Review: Spiritual love tested, unfolds in ‘Under A Withering Sun’

By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

We’ve all been taught not to read another person’s diary.

In the case of author Chaka Heinze, reading someone else’s diary is the premise for an inspirational romance novel about two youngChaka Heinze college students. The pair’s quest for earthly love and spiritual love unfolds through Heinze’s epistolary writing.

Published through Christian book publisher Athanatos Publishing Group, Under A Withering Sun ($14.95 USD, Athanatos Publishing Group) introduces readers to Regina Leeman, who struggles emotionally after the sudden death of her parents and twin sister.

To mask her pain, Regina volunteers to teach a creative writing class to young teens at the “Wreck” for the summer. Her good intentions are tossed in a tailspin when she develops feelings for a handsome, yet persistent, basketball player, Damion Martin. Among her struggles, she feels guilty for falling in love while on the four-week volunteer project. The challenge Regina consistently encounters is her inability to appear complete to others. She feels she needs to be complete for God to love her. She believes Damion shouldn’t have feelings for a young woman like her because she has “issues.”

Heinze daringly challenges readers to see the quest for God through the eyes of a backslider and a doubter of Jesus Christ. In fact, theUnder A Withering Sun best part of Heinze’s spiritual novel is that it is not sugar coated. As the novel progresses, the reader sees the bumpy progression of the characters’ quest for Him. At one moment, Regina discloses, “At one time I’d lived among the faithful, but life had conspired to carry me far off the path. Now I existed in a kind of spiritual limbo.”

Heinze’s presentation of Regina’s story fits well with the mystery and congruency of the novel. Furthermore, Regina’s triumphs and struggles become realistic in the mind of the reader and the journal entries lend credibility to the narrator. This writing style is featured in many novels, including The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Bridget Jones’ Dairy by Helen Fielding. The author’s talent for writing shines in her use of a lesser-known narrative choice.

Under A Withering Sun is Heinze’s first full-length novel.  As a side note, the novel is also available on eBook (Nook and Kindle) for $4.95.

Always a writer at heart, Heinze dabbled in poetry and storytelling from an early age. While attending the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, she penned a column for the college newspaper and was recognized for abilities to write short stories in a contest sponsored by the university. She also received a JD from the University Of Nebraska College Of Law.

Learn more about Heinze and her novel at

Tonya Andris is features editor and book reviewer for Inside The Pew. Contact her at

Leave a Reply