I eagerly picked up my review copy of Letter from Leanne for
personal reasons. I had recently found myself in a situation similar
to that of the authors, and I hoped the book would provide some
insight into this beautiful and confusing providential circumstance.
The authors are two women from two completely different life stages
who find themselves in a growing friendship when the younger woman,
Jill, who is just out of college, becomes the junior high basketball
coach for the 13-year-old daughter of the older woman, Leanne.
Jill and Leanne begin to communicate by email, initially regarding
the daughter's sports injury. But eventually the relationship evolves
into a spiritual mentoring relationship that continues for many
The book chronicles their relationship journey and how God used
it throughout the stages of their lives for mutual benefit and
growth. Their journey covers a variety of life events, as Jill
marries and has children and Leanne loses a parent and sees her
children leave the nest. Most of the relationship is chronicled
in emails and letters that the women exchanged as well as journal
entries that they wrote about each other.
This book beautifully illustrates the concept of spiritual mothering
or mentoring in real-life situations. I was somewhat disappointed,
though, at the overall tone of the book. Being in a relationship
of this type myself (as the older woman), I know the depth of heartfelt
joy and pain that such a relationship can bring. I felt that this
story was a bit too matter-of-fact for the depth of the relationship
they shared. Perhaps they didn't want to divulge too much of the
inner workings of the relationship, but I believe that there was
probably more depth than was intimated in this book.
While I believe the book could be of interest to someone in a
similar mentoring relationship, I believe it could have been even
more helpful if it had plumbed the depths of what was truly taking
place under the surface in the two women's hearts as God used them
to refine and grow one another in Him and His grace.