The Gray Season


“The Gray Season” – An Inspirational Spiritual Journey – Fiction inspired by real life.

The Seasons of Our Life take us on a unique journey that shapes who we currently are and who we will become. This is the first in a series of compelling stories and it takes place during the Gray Season of Lily’s life. Gray defined is, “a color between black and white, as of ashes or an overcast sky.” Gray perfectly describes this impactful Season, a period beginning with two family member’s deaths and concluding with salvation in a small beachfront community on the Northern Oregon coast.

It seems like Lily had always been on a quest to fill that dark empty hole she felt in her heart. Fill it with what, she didn’t really know, but something vital was undeniably missing. Little did she realize, in early October of 2004, that life-changing events would unexpectedly put her on a path leading to the answers she had been searching for her entire existence.

“The night my father died, it was how I imagine a 9.0 earthquake would feel. It shook us all to the core and the total devastation was immeasurable. And it seemed as if the earth slightly shifted on its axis.” Lily Eastbrook Rhodes

“The Gray Season” began coming to life on paper in the Spring of 2012, along with the inspiration for seven additional stories to come in the future. This first story is dedicated to the author’s Father and Mother-in-Law, whose deaths twenty days apart set life-altering events in motion.

Kindle eBook is available at Amazon Kindle
Softcover is available at Amazon Books
NOOK Book at Barnes and Noble

Signed print copies are available from me personally with PayPal. Tell me how you would like your book signed in the special instructions to seller box or by email.
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The beautiful cover artwork for “The Gray Season” is a watercolor creation by my dear friend Patty Thurlby.
The precious interpretation of the Eastbrook Family is the work of my uncle Tom Stone.


The Gray Season Illustration Copyright

The Eastbrook Family
Beachville, Oregon July 4th 1958
Nick and Ruby
Lily, Nicholas, Rachel, Joey and Kelly Ann


The Gray Season Map

Beachville, Oregon


“The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation” by Dianna Donnely is not only a story about how the death of two family members only a few weeks apart caught two families completely off guard, but it records the wonderful guidance and nurturing that took place within the lives of those closest to them. Lily Eastbrook Rhodes’ story shows how, at each turn, there was another “God Thing” or “Open Door” that led from one seemingly impossible event to another; and how each of those things added up to not only healing for the family, but healing for individuals as well. The events that take place bring Lily out of the high stress corporate world and back to her childhood hometown
and ultimately to the “Shop of Her Dreams.” Though the healing improves the lives of the individuals and of Lily in particular, there is an ultimate healing; a healing for the emptiness inside that has plagued Lily since she was a child.

“We will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands (2 Corinthians 5:1, New Living Translation).” As the story of Lily Eastbrook Rhodes unravels in this inspired story of her family, “The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation” by Dianna Donnely, the reader will come to realize that the things that we see falling into place as we go through open doors are those things which God has been building for us in His Kingdom. Honest, compelling and inspiring; “The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation” is a marvelously written chronicle of how those things which seem to be the end of our happiness, turn out to be our deliverance.
Bil Howard for Readers’ Favorite Rating: 5.0 stars

The Gray Season. I expected a novel, but what I found was profound ministry between its covers as the story, as it played out, seemed more and more like my own. The female lead, Lily, begins by telling of her father’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent death. It had a major impact on me.  You see, my own father passed away in January of this year after a few years of chronic terminal illness. I could relate to the story of hospitals, ups & downs of a loved one’s health, and families coming together to help. Helping her mother get through the next few years was a large part of the story, but Lily and husband Ryan learned a lot and grew and healed as well. Lily learned to rely on doors opened by God to lead her to the next step in her journey, and to walk away from the closed doors. If it wasn’t God’s way, she didn’t want it. Pertinent passages from the Bible are scattered throughout and it brings true comfort to read them.

Through following God’s leading, Lily met a very special friend who helped her make a critical life decision and discover what she had been searching for her entire life. And God made it clear, too, when one phase was over and it was time to move on to meet new needs. Just enough is hinted about the next phase of life to create anticipation and a desire to read the next installment! In 2014 the next book in the series will be published–the first in a series of rainbow-color named volumes.

I would recommend The Gray Season to anyone struggling with the death of a family member or loved one. Personally, it helped me validate my own feelings about the death of my father. If you have a friend in this situation, it will also help you know how to minister to them. Dianna is a skillful author, painting descriptive word pictures to complement the story. The story flows well and held my interest to the end, or rather, beyond the end. Just as I was wondering what was next, the book was finished! So I will have to read the next one to see what happens.
Mary DeKok Blowers, Christian Book Reviewer Rating: 5.0 stars

The passing of a parent is something that everyone must face, but few are well-equipped to handle the emotions that arise. Dianna Donnely has provided wonderful insight into the process of grief and coping with the devastation of loss in her book The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation, a fictional account of Lily Eastbrook Rhodes. Lily and her husband Ryan are confronted with the almost simultaneous diagnosis of cancer affecting both her father and his mother and spend almost one year trying to make the remaining time with their parents memorable and meaningful. Throughout the ordeal, Lily is searching for a deeper meaning in her life – a way to fill a hole that she can’t quite identify or understand. Through the acknowledgement of ‘Open Door’ moments where she allows herself to be led to do the right thing at the right time, Lily gets closer to knowing that God has a plan for her – all she has to do is to accept Jesus and have faith.

The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely offers gentle encouragement to anyone to open their heart to the love and comfort of Salvation through Jesus. Appropriately titled, The Gray Season represents a time in a person’s life when things seem bleak. Through quiet acceptance of heartache and heartfelt appreciation for the blessings in life, Lily is able to make peace with her circumstances by admitting true faith in God and accepting Jesus as her Savior. This book is wonderfully written without preaching. It serves as a suggestion and an invitation that anyone can follow to achieve a sense of purpose and peace, no matter what life has to offer.

Thank you for the gift of this wonderful story! It provides encouragement and
comfort to everyone who unfortunately experiences the same thing at some point. Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite Rating: 5.0 stars

Lily’s spiritual journey has many twists and turns but somehow she keeps an open heart. Dianna Donnely’s, The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation, describes grim health challenges along with charming and heartwarming moments. The wistful, gray painting of a cloudy day on the shore sets the scene for quiet reflection. Lily has been to church as she grows up but she has always wanted to know more. ”I’d always felt I believed in God, I simply had no idea how to experience His Presence.” She has been on a stressful, corporate career path since moving to the big city. Then Lily’s father, “Iron Nick,” is diagnosed with cancer and the family pulls together. Lily and her husband go back to the small, quirky town of Beachville, Oregon. The couple renovates the large, historic River Rock House in the process. She even opens a shop in town that features organic cotton clothing called Calla Lilies.

Dianna Donnely shows Lily responding to difficult circumstances with courage and humanity. Bible verses punctuate emotional milestones in an artful way. She promotes a healthy, organic diet for her family members in the book. I liked the description of the tangy, chicken stir-fry the best. She even includes a recipe for wholesome and hearty vegetable soup along with healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely gives humble testimony to Lily’s spiritual awakening. I’ll be looking forward to her next book in the series called The Yellow Season: A Rainbow Revelation.
Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers’ Favorite Rating: 4.0 stars

The Gray Season: The summer of Salvation written by Dianna Donnely is a novel offering encouragement in a time of loss. Lily expected perfection from herself. The stress of reaching for perfection brought on multiple health problems, growing numerous tumors in various parts of her body. Lily Marie Eastbrook Rhodes found her life changing in 2004 when her father, Nick, was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. In the midst of the Eastbrook drama came the news that Lily’s mother in law, Maggie, had cancer. Nick and Maggie passed away only twenty days apart. After loss comes the time of mourning, a time of dealing with emotions and changes in life. The most important change in Lily’s life was her introduction to Jesus Christ. She’d always thought of him as a wise man with a message but Priscilla, a new friend, explained what it means to be a Christian. “He is not just some man who was wise. He is the son of God. A Christian is a believer in Jesus Christ and His teachings, someone who is transformed by the spirit of God, not just someone who says yes to a set of beliefs or goes into a church.”

The Gray Season: The Summer of Salvation is an inspiring book. While it deals with death, grief and change, it also offers hope of salvation. Dianna Donnely is a talented author. I quickly connected with Lily, Priscilla and Ryan. I admired the way Lily and  Ryan were there for each other through their pain and loss. They were also supportive in each other’s career. I also found it heartwarming the way Lily reacted when Ruby began to date again. One of the lessons to be learned from this tale is that material objects hold little meaning or gratification. The author has provided scripture at the end of each chapter. Her ending words will stay with me for a very long time: “You don’t want to miss your miracles when they occur. Be sure your heart is open and you are actively seeking God, and that you honor Him each and every day.” I highly  recommend this book for anyone struggling with loss and change. You might just miss a blessing if you miss this tale.’
Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers’ Favorite Rating: 5.0 stars

The Gray Season – The Summer of Salvation by Dianna Donnely is a compelling novel. Lily loses her father to cancer. She and her husband have to help her mother overcome the loss and they go through the healing process together. The healing process fills the void in her heart that has been plaguing Lily for a long time and it gives the answers to questions that have been bothering her for a while. The book justifies the color in the title through the narration. The book is dedicated to the author’s father and mother-in-law, whose deaths change her perspective on life.

I would suggest this novel for those who are undergoing loss in their lives and are struggling to come to terms with it. The spiritual support in the book is given by passages quoted from the Bible throughout the story. That makes the story more uplifting. Though the story has many ups and downs, it slowly winds up in a positive ending where Lily is at peace with herself after battling her inner demons. Readers can relate to the author’s emotional turmoil and anxieties.

The author shows us how to find inner peace through her experiences. The metaphorical effect of the color of the gray season lingers throughout the story, which flows well. This book is the first of a series. The story will help readers meet challenges and problems head-on and handle things in a positive way, finally finding the much needed peace they seek. A spiritually uplifting story that can be a guide during times of pain and loss.
Reviewed by Mamta Madhaven for Readers’ Favorite Rating: 5.0 stars

All Readers’ Favorite Reviews


Inspiring book! Found it to be one which we could all benefit from. To learn ways to deal with life’s challenges from others experiences truly enlightening. Barbara Engelman

I recently read your book ‘The Gray Season the Summer of Salvation’. Whilst I have not experienced the difficulties you mentioned in the book I have had my own battles to get through and simply wanted you to know that your book inspired me to reflect on the ‘God Things’ that have happened . . . . So Thank You; am looking forward to the next books from you! Vicky A. Cox, Nottingham, England, UK

This is a very heart warming book.  We can identify with the family issues the author describes, and the anxiety and misgivings.  The author shows us a way out of our turmoil, and a path to peace. Valerie Farrell

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