Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace



Today, I’m sharing a new book with you that sounds intriguing to me. I must warn you up front that I have not yet read this book, and also that it may not be a good fit for all of our readers. But since these Book Notes are intended to keep you up to date on “what’s new”, I thought it would be fun to share this press release about a new title with you! LMH

Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace

Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace

From the bestselling author of the cult classic Riding In Cars With Boys which was made into a major motion picture staring Drew Barrymore, comes Beverly Donofrio’s ASTONISHED: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace (Viking; On-Sale: March 11, 2013; ISBN: 978-0-670-02575-6; $25.95). A fiercely observed memoir about how an incident of profound violence—rape—can change one’s life, and radically transform the search for faith, healing, and identity.

Six years ago, Beverly Donofrio thought she had seen it all, done it all and come to peace with her past and with her deepening spiritual practice. She was happy, and why not? Now in her mid-fifties she was living in a vibrant Mexican town where there were salsa dancing lessons, yoga classes, and friends to come enjoy a margarita in her gorgeous backyard. She still had no luck with men or romance, but she loved her life, and the birth of her grandson melted a wall she hadn’t even known she’d erected around her heart. With this newfound discovery, she decided she wanted to join a monastery, where love and prayer would be the focus, and her life would have more meaning. Two weeks into a search on the internet to find a monastery that might accept a woman of late middle age with a grandchild she must visit, she shut her computer at midnight, fell asleep, and one hour later was awakened by a rapist in her bed. And life as she knew it was over, for good.

During the five-year emotional and spiritual journey of healing depicted in ASTONISHED —spent mostly in monasteries but also on visits with family—what’s important comes into sharper focus as her masks, illusions, and worldly ambitions begin to crumble and fall away. She already knew that every painful, surprising, terrible experience can be an invitation to grow. Now, refusing to be a victim, practicing spiritual disciplines, meditating on fear, evil, love and grace, the horror begins to fade and be replaced by gratefulness. With a voice that’s been called “tender and funny, reverent and ribald, harried and hopeful,” by The Denver Post, Donofrio bares all here in this unforgettable story.

About the Author:

Beverly Donofrio’s first memoir, Riding in Cars with Boys, has been translated into sixteen languages. Her second memoir, Looking for Mary, began as a documentary on NPR and was chosen as a Discover Book at Barnes & Noble. She lived for four years as a lay Carmelite at Nada Hermitage in Colorado, where she began this book.

Order ASTONISHED: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace and support with your purchase


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

1 Comment

  1. melanie jean juneau on

    insightful, interesting and most of all intriguing review..hey that is an iii review… umm MUCH better than an aaa review which could be an awful, artless, and anal review
    sorry, it is late in eastern Ontario

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