Nina Navisky has degrees in psychology and speech-language pathology, and her fascination with both fields permeates her writing. She’s interested in exploring motivations, particularly those that are unconscious or ulterior. Fond of instigating communication breakdowns between her characters, she revels in interruptions, assumptions, and misinterpretations. While she strives for realistic dialogue and engaging prose, she is delighted when a scene unfolds that allows her characters to leave words unspoken.
THE FORTUNE COOKIE WRITER
Dogwalker by day and fortune cookie writer by night, Marissa is broke. Blindsided by divorce and one year short of an Ivy League degree, she’s determined to go back to college to support her young son, Owen, who shows signs of both musical giftedness and—unbeknownst to her—mental illness. When a mysterious stranger offers her a week’s pay to cook dinners for Rose, an irritable widow in her apartment building, Marissa accepts, despite her misgivings. Sure, it’ll take a white lie or two to explain sudden nightly visits to a neighbor she doesn’t know, but she’d be a fool to turn down such easy cash.
But Marissa soon finds the task to be more difficult than she anticipated. Rose is ninety-three, tends to lapse into Yiddish, and has no qualms about slamming the door in Marissa’s face. While Owen struggles to keep his symptoms a secret, Marissa encounters clues to Rose’s past: a piano, silent for decades, yet still in tune; a locked case, resistant to all combinations; a child’s diary; and three hidden photos bearing an inscription. As Marissa’s concerns over Owen’s health mount, mystical forces seem to draw the two women together, and Marissa discovers a long-held, tragic family secret of Rose’s. Her present made clearer through the prism of Rose’s past, Marissa must recognize Owen’s burden, confront the conflicted relationships in her own life, solve the remaining unanswered questions of Rose’s past, and learn how to create good fortune for the three of them.
A MOSAIC OF GRACE
Pastor Lundstrom has two weeks to decide.
Soon he will preside over his daughter Gracie's wedding--a blessing he has long prayed for--but as the day approaches, he finds himself dreading its arrival.
Tim harbors a shameful secret: he has lost his faith. Revealing himself risks losing Gracie, his adored and only child; his baffling autistic grandson, Luke; his devout and kind-hearted wife; and the community he has nurtured at his small church. But the price of silence is steep. Performing the ceremony as a nonbeliever will taint Gracie's wedding and bind him forever to the secret that isolates him from those he loves.
Also burdened by the truth is Josephine Wallis, an accomplished physician who has yet to reveal her secret to her longtime boyfriend. Compounding her worries is the looming deadline of the wedding--will her intellectually disabled younger sister be able to live on her own when Gracie and Luke move out of the apartment the three now share?
A poignant exploration of the boundaries of trust and the repercussions of secrets, A Mosaic of Grace captivates with its skillful weaving of the lives of the Lundstrom and Wallis families as they wrestle with uncertainty and stumble towards acceptance.
Below are a sampling of reader reviews of my debut:
“This is such a compelling novel-especially from a first-time author. The powerful first chapter draws the reader in immediately, with its heart- wrenching portrayal of a family facing the challenge of coping day- to-day with very significant disability. From then on the characters continue to compel as they grapple with the complexity of family relationships, the nature of faith, the reality of facing difficult health problems and even the place of work in our lives. It is a tribute to the author’s skill that she has developed these global themes through the absorbing portraits of her characters and their struggles. Pastor Tim, Gracie and Luke are particularly riveting but even more minor characters such as Brett and Wes are well-drawn. The book is rather deceptive in that it is easy to read and yet at the same time, it forces the reader to pause and consider his or her own beliefs about the themes raised. Congratulations to Ms. Navisky on a most promising debut.”
"A Mosaic of Grace is an intricate novel that explores several compelling themes, including faith, family, and the power of secrets. The author takes the reader into her characters to experience these dimensions as they live their lives, striving for authenticity that is more complex than it appears. We become acquainted with two families whose symbiotic relationship over time includes love, support, anger and secrets that drive several interconnected subplots. The insights that author Nina Navisky gives readers about autism have particularly great impact. She writes from experience, and we are on the roller coaster that Luke’s mother, grandfather, and others experience as his behavior careens from loving affection to violent aggression, from clear signals of what he is thinking and feeling to actions that cannot be interpreted, even by those closest to him. The “Luke” scenes were, for me, powerful, engrossing, and enlightening; and I felt that I was deep into something conveyed so honestly that it took my breath away and gave me a level of understanding that I would have thought impossible…”
"New author Nina Navisky sculpts a beautiful, heartwarming story that reflects the deep conflicts all of us face at our moments of greatest crises, our crises of faith in what we hold dearest. Tim’s struggles to love his autistic grandson show him simultaneously at his best and his worst. As readers we are drawn into his struggles as he comes to grips with the hand he and his family have been dealt.”
“A Mosaic of Grace is one of those books you get so lost in the story that you forget they aren’t real. The author does a beautiful job of pulling you in and explaining so gracefully and thoughtfully each character’s thoughts and emotions that you feel what they are feeling. Her descriptions of living with epilepsy, caring for a child with autism and being the sibling of child with developmental delays are especially moving. I am looking forward to the author’s next book!”
“Amazing insight for a new author. Having seen many children with autism professionally, Ms. Navisky gives a compelling very realistic description about what life with an autistic child is like. Her thoughtfulness in developing all her characters brings them alive for the reader. Although this book is a quick read, I intentionally took extra time to mull over the story line and hated to finally put it down. Well done, Ms. Navisky, and I look forward to many more offerings from you in the future."
“Ms. Navisky’s portrayal of Luke’s behavior and grandfather Tim’s response to it was so spot on it gave me goose bumps. My family and I have often been in the same situation, afraid for the child, loving the child, and embarrassed by the behavior….Would like to read more by this author.”
"A first book revealing a true talent...A Mosaic of Grace is a realistic story about families living successfully despite struggling against life’s challenges. The book shines because of the writing that makes the dialogue real and the characters come alive. It is the best book that I have ever read in this category."
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