Christa Allan’s 2011 book, The Edge of Grace, is a fiction approach to answering the question: Can a person be gay and a Christian at the same time? There are still plenty of people around who gasp at putting the two key words in the same sentence, but Allan takes on the job of depicting the subtly progressive movement of perspective and attitude.
The lead character, Caryn, is a recently widowed mother who has all she can do to grieve the loss of her husband, rear their young son, and operate a struggling catering business. Now, on top of all that, she suddenly has to adjust to the new information that her brother, with whom she had previously been close, is gay. Despite the moments of well-described heartache, the author applies many leavening touches of humor, as in this early glimpse at Caryn’s relationship with her next-door neighbor: “I must have looked like Martha Stewart, the prison months. But Julie looked me over and didn’t say anything about my stupor or my morning bed-hair, which probably poked out from my scalp like clusters of brown twigs.”
Caryn will need Julie’s level-headed support, and a good deal more, when the story takes a serious turn with the hate crime that nearly kills her brother. From there, the reader is privileged to share the twists and turns of Caryn’s process of growth and acceptance, forgiveness and self-forgiveness. For all of us, there is learning available at the edge of grace.