Beautiful Ashes

A True Story of Murder, Betrayal, and One Woman's Search for Peace

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 6 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022

Talking about this book? Use #BeautifulAshes #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

She watched as her mother's body was removed from the ashes of her home . . .

Unbearable loss, dangerous secrets, and a life-threatening illness endangered her only hope for a future . . .

. . . But through it all, she found her faith.

When fifteen-year-old Shelly Edwards's mother is murdered by her alcoholic father, she loses her home, her family, and the only life she's ever known.

Abandoned, broken from abuse and assault, facing poverty, and gripped with fear for her life, Shelly struggles to dismantle decades of lies.

But into the deepening darkness that follows, God sends heavenly gifts, leading Shelly to a newfound faith. There she finds a peace she's never thought possible.

When Shelly eventually meets the man she will marry, she thinks her life will finally be everything she's ever dreamed of, but the lingering wounds of her past—and new, devastating medical complications—shake her faith. After all she's endured, can she rise from the ashes and trust God once more?

You'll be transformed by Shelly's riveting memoir about how love, forgiveness, courage, determination—and the guidance of angels—can overcome even the greatest anguish.

She watched as her mother's body was removed from the ashes of her home . . .

Unbearable loss, dangerous secrets, and a life-threatening illness endangered her only hope for a future . . .

...


Advance Praise

"In addition to the reviews on my website www.beautifulashesmemoir.com, here are some reviews from a few of my advanced readers. 

Amy Benson – Orem, Utah

Beautiful Ashes will grab your heart and your eyeballs—good luck putting it down! It is almost unbelievable that one person could go through so much, and yet because she experienced so much, her eventual triumph over her struggles is that much more exquisite. Anyone trying to get over just about any type hardship will identify with and find comfort in her incredible story.  

I was often moved to tears and also would yell out in disbelief at certain points in the narrative. I found myself cheering when good prevailed and was deeply grateful for the angels in her life (earthly and other-worldly). I am an avid reader, and this book is definitely one of my all-time favorites.

Barbara Carlesimo – Grand Rapids, Michigan

I just finished reading this awe-inspiring book, Beautiful Ashes. I could not put it down until the end. I have no words to express my thoughts right now. I’m lost in Shelly’s life story and how incredibly strong she is and how much her faith in God kept her going throughout it all. All the miracles ….

It’s amazing how strong, faith inspired, determined, conquering whatever life has thrown her way, forced to grow up at a tender young age, surrounded by strong women who never left her side, gaining an amazing career, fighting a terrible disease, having miracles lovingly sent to her from God, and through it all, finding the one true love and family she so deserved. 

I know I will be reading this amazing life story many times over. All our love to you Shelly and your beautiful family. May you have a long healthy and Blessed life.

Edward Ssekirabi – Kampala, Uganda

Knowing and meeting someone doesn't mean knowing their story. I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to read Beautiful Ashes by Shelly Edwards Jorgensen. God gave Shelly gifts that not so many have had an opportunity to possess. 

Shelly's story is full of hardships, trauma, assaults, loneliness, heartbreaks and betrayals. It takes a strong mind and a firm faith to endure such overwhelming and difficult times. God indeed created us in His own image but did not make all of us warriors. Beautiful Ashes points out the heart of a true warrior. Shelly, lost everything but found what she deserved, ""that's love and family"", above all she found faith in Christ.

Emily Stallings – Springville, Utah

If you liked the books, “Glass Castles” by Jeanette Walls or “Educated” by Tara Westover, you will be drawn and compelled to read “Beautiful Ashes”. There’s so much to unpack in this narrative, please do yourself a favor and keep a box of tissues handy, and plan to call in sick for work because you won’t be going to bed or doing much of anything except reading all day and night.  

Beautiful Ashes reminds us that no one is immune from pain, no one lives fairy tale lives free of sorrow and challenge, and there are no time limits on healing and happiness.

Tara Childs – Santa Maria, California

This book will pull you in and leave you feeling more resolve to find joy in the midst of trial. Shelly’s story is gripping and devastating, but even more amazing is her raw, authentic voice. She demonstrates incredible bravery in sharing her story, leaving you feeling inspired to be stronger. The story is so beautiful because of how she has learned to find beauty in the sorrow in her life. She is an incredible example of looking for God’s hand in everything. After reading this book, I feel more able to look at my trials with gratitude. I would recommend to anyone who has been through hard things and wants to look at life through a new lens.

Jenna Jorgensen – San Francisco, California

Beautiful Ashes is a story of loss, but more essentially a story of resilience, and hope. In it you will find Shelly's powerful history of overcoming the most unimaginable circumstances, rebuilding a life of fullness in the truest sense of the word.

Allison Yakonich – Las Vegas, Nevada

This book will take your breath away…it certainly stole mine. This is one of those unforgettable stories, but it is more than just that. While painful at times to read what the author had endure, her strength and resilience were so inspiring. It puts life into perspective and gives hope to those overcoming any trial or difficulty. It also provides an eye-opening account into domestic abuse which helps bring this issue into the forefront where we can continue to learn more about how it affects so many lives and how we can help others suffering. This was by no means an easy read; however, it is critical we understand better the world of domestic violence and how it impacts families. And of course, how all struggles can be overcome through faith and hope.

Charisse Simonian – Los Angeles, California

“Beautiful Ashes” is a heartbreaking memoir that reminds us there can be triumph over tragedy. How someone can overcome such trauma and find happiness in life is a testament to the importance of faith, family and friendships. This book will first pain you to pieces, and then will inspire you to harness the gift that is grief.

Debbie Hafen – Southfield, Michigan

Beautiful Ashes is riveting, horrific, and hopeful. Shelly has taken the awful experiences she has had throughout her life and shown how she has used them to become better and not bitter - which would have been much easier. This heart-rending book will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next and will have you pulling for Shelly to make it through. It is a story of resilience and ultimately triumph, and, oh, what a ride! Kudos to Shelly for sharing her story to give hope to others who suffer injustices and long for peace.

Sarah Robinson – Wilmslow, England

Truly moving story! So proud of Shelly for coping so well along a very difficult journey and coming out the other side triumphant. Very inspiring to others in similar situations! 

Julie Nicholls – Dearborn, Michigan

I was completely invested in Shelly's story from the first chapter of the book. She tells her story in such a way that I had a difficult time putting it down once I started. Every so often I would find myself closing the book but then immediately returning to it only a few minutes later. The story never felt like it dragged and had me full of anticipation what crazy thing would happen next. 

Beautiful Ashes is a story of overcoming time and time again. It was amazing to see how much Shelly went through and still chose faith and happiness when it would have been easy to give into the darkness that surrounded her. 

There are many lessons that can be learned from Shelly's story, and I will refer back to her mindset time and time again in my future. I can't wait for the book to be published and I can share it with my friends and family.

Linda Miller – Rochester Hills, Michigan

An amazing story of strength, courage and faith! I felt like Shelly was talking to me. So many emotions - sad, hurt, lonely and tears while reading. Beautiful Ashes will make you evaluate your relationships and think of those close to you. I was inspired by Shelly’s ability to move forward in life with God and her mom guiding her. I will be reading Beautiful Ashes again to get inspired, to lean on my faith and to advocate for those in tough situations. I am truly Blessed to know Shelly and witness her strength and miracles.

Mary Jane Wetmore – Fredericksburg, Virginia

I read this amazing book last weekend, and out of 10 stars, it is a 20! So many things of what the author wrote resonated with many of my own personal traumas and tragedies in my life, and I immediately felt a kinship with this wonderful woman. Her resilience and courage are awe inspiring and inspirational. Please make sure you read this book when it becomes available. You will love it! Warning: you WILL miss out on some sleep because you won't be able to put it down, so be well rested when you begin! Thank you, Shelly, for your courage and your kindness to share with others the deepest recesses of your heart. God Bless you always.

"In addition to the reviews on my website www.beautifulashesmemoir.com, here are some reviews from a few of my advanced readers. 

Amy Benson – Orem, Utah

Beautiful Ashes will grab your heart and your...


Available Editions

ISBN 9798985012002
PRICE US$9.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 43 members


Featured Reviews

This is such an incredible story, a memoir about daunting loss and trials in life. A struggle to hold onto hope and faith after Shelly lost her mother in a house fire at age 15. But that wasn’t the end of her challenges by far. Her story is inspiring and can give us all hope. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

This book is an amazing memoir for what Shelley went through as a child and as she grew up. Shelly's biggest obstacle happened when she was 15 and her mother was killed in a house fire. However, this was only the beginning of her struggles. Shelly faces a lot over her life and this book and we learn how she was able to overcome a lot. Anyone dealing with any kind of struggle in their life can relate to how hard it can be to overcome and this story shows us that you can overcome anything.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC of, Beautiful Ashes, by Shelly Edwards Jorgenson. Shelly had a difficult childhood with an abusive father, but did he really kill her mother? This was a heavy book emotionally. Her father is not a nice man very manipulative and self centered.

Was this review helpful?

A very emotive and excellently written autobiographical story.
Wow, what an incredible woman this author is!
Not only has her life been tragic in many ways, but she writes so inspirationally about how she has learnt to overcome those tragedies.
A wonderful read.

Was this review helpful?

Gosh. My thoughts on this memoir, where to start. It was devastating, eloquent, and desperately sad. What an exceptional story and an incomprehensible thing to endure. I knew from the first page that I would be unable to put this book down and I stayed up late into the night reading, as the author navigated the turmoil and dysfunction leading up to an unspeakable event, and the heartache and chaos that was left behind as she tried to pick up the pieces.

It was haunting, thought-provoking, yet often heartwarming as it chronicled the author’s spiritual journey, wrestling with a belief in God in the face of trauma and violence. I felt I gained so much from this book. Beautiful ashes, as it was so aptly titled, couldn’t have captured the essence any better. 5 stars. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this incredible book.

Was this review helpful?

This book was very compelling and emotional. It was so sad reading about all of the trauma that Shelley went through. It is inspiring to read how she overcame so many trials in her life and overcame them through her faith.
Thank you to Netgalley & BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The last few years I’ve really gotten into memoirs and it’s really special when you find one that hits you right in your feelings. There is a lot of trauma here and I know that will be off putting to people who only want happy things to read but if you want deep and gritty true tribulations, this is it! I think people will talk about this story. It really touches you, Shelley’s story will make you feel something.

Was this review helpful?

"Beautiful Ashes" follows in the same vein as your Glass Castles and your Educateds -- it is a narrative memoir about how the trauma in one's childhood shapes our identity, and how one recovers from it.

Shelly's childhood was fraught with domestic abuse; despite living a comfortable life in terms of finances, Shelly's father was an alcoholic who abused her mom physically and verbally. When their house burns down one night and Shelly's mother's body is discovered, her father is immediately suspected. As the story unravels, Shelly must grapple with her guilt for not admitting to her father's abuse and threats towards her mother; her fear of being orphaned by her mother to her murder and her father to his potential imprisonment; and her terror of continuing to live with her abusive father. As the reader watches her grow through her young adult life into college and finally into a woman with an established career and future, it seems like something is always waiting around the corner for her -- sickness, death, sexual assault, financial stress, among too many other things.

I generally read nonfiction quite slowly in small doses; however, the focus on the larger themes and not simply the crime central to the story helped me remain engaged. I ended up reading this book in three sessions, including the last 40% in one sitting! The prose throughout is engaging, but in the early chapters there were moments I felt the intentionality of capturing the reader's attention and interest with descriptive details. I was almost ready to have to give up on it after reading the first chapter, but I'm glad I kept going. The prose evened out as the book continued, with a healthy mix of reflective, figurative sections combined with the cold hard facts.

One of the main beats in this book is Shelly's religion. As an obedient Catholic in her teen years, attending church mainly because of her mother, Shelly turns to Mormonism after discussing the concept of prayer with her friend, Sabrina. I really enjoyed this section, and most of Shelly's early descriptions of finding her identity through her religion. I enjoyed seeing how religion helped her cope and overcome some of her trauma. But towards the end the religious messages were too overt for me that it felt almost preachy (which feels trite saying, but that's how I felt as a non-religious reader). There are similar books that tackle the religious piece much more effectively without making me feel like I'm trying to be persuaded into feeling the same way about God or religion. While I don't believe that was the intention of the author, it felt like a byproduct of the amount of air time that gets towards the last half of the book.

If you enjoy true crime, but also need some character development, this is the book for you. The amount of trauma Shelly faces is heavy to read at times, so make sure you're prepared for that kind of content. But I highly recommend reading this one!

Was this review helpful?

I found this to be a powerful book as it highlighted the importance of resilience. It was hard to fathom that the author could have experienced so much tragedy and difficulty in her life and yet still remain positive. She has my admiration and I appreciate the opportunity to have an insight into her life.

Thank you for the opportunity to read 'Beautiful Ashes'.

Was this review helpful?

Beautiful Ashes by Shelly Edwards Jorgensen is an inspiring true story of how faith was able to bring one from constant heartache to happiness. Five stars.

Was this review helpful?

wow, this was a heartbreaking and beautiful read! I am nervous about writing this review because I feel like my words absolutely cannot do it justice, especially when it's a memoir. How can you criticize someone's personal story?!
When I finished this book, I thought "wow, Shelly really could not catch a break!" From losing her mother at 15 when her alcoholic and abusive father was the one who murdered her to the many health complications she faced later in life, I see that Shelly is so strong. I would describe her to have superhuman strength and resilience despite whatever crap life throws at her. It blows my mind how strong her faith in the Lord is and I am glad she eventually was able to find peace with everything and continue with her life as a friend, as a wife, as a step-mom and so much more.

I am so glad I was able to find this book here on Netgalley. Looking forward to pub day so that I can get my own physical copy of this beautiful book!

Was this review helpful?

A very heartbreaking autobiographical book. It was beautifully written and such a wonderful read. I could not put this one down.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book. It is a story that is written with alot of heart and brings inspiration to a life that seems nothing is good anymore. This is my first book by this author which I really enjoyed and look forward to reading more from her in the future. I enjoyed this author's writing style as well as her attention to details throughout the story. Her characters are not only engaging but also bring twists and turns to a new level. This is a fast paced story that was hard to put down and kept me turning pages to the end. I found this book hard to put down and left me wanting to know more. Shelly is a great, strong character that pulled me in from the beginning. Her story is one that is not the prettiest but is certainly is inspirational.. She has not had the best of life but will she find the most important thing in life? I really enjoyed her character and what she brought to the story. She pulled at my heart strings in parts and is my favorite of the story. This is worth the pick up and I highly recommend it.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a very emotional story and so wonderfully written. I found myself feeling as she was feeling, and wanting everything to be alright.
I was so happy that she found God, and that her religion gave her comfort in all of the trials and tribulations. I soon realized that it was so important for her, and helped her to cope with what, was sometimes a very difficult life. I feel so honored to have read Shelly's story, despite the losses of much loved people, and the circumstances that gripped her relentlessly. I wish her all the best for continuing happiness in the remainder of her life.

Was this review helpful?

I encourage everyone to read this amazing true story. It is Shelly Edwards Jorgensen's testament of overcoming life's toughest adversaries. Trust me, you don't want to miss it!

Shelly Edwards life was forever changed at 15-years-old when her alcoholic father (James Arnold Edwards) killed her mom (Marlene Edwards), then set fire to their home in an attempt to cover the crime. The immediate shock of a homicide is beyond difficult to cope with. However, victim's families are equally affected by years of ripple effects resulting from the misdeed. In this heart-wrenching account, Shelly shares her journey.

This book is a difficult topic, but so worthy of high praise. For Shelly, it represents a lifetime of loss, grief, guilt, love and forgiveness. Shelly has my utmost respect for having the courage to share her deepest pain with the public. Plus, she is a fantastic author and the book is really well-written.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Standing Ovation Shelly Edwards Jorgensen!!

Thank you NetGalley and BooksGoSocial, for sharing this outstanding book with me for review. It really touched my heart! "Beautiful Ashes" will be published April 6,2022.

Was this review helpful?

This book was sent to me by Netgalley electronically for review. It is an amazing story. How one woman can survive all she did is just that...amazing...when reading the book, sometimes I thought I was reading a novel as the writer is that gifted. However, one person could not certainly suffer so many wrong doings. She did. She wrote about them. Don’t miss this book. It is thought provoking and poignant while still horrendous also. I don’t necessary agree with the religious aspect of the book, but this is nonfiction, so it is not my place to agree or disagree. It happened. She told her grief journey.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me the Advanced Review Copy of this gut wrenching but inspiring memoir.
While reading this book,many times I was astonished by the courage of the author to have gone through such intense trauma throughout her childhood and still trying to move past it.I cannot imagine how she relieved everything to write this book.
This book reinstates the fact that however dark the night maybe ,there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that in the midst of complete darkness, a sliver of hope is enough for us to hold on to life for a little longer.
As this book begins during the era of the 70's,it is clear that in that era the society despised divorcees due to which women were compelled to withstand so many familial issues and not utter a word.
This book is a clear testament of the fact that with grit, determination and unfaltering faith in God,a person can actually rise from its own ashes having lost every possible thing.
It is very rightly said that relationships are not formed by blood but emotionally and by being with each other through thick and thin.
This book is definitely not for the faint hearted as the author life story is full of instances where her suffering starts to affect your mental health as it includes every possible triggers including suicide and drugs.
While reading this book ,I felt as if I know the author closely and wished God to have mercy on her.

Was this review helpful?

This was a hard book to read, because of all the heartache and horrible events that happened in her life. You want a rally behind her and get her The justice she deserves. I felt like I went on the roller coaster of a journey with her. I gave it a four only because it jumped around so much, it made it hard to follow along sometimes.

Was this review helpful?

I was lucky to preview the amazing true crime book “Beautiful Ashes. The book is beautifully written and is a heart-breaking true crime story of Shelly’s life. It grabbed me straight away and it was such an emotional page turner that constantly made you think of the brave, heart wrenching and honest life of Shelly. A must read for people that enjoy this genre and that some people are truly amazing to overcome whatever comes their way. Shelly is truly an inspiration to everyone..

Was this review helpful?

Shelly's story is full of hardships, trauma, assaults, loneliness, heartbreaks and betrayal. Fascinating… A haunting story that captures your attention and your heart from beginning to end

Was this review helpful?

This is a really harrowing yet honest story of a tragic childhood. The author really did go through a tough time but I really admired her courage to despite a harrowing experience she still grew as a person despite the loss she suffered of both parents. The one she loved and the one she believed her dad to be.

A fabulous novel with a strong message from an equally strong lady.

Was this review helpful?

This book is an amazing story of redemption. I could not put it down. Shelly’s storytelling is compelling, engaging, and awe-inspiring. A must read for anyone who has a pulse!

Was this review helpful?

Fifteen is such a fragile age for any teenager. Shelly’s world is turned upside with one house fire and murder. As her little mind processing this information she must come to grips realizing her father is the culprit. Her journey is long and sad but with her faith she is stronger than she thinks.

Was this review helpful?

There are stories that wreck you, tear your heart out, and yet, in the midst of all the tragedy, you still find a glimmer of hope. This is one of those stories. Shelly, precious precious Shelly, is someone who was dealt a horrible set of circumstances. Not once. Not twice. Quite honestly, I stopped counting in disbelief as I continued to read her horrendous life in excruciating detail, told in snippets of memories during certain important horrifying segments, as well as flashbacks to memories snatched out of the depths of startling realizations, as well as the glimmer of hope that not only kept growing, but kept Shelly going as well. Hurt people hurt people, unless, and until, you decide enough is enough and that circle is broken with you. Shelly, your story is so very tragic, and yet, thank you for having the courage to share it with the world. The fact you are still standing speaks volumes.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*

Was this review helpful?

The author does a phenomenal job of gripping the readers and keeping them hooked to it through their tears. This is an awe-inspiring story of Shelley, her loss, her abuses, her pains and her coming up and still being strong through it all.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. Shelleys tragic yet inspiring & ever hopeful story of loss & abuse will reel you in,and not let go till the last page...not even then. It will stay with you. I could write pages of a review,such is the courage in this book.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book has had a profound effect on me. Such bravery and so beautifully written. A definite inspirational read. Recommended.

Was this review helpful?

When Shelly was fifteen, her alcoholic father murdered her mother which resulted in the loss of her childhood home, family, and life as she knew it. The book continues to follow Shelly’s life for years to come through the good and the bad.

This memoir was beautifully written given the, at times horrifying content; Shelly does not shy away from the gruesome events that have taken place throughout her life. She’s laid everything out on the table including her thoughts and feelings past and present. The biggest take away was how thought-provoking I found it. There are certain things in the book that hit close to home for me as I’ve been through them and struggled with the thoughts she had during those times, it made me take a step back and re-evaluate how those thoughts have impacted me. I personally wouldn’t classify this book as a true crime novel like I thought it was going in, I would say it’s more memoir than true crime. I’m not a religious person and at times I skimmed over the chapters that were focused on it. Overall, it’s a heart breaking and horrifying story, yet a beautiful story of self discovery and survival.



Thank you netgalley and Booksgosocial for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Beautiful Ashes
A True Story of Murder, Betrayal, and One Woman's Search for Peace
by Shelly Edwards Jorgensen
Pub Date 06 Apr 2022
BooksGoSocial
Biographies & Memoirs | True Crime




I am reviewing a copy of Beautiful Ashes through BooksGoSocial and Netgalley:



Shelly watched as they removed her Mothers body from the ashes of her home.


Her life was filled with Unbearable loss, dangerous secrets, and a life-threatening illness endangered her only hope for a future . But through it all, she found her faith.



Shelly Edwards was fifteen, when her Alcoholic Father murders her Mother she loses her home, her family, and the only life she's ever known.
Abandoned, broken from abuse and assault, facing poverty, and gripped with fear for her life, Shelly struggles to dismantle decades of lies.




But even into the deepening darkness that follows, God sends heavenly gifts, leading Shelly to a newfound faith. There she finds a peace she's never thought possible.



After Shelly eventually meets the man she will marry she thinks her life will finally be everything she's ever dreamed of, but the lingering wounds of her past and new, devastating medical complications shake her faith. After all she's endured, can she rise from the ashes and trust God once more?




I give Beautiful Ashes five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!

Was this review helpful?

“My trust, my innocence, my wholeness, my family, my home. It was all gone. Every shattering memory punctured me with feelings of worthlessness.”

Beautiful Ashes is a memoir that begins with Shelly losing her mother in a tragic house fire/possible murder by her father that then continues to follow her journey through life as she continues to fight each new battle that is thrown her way. The story will pull at your heart strings if you have ever lost a parent as she explains her grief and the moments of learning what it means her mother is dead. You will learn of the stories of growing up in a household with abuse from an alcoholic father and later be brought back to the early days of starting out and trying to get through college. Afterwards, you go through heartbreak of love lost and health woes. Throughout this story one word continued to come to mind, resilience. This girl had the world against her over and over again and she struggled but she always found a way to show grace, to show she is a fighter, to find her faith and lean on it with everything she had.
Beautiful ashes is not only a story of tragedy but a story of hope and finding the resilience to get your happy ending to the life you want.
*
*
Did not like that this was pitched as a true crime read. Yes, it had true crime in it but felt it should be classified more as a religious memoir.

Was this review helpful?

Shelly loses her home and her precious mom in a fire that destroyed her home when she was fifteen. Her violently abusive father tries to cover up her murder. Shelly recalls fights between her parents in vivid detail and snippets of conversations between her father and others and realizes something about her mom's death is very unnatural. Not only that but what she sees in her house after the fire haunts her. So do memories. Imagine knowing your father killed your mother. What she survives aside from these atrocities is also miraculous...the list of trauma and challenges is painfully long. Though the details and stories written in this book are excruciating to read at times, there are glimpses of hope and faith and moments of joy which can only be found in God.

Shelly's story is told in various times as a teenager and adult with many flashbacks to when she was a child. She describes her familial relationships with her parents, sister and extended family. She later becomes a manufacturing engineer. But I could almost feel the despairing helplessness in her words at times.

True Crime readers ought to read this harrowing book. Do know that there are numerous abuse triggers. What the writer went through is beyond description so it is not easy to read. Her faith in God does not make her perfect but enables her to let go.

My sincere thank you to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for the honour of reading this incredibly difficult and sobering true story, one which fills me anew with gratitude for what I have.

Was this review helpful?

I always love reading these kind of memoirs.
I find them so inspirational that people can have such terrible experiences and yet manage to come out the other side so strong. This book is no different and I highly recommend it.

Was this review helpful?

This book moved me in ways I never expected. Shelly was very brave and exceedingly strong when she felt the weakest.

Through more horrific events than one person should ever have to deal with Shelly dug deep into herself to find the tiniest pebble of hope. Giving that small sediment to God allowed him to hand her back peace and love. Shelly is such an amazing inspiration both in her suffering and her ability to overcome. This book could help so many. Thank you for sharing a story with us that for so many years you felt you had to hide.

The story draws the reader in immediately. A fire resulting in the death of a loved one must be the worst thing imaginable, and it is. However, the book continues to capture the reader’s interest as other equally devastating events continue to plague this young girl, far into womanhood. Many biographies have a starting event and spend the entire book rehashing it from different perspectives. This book is different. It tells the life story of a person who just keeps getting knocked down, time and time again. To say the book is interesting because of misfortune seems like taking pleasure from one’s disasters. To the contrary, while the events are tragic and emotional, like seeing a bad accident, what Shelly learns from them and how she rises from them to become a person that I would like to be is the true gift. She says it best towards the end of her biography, "God allowed me to lose everything in fiery traps to He could restore my soul from the ashes."

An amazing story containing so many awful experiences that you will feel it must be fiction. What an honor to be able to hear it. A great book to read as an individual and an even more powerful story to discuss as a group.


I received an ARC from BooksGoSocial through NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book. I am voluntarily submitting this review and am under no obligation to do so.

Was this review helpful?

I am still wiping the tears from my eyes as I write this review.

This is a true story of tragedy, heart break, and a family torn apart. Shelly Edwards Jorgensen's true testament of her childhood at the hands of an alcoholic father who murdered her mother.

Think back to when you were 15 years old. As a woman, I know at that time I needed my mother more than anything. I can not imagine having had her ripped away from me with zero explanation. A father is supposed to love and nurture you. Teach you how a man is supposed to treat a woman. A woman he vowed to love.

Not only did Shelly's father murder her mother but he also set fire to their home to cover up his crime. So within hours, Shelly lost her mother and the only home she ever knew.

This is a very difficult book to read however it is also a story of overcoming obstacles and coming out on top .

Loss, guilt, grief, and ultimately, forgiveness.

What Shelly went through, no human should ever have to withstand. This story is gripping and beautiful.

Not only was the book an emotional roller coaster but it was also extremely well written. Shelly Edwards Jorgensen knows how to conduct an audience and is a force to be reckoned with, on and off the paper.

Was this review helpful?

First, I want to thank Shelly Edwards Jorgensen, Books Go Social and NetGalley for this book so I may provide you with this review.

WOW! Shelly Edwards Jorgensen needs to be commended for being brave and sharing her heartbreaking story in Beautiful Ashes A True Story of Murder, Betrayal, and One Woman's Search for Peace. Even though her story was hard to read at times it was beautifully written. This is definitely a book that should go onto your TBR list as it is a 5 star read.

Shelly dedicates this book to her amazing and loving mother, who sacrificed all she had to support her in her life goals. She inspired her to write this book to help others overcome the adversity in their lives.

My heart went out to Shelly for all the pain, heartbreak and tragic loss. Nobody should have to go through all that she endured. However, it made her a stronger person and the woman she is today.

Shelly’s book touches on some very important issues such as violence, rape, abuse, alcoholism, etc.

Many times in the book I became livid with some of the characters and their actions to the extreme where I was yelling at my Kindle.

I loved how Shelly incorporated pictures of herself and family members in Beautiful Ashes. It made the story even more personal and we could put names with faces.

Even in the darkness there was light. Many times I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear. Her Mom said that everything was going to be ok and it was.

Shelly wrote this book because she is at a point in her life where she wants to help others. It has been a long road for her however she has learned and grown in ways unimaginable. Now her focus is on helping others gain the knowledge and understanding that she has and hopefully help people find their path to healing and happiness.

Shelly’s wish is that her message reaches the bruised and heavy hearts of fellow survivors.

Was this review helpful?

**HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY**
(5.0)

Beautiful Ashes is such a powerful well-written memoir. Shelly Edwards Jorgensen is able to really show strong emotion and traumatic experiences that make the reader feel.

When picking up this book, I knew to some extent what I was about to read, but I did not expect to be so drawn to it right from the start.

At the beginning, Shelly’s life starts off in the time of the fire that her father had started in order to burn down her childhood home, as well as, her mother who was inside. She is 15 at the time of the father, and with her mother now gone, Shelly and her sister Lisa are stuck with her abusive murdering father. But not for long…

To be honest, as unfortunate as it is, the tragedies that are brought to attention and talked about in this book, are all in a domino effect, one after another.

With that said, Shelly is so strong, brave, courageous, and full of fight, which is truly motivating and eye-opening to see due to everything she has shared that she has gone through. What she went through from start to finish (in the book, not in her life) is more than anyone should ever endure. It’s truly amazing and inspiring how much she dug deep into her faith and held onto hope in order to overcome a big part of her life.

Beautiful Ashes is something I would recommend to a reader who is one that cares to hear someone’s truly authentic story. It took a ton of courage from Shelly to share a lot of the information stated on the pages of this book, and I am beyond honored to be one of the people to have read it and heard her story.

Thank you NetGalley, The Edgeworth Group, and Shelly for an ARC of this book!

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: