Close to the Soul by Mary Jo Thayer


Through grit and grace, Carolyn Fandel survives being raped by someone she knows and trusts. She will not accept defeat—even when confronted by her rapist a second time. Instead, she uses her tragedy to help hundreds of others, some of whom she will never meet. Set in the era of the Vietnam War and the new feminism, this book will have you crying and cheering for Carolyn as she navigates the challenges of life after sexual assault.



Mary Jo Thayer is an American author, educator, and public speaker. In her early career, she taught high school English in New Kent County, Virginia. She earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University, while homeschooling her four children, and later taught moral theology at Lansing Catholic High School. She has been a keynote speaker at numerous events, appearing twice on the steps of the Michigan state capitol. She is a contributing author to Karen Ehman’s “A Life That Says Welcome” and Maureen Wittmann’s “The Catholic Homeschool Companion.” She is a natural extrovert and people lover. Mary Jo’s primary fun activities include grandchildren, hiking, traveling, and hosting gatherings. She is the eighth of eight children and grew up in Grand Ledge, Michigan. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and together they raised their four children with faith, courage, and enthusiasm. She began her journey as a novelist upon relocating to Grand Rapids in 2012. “Close to the Soul” is her first novel.