Book Reviews

Chanticleer Book competition

The Silver Lining: Encounters With Angels has made it through three rounds of judging and became a finalist, then went on to earn a first in category in the Chanticleer International Book awards 2016. 

The SILVER LINING: ENCOUNTERS WITH ANGELS by Gretchen "Phoebe" Walker – Memoir

Rating: Title: The Silver Lining: Encounters with AngelsAuthor(s): Genre(s): , , Publisher: Mai Tai’s Book Shack (2016)Please help promote the author by liking the review at:AmazonGoodreads

Imagine a crisp autumn afternoon, taking a walk with a favorite companion on a country lane. You share stories about life’s ups and downs; you both laugh and cry. When you get to your destination, you give each other a goodbye hug and part separate ways with a smile, feeling a sense of strength in your friendship.Meandering through the pages of Gretchen Walker’s, The Silver Lining Encounters with Angels, is like a walk down this country lane, leaving us with warmth and hope.Admittedly, Walker’s book is a tough read – a story rife with abuse, her parent’s divorce at a young age, a suicide attempt, battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other health concerns, and a near-death experience. It’s a lot to handle, for both the author and reader, but Walker makes the story accessible and down to earth with her conversational tone. Flipping through the pages is like a fireside chat.In one early and instrumental memory, Walker recalls how she was introduced to God. In 1989, her friend Christi said, “speaking to Jesus was just like talking to your best friend.” Accepting Christi’s advice, Walker became convinced that certain people in her life were placed there by God as “silver linings.” “God provides the crutches,” Walker says in her memoir.And so it went in Walker’s life, assigning silver linings to people who helped during dark days, including her loving husband Chip. The memoir is engaging and heartfelt, a recommended read for anyone wishing optimism and hope amid adversity.Not only do we learn that Walker survived incredibly tough times, but also she thrived, earning a college degree, having children, and living a full life, later without vision due to MS.A theme of revelation is what led her to write and share her story. She says: “By allowing myself to become fully exposed, I’m confident that not only will I continue on my journey of healing, but that it will offer hope, peace, and perhaps even direction to others. That makes sharing my story fully worth [it].” Today, she maintains a website displaying her art and ways she helps others through a life coaching business.While Walker’s book takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, even to the edge of despair, she holds our hand with thoughtfulness and humor. She avoids lecturing and being preachy by staying in her own story, ultimately showing how her deep faith has healed her during life’s challenges. By

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Red City Review


The-Silver-Lining Gretchen grew up in a family rife with conflict. Her parents divorced while she was young and she was sent to live with her mother, a deeply troubled woman who was both psychologically and physically abusive to her children. The final straw came when Gretchen’s mother remarried – and Gretchen’s home no longer remained a safe place for her to live. From these tumultuous beginnings, Gretchen traces her life’s path through adolescence and young adulthood, recounting her uninhibited yet reckless teenaged years and the trials of her first marriage. Then, just as Gretchen’s life finally begins to flower, she is struck by a debilitating illness. The onset of multiple sclerosis (MS) affects not only Gretchen herself but her family and friends – in fact, without the support of her loved ones to guide every step of her journey, Gretchen’s story would have turned out quite differently. This book is about so much more than illness; it is about one woman’s struggle toward peace in a world that is built for chaos.Readers would be wise to open these pages with an unbiased mind. Inspirational stories have been spread far and wide these days – though still, one could argue, nowhere near widely enough – yet The Silver Lining stands apart from similar accounts. Walker spends just the right amount of time exploring her familial roots and the origins of her faith, then glides the narrative along to the more recent past where the majority of her story takes place. This lends Walker’s writing an immediacy and a modern practicality that is so often missing from memoirs. Both beautifully and honestly written, The Silver Lining proves that help often arrives from unanticipated allies, and that the best way to take control of your life is sometimes just to give the reins to a higher power.

Maple Lane Books

The manuscript follows the author, Gretchen, who grew up in a family that had many problems. Her parents were divorced when she was very young, and she has to live with her mother who is unstable and not capable of behaving as she should. The narrative follows after Gretchen’s life where she has tumultuous teenage years and a difficult first marriage. The book does a good job balancing the actual story and elements of faith. The writing is easily accessible and relatable and readers who are looking for an inspiring life story of someone who overcame hardships, they will be pleasantly surprised with this manuscript.

Reader Reviews

  “In The Silver Lining, Encounters with Angels, Phoebe Walker courageously shares her life’s journey with others. It is sensitive and insightful, and serves as a beacon of hope for others who have their own crosses to bear”.— Scott Sullivan, MD, FACS,
Center for Restorative Breast Surgery,
New Orleans, LA.

“Phoebe is more than a survivor– she’s thrives.  In the face of life-long physical and emotional challenges, she shines with joy. The Silver Lining is her story of how God placed strategic people and strategic angels in her life at just the right time to help her take the next step and beyond. You will be inspired by her story and filled with a new confidence that God still works in people’s lives today. “— Rev. Jim Govatos
Lead Pastor Deer Lake UMC
Tallahassee, FL
Grateful Friend of Phoebe and Chip Walker. Eyewitness to Many of the Miracles Recorded in this Book.

“Phoebe’s story is an inspiration for us all. I have personally witnessed some of her struggles since we met approximately ten years ago. Her strength, talent, compassion for others, hard work and faith in God are assets we all should strive for in our own lives.”— David G. Daly, D.C.,
Daly Chiropractic and Wellness Center,
Titusville, FL.

“Phoebe Walker was a CU biology graduate who has had more than her share of medical struggles. When she was here, she completed one of the best independent studies I have ever mentored. Her work resulted in awards and publications in spite of her health obstacles. I applaud this “Little engine that could.” After reading her book you too will see that she’s a gentle spirit with a dragon heart!!! She is a prime example of no limitations when God is your power source.”— Dr. Gordon Weddle, PhD.
Biology professor
Campbellsville University, KY

“I don’t usually read books from this genus. I typically read books on science fiction, history, and war. However, I was pleasantly surprised how this book kept my interest at all times. Phoebe is an excellent writer and funny too. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. She managed to find a way to take the most horrific life situations and through faith, managed to pull herself out while somehow experiencing humor. I purchased this book after my cancer returned and found me on hospice care. Phoebe’s deep faith and optimism were strengths that have had a priceless impact on my final days.”— George Wayne Ricks, CPA
Titusville, FL.

“The Silver Lining: Encounters with Angels, is a deeply moving work about one woman’s journey through an abusive childhood, a happy marriage, a terrifying health crisis, and a dramatic Christian walk. Phoebe writes with honesty and an open heart, sharing her deepest thoughts, darkest moments, scariest fears, and most intimate details candidly and honestly. Hers is a story that is riveting, honest, and inspiring. I gasped many times at the dark episodes in her life and cheered for the victories they produced. I guarantee that readers will be inspired by her story — I know I have been.”— Cynthia Furlong Reynolds

"Phoebe is a shining example of what the love of Jesus Christ, perseverance, and a positive attitude can do in spite of severe pain, serious chronic illness, and many obstacles. This work by a true overcomer is inspiring and a potential Christian blockbuster!”— Jackie Haines
Friend, Christian sister, and neighbor
North Carolina