Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Penny Wise by Dave and Neta Jackson


Michelle Jasper doesn’t have much time to hang out with her neighbors—not with thirteen-year-old twins, another teen with hoop dreams, a full-time job as a caseworker, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, and heading up the women’s ministry at Northside Baptist. Her husband’s constantly changing shifts as an air traffic controller at the world’s busiest airport—Chicago’s O’Hare International—and responsibilities as a trusted deacon at Northside only add to the juggling act at the Jasper household.

Her new neighbors, Harry and Estelle Bentley, mean well with their friendly efforts to bring people together, but how can she deal with neighborhood concerns—like Greg Singer, who lost his job and is now trying to recruit sales reps from the neighborhood for his new venture—when she’s confronted with tragic family situations daily in her job? Like little Candy and her baby brother Pookey, victims of neglect . . .

With the “tyranny of the urgent” crowding out the important, Michelle is blindsided by danger involving her own kids—and a personal crisis that calls into question the very values she holds dear. How could this happen? Does God even care?

As her life unravels, a missing penny—and a “penny from heaven”—give her a shred of hope. But will God just laugh at her penny test?



"Penny Wise" by Dave and Neta Jackson is a wonderfully readable story about everyday folks in middle America.  The story flows naturally and more than once I was nodding my head in recognition of situations in Michelle's life and the lives of her family, neighbors and friends.

Michelle's morality was also presented in a non-preaching manner, which I appreciated.  It was nice to read about a mom who worried about her 13-year old daughter going to a cheerleading camp where the outfits were *ahem* not exactly modest.  Not that other mothers don't take that into account, but sometimes it seems the emphasis is on whether or not the children will fit in with the popular crowd, or that the parent is trying to live out some of their dreams through their children.  (Can we say "Toddlers and Tiaras" anyone?)

While it's nice, sometimes, to read stories about people who are not like 'us' (whatever that means), it's also a good experience to read stories to which we can relate on a personal level.  Everyone is valuable in the eyes of God and "Penny Wise" is a great story about the worth of 'ordinary' people.  In my opinion (and from my experience) when it seems like God isn't there, it's because we are looking for Him in the wrong place.

The Jacksons are a new-to-me writing team.  They have collaborated with each other and with other writers on absolutely SCADS of books (154 listed on GoodReads).  Assuming they are all as good as "Penny Wise", I'm going to be a busy reader for a long, long time.



Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set. As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.


(Disclosure:  I received a copy of "Penny Wise" from the authors and publishers via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.)


  1. How lovely to discover an author!

    This book sounds interesting. I love it when the central character is female. I'll look for the book!

    Thanks for such a succinct review, LuAnn!

    1. You are welcome, Vidya! That's one thing I especially love about cozies...the main characters are most often ladies! :O)

  2. "A story about the worth of 'ordinary' people"... well that sounds interesting!

    1. Oh it was, Shilpa. Very much so. Thanks for the visit! I know how busy you are. :O)