Book Review and Blog Tour: This Ain’t No Promised Land by Tina Shelton

This Ain't No Promised Land JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for This Ain’t No Promised Land by Tina Shelton, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

This Ain't No Promised Land

Title: This Ain’t No Promised Land
Author: Tina Shelton
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Release Date: March 19, 2024
Genre: Christian General Fiction

“With stellar storytelling skills, Tina Shelton reminds us that while love isn’t always enough to erase the hurts, it’s the only way to survive them. A powerful read!”

Julie Cantrell, New York Times & USA Today best-selling author of Perennials

When her husband dies, Charlotte can’t face the things she’s done that could tear her family apart. So she drops a goodbye letter in the cookie jar and flees south to escape everything–her life, her three daughters, the mistakes she’s made, and the secrets eating her alive.

Now Gracey and her sisters are alone on Chicago’s South Side with nothing but their home and belongings. They’re doing everything they can to stay together, but young teens aren’t meant to parent themselves. Their close-knit Black community gathers around them to keep them fed and clothed with the utilities on, but that’s not enough to fix the damage of abandonment.

Hundreds of miles away, Charlotte is struggling to keep her own head above water. She’s made a close friend who talks to her about God in a way Charlotte’s never heard before. But when her demons catch up to her, the shaky peace she tried to build shatters. Even if she’s able to find the courage to embrace motherhood again, will it be enough to save the family she left behind?

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Life isn’t perfect, but Gracey, Francine, and Joanna know they are loved. Their mother is quiet and withdrawn, their grandmother is tart and abrasive, and their father – well, he fixes everything. When he dies unexpectedly, it rocks their world. Then their grandmother moves back to Mississippi. And when they come home from school to find their mother gone and a letter saying goodbye, they find themselves unexpectedly adrift. Their community does what they can to support the girls, but Joanna makes a choice that forces a change.

Charlotte’s mother has always been hard on her, always assumed the worst about her daughter. So when Charlotte makes a mistake in a moment of passion, her mother tells her that mistake will follow her forever. And when her husband dies with the wrong unconfessed, Charlotte can’t bear the guilt any longer. She slips the bonds of family and flees to Savannah, where she doesn’t know a soul, to just disappear. She thinks her girls will be better off without her. But the past has a way of finding you out.

Tina Shelton gives us a beautiful coming of age story here. Charlotte is an adult, but she still has some maturing to do. Her daughters are all under the age of 18 and struggling to find their way with minimal adult guidance. They’ve all got to grow up.  We see the story unfold in two timelines, and Shelton moves seamlessly between the two, weaving them together masterfully.

The events of the story are compelling. My heart just hurt for the girls. They lost not only their parents, but the only home they’d ever known. They were understandably angry and upset. And I felt for Charlotte, too. Sure, she made her own mess. But she didn’t have a mother she could talk to and work through things with. She was left to handle her own problems, and she simply couldn’t cope. She could see where her friend Candi could stand to make changes, but couldn’t unravel her own issues. Those emotions are something we can all relate to, even if not in the same situations as Shelton’s characters.

Shelton tells a tale of difficulty and heartache, to be sure, but she also infuses it with hope and the promise of better things to come, much like the biblical story of the Israelites’ journey to the Promised Land. That thread of hope is what kept me turning the pages. I desperately wanted to see some reconciliation for Charlotte, Gracey, Francine, and Joanna. I wanted to see beauty come from ashes. (Does it? Go get the book and read for yourself – no spoilers here.)

Tina Shelton has earned a place on my authors to watch list with her debut novel. I can’t wait to see what stories she has yet to tell!

Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from JustRead Publicity Tours. I was not required to write a review. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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About the Author

Tina Shelton

Tina Shelton is registrar at Chicago Theological Seminary and a pastor in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. She is also the mother of two young adults, and loves walking, working out, and traveling with her family. This is her first novel.

Connect with Tina by following her on Instagram @ts_walking

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a signed copy of This Ain’t No Promised Land and several book-related goodies, including a friendship bracelet, a mini journal, a pen, and a prayer tin.

This Ain't No Promised Land JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight March 18, 2024 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 25, 2024. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

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3 Responses to Book Review and Blog Tour: This Ain’t No Promised Land by Tina Shelton

  1. lovely review, Lisa! Thanks so much for being on the tour 🙂

  2. Dreaa Drake says:

    This sounds like a great book!

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