criticized at all, it’s not for daring to bring it up, but for not taking a bolder stance in saying, “this is an outrage.”

Of course, if she had, the wisdom of experts in Christian fiction might criticize her for “preaching.” But I would suggest anger might have been a more appropriate feeling to aim for than hope. Contrary to popular belief, there are times in a Christian’s life when righteous anger is the only Christ-like response; in a perceived paradox, God’s wrath is as biblical as God’s grace. Most of us are too busy working on not getting angry when it’s not the Christ-like response to ask when it’s actually appropriate, though.


  1. Thanks for reading the book and writing such an extensive review. I appreciate it.

  2. I’ve re-read your review. Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read and review the book.

    Believe me, I think what Hap did and how the elders of his church handled it was atrocious, but that’s sometimes how the church operates. I wish it didn’t. I allowed the outrage to rest there, for others to see, to evaluate the starkness of it, not to cast a stone, but to reveal the situation.

    Unfortunately, there are places in the Body of Christ where justice does not prevail. And I’ve certainly experienced several painstaking confrontations, trying to expose folks who look one way on the outside, but are not that on the inside. It’s a painstaking, difficult process that doesn’t always end well.

    I’ve also been processing the idea of darkness, how it relates to me, how it relates to others, how it fares in the Body of Christ. I don’t like darkness. I wish it weren’t here. But it is. And the one thing I’ve found in my own life, which has had its share of dark, dark pits, is that God’s light of redemption shines all the brighter in dark spaces. My purpose in exploring the dark is to bring glory to the light.

    To me, and others can argue with me if they’d like, there is no exact perfect checklist where we can know exactly how to proceed when we’ve been hurt. The closest thing I can offer is Jesus, clinging to Him, being near Him, crying out to Him, asking Him for healing. He is the way through.

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