No one wants to be judged.

I seem to have this affect on people.Bee stings are painful. I have only been stung once, but I have never forgotten how much it hurt. If I hear a buzzy creature coming my way, I will run for my life. I’m sure I look ridiculous but I don’t want to risk getting stung again.

You know what else is painful? Being judged by others. It’s powerful sting is strong enough to last for years. No one wants to be judged. In fact, most of us will go to great lengths to avoid it.

Meet Livy O’Brien. In Pam Hillman’s novel Stealing Jake we discover that Livy wants to keep her past in the past. Gone are her days of living as pickpocket on the streets of Chicago. Livy has been given a fresh start in a new town. She now lives with Mrs. Brooks where she helps with the children at the orphanage.

While searching for a job in town, Livy meets Jake Russel the 1town’s local Sheriff deputy. It wasn’t your average meeting. Jake was in the heat of chasing a street kid who had just picked his pocket and Livy stepped in to help. And by help I mean she bumped into the street kid, got Jake’s timepiece back, and then bumped into Jake so she could put it back in his pocket without him knowing what had really happened.

What a way to meet!

Jake of course wants to get to know Livy, but doesn’t think he has time to pursue her because of a recent string of robberies in town that are rumored to have been done by street kids. It’s no surprise Livy wants nothing to do with Jake. She isn’t willing to trust a man of the law. Especially one who has made it clear he doesn’t like street kids.

After running into each other at various events they eventually start to develop feelings for each other. But after years of living on the streets of Chicago as a pick-pocket and running from the law, Livy is afraid to tell Jake about her past. She knows how Jake feels about street kids and is afraid of being judged. So she keeps him at a distance. But Jake won’t give up on her and keeps coming around.

Will Livy come clean and tell Jake about her past for a chance at love or will she give into her fear and play it safe?

Will Jake still feel the same about Livy once he finds out the truth or will he extend her grace and accept her for who she is?

This really was a great book. I loved how the author weaved life lessons into the story. Livy’s character teaches us that no matter how blemished our past may be, God can redeem it. Jake’s character reminds us we shouldn’t judge someone because of their past. We should extend them grace. It was enjoyable to experience Livy and Jake’s stories unfold and watch their characters grow in faith.  I highly recommend it!

This book reminds me of my own attempts to cover up my past. Read my story here.

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in the review are my own.

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