Saturday, October 31, 2015

Good-Bye, Lover by Rachel Britz

(Ambassador International 2015)

"...I was beginning to feel as though this call to adventure was more or less a quest to awaken from within." (Good-Bye, Lover, p.140)

Layered within this book are themes of awakening of spirit and love, following God's path, and trusting in Him. From a deep loss, Nora arrives at the cusp of womanhood where she finds some dreams are just that and some dreams are promises.

I enjoyed the way the lyrical prose brought to life the deep richness of the Irish brogue and its emerald beauty. Emotion and logic danced a waltz through each page. As Nora faced each day learning what it meant to be who she was called to be I felt as though I was walking that path along with her. I even cheered for her when her Irish temper allowed her to make a stand for what was right no matter the cost.

The title added another layer of symbolism. Giving up a dream doesn't mean giving up a life.

As Jack said, who I found to be the perfect allegory to Christ, "know this, even though you may not see me, I am always with you."

Nora learned that He would always be with her and new dreams would unfold.

Highly recommended for anyone. A perfect and sweet romantic tale written as from the days of old.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

From Driftwood to Sapphire by Kathy M. Howard

(Ambassador International 2015)

From Driftwood to Sapphire was not what I expected. Did I expect to read a good book? Yes. It delivered that. 
Did I expect to read a heartwarming story? Yes. 
Did I expect to read an in-depth look into a young woman's soul? No, not really.

This book contained powerful messages. At times it was heartwarming, but it was also heart-rendering. Soft nuances within the book tore at my emotions. Little things made me truly think and examine myself. 

In this story, the young woman, Samantha, was raised in an openly Christian environment where Christ is talked about without hesitation, where prayer is an involuntary reaction much like breathing, and where love and openness is prevalent. Every young person has a crucible that they must go through. It either tears them down, scars them, or makes them stronger. That crucible makes them look into their own souls and truly examine themselves. This book sure did that to me.

Faced with what Sam had to overcome, I honestly don't know if I could have done what Samantha did with such sophistication or forgiveness. At first I wasn't sure if this was even possible for someone to behave like this. Can a person truly forgive a horrible wrong done to them? Can a person truly see beyond the hurt of herself and accept the offending party with love? Kathy M. Howard shows these ups and downs of humanity in us all with precision and honesty.

The faith thread in the book could have come off as very heavy-handed and preachy, but Kathy M. Howard handles it with such a literary finesse that it enriches the book and the characters. This is a natural element in Sam's life and it is shown in a beautiful way.

I can definitely recommend this book to anyone and more importantly, it is a great book for any young teenager or young woman in today's society. Ms. Howard brings to life a true, honest to goodness, Christian woman who has her flaws and doubts and who overcomes two heart searing tragedies without forsaking her faith.  Very, very well done!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes

(Zondervan 2015)

I've always find myself enjoying any historical novel by Laurie Alice Eakes. Historical novels have always been synonymous with her name. It was Lady in the Mist that first introduced me to her midwife series. From the start, I read each one and proceeded to other novels written by her. With The Mountain Midwife, Laurie Alice Eakes reintroduces her midwife line and life in the Appalachians, but this time it is a foray into a contemporary setting.

And I have to say, Laurie Alice did a very good job. This book is more than a typical romance; it delves into a bit of mystery and suspense without overshadowing the budding romance between the two characters.

As usual, this author can make the reader pause and view a situation in a new light. What would I have done in this situation? What would I have felt if I found that out? How would I have reacted when faced with indecision or fear?

At first I didn't know what to think about Ashley and the decisions she would make or the way she would behave, but as I read more and more I came to understand the why because I could relate to the character. There's always a little bit in us that needs confirmation from others and sometimes that little bit grows into a want that is larger than we realize and it affects our actions.

Even the character Hunter will make the reader pause and consider "how do we see the world and the people in it". 

Laurie Alice Eakes also has a way that brings the sounds and sights of the Appalachians to life. This is one book that I found enjoyable and another book of Laurie Alice's that I truly am glad to own.