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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Four Book Reviews

YOUR LIFE A LEGACY by Joy DeKok is a guide for those who wish to write a memoir of some kind. She provides ideas, tips, how tos and then gives a sample from her own story. I found this short book helpful and inspirational. Personally, I enjoyed most her example section.

ANGEL IN THE SALOON by Jeanne Marie Leach is one of her “Brides of Glory Gulch” series. It is the story of a “good saloon” owner, Corrin Dannon, who inherits her late sister’s daughter. The blind niece, Amelia Jackson, enters her life before she has time to adjust to her new role as “mother” to a handicapped “daughter.” To Corrin’s pleasant surprise, Amelia is capable, independent, beautiful, and sweet. They begin to bond. Corrin’s friends (all men) don’t miss the new beauty in town either, and very soon several different men vie for her attention. Amelia is a Christian, and we see her close walk with the Lord throughout the book, even when she is confronted with some very difficult situations.
            Personally, I didn’t think Amelia’s blindness was authentic enough. (My mother taught at a school for the blind, and I grew up knowing many visually-impaired people.) There are instances where she is being guided on someone’s arm, yet she is using a cane at the same time. This doesn’t ring true. Also, people are captivated by her beautiful eyes. While sightless eyes can certainly have a pretty color, I don’t really think people would want to gaze into them. Because they are sightless, the eyes of the blind person are less controlled and less expressive. I’ve met truly beautiful people who can’t see, but their eyes are not their beauty. The author was authentic when Amelia uses expressions like, “I didn’t notice you were here” and “Let me see those.”
            Although ANGEL IN THE SALOON has some nice story lines and a very strong Christian appeal, the writing leaves much to be desired. The men featured in the story have very feminine emotions (fluttering hearts, racing pulses, etc. Please!). For me, the quality of the writing detracted from some very good ideas. After some excellent editing, this could be a good book.

CRISPEN’S POINT by JoHanna Reardon is a small town story, complete with nosy neighbors. A new young lady moves into town, and with her, new excitement. Charlotte Fyne has moved into Crispen’s Point for some peace and inspiration. She is a romance writer without a romance of her own . . . yet. The rest of the book chronicles Charlotte’s interaction with the people of the town and, of course, her new, personal romance.
            The book is predictable, but also well-written and a fun read.

THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME by Jen Stephens combines the somewhat complicated stories of Kate, Nathan, Adam, and Denise. Kate is a young widow with a small daughter. Adam and Denise are single parents, due to divorces, and Nathan is a single, successful doctor who’s in love with his sister-in-law, Kate.
            Throughout the book, there are various love triangles and confusions, which, thankfully, are completely resolved by the end of the book.
            I had a few problems with some of the theology in THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME and with some of the activities that seemingly strong believers had no problems participating in, like: going to dances, dating unsaved people, kissing first and getting to love later (or not), pool parties, etc. I also had a problem with the pastor’s asking women to lead the support group for single parents. (Why didn’t he ask a man or a married couple?)
            There is a solid Christian message in this book. Salvation is explained very well.
            I loved the portrayals of the single parents and their struggles with grief, abandonment, and self-blame. I liked that this book includes the struggles (and happiness) of the children involved, two of them young teens. I felt Ms. Stephens did an excellent job with these. I also enjoyed a new-to-me use of Scriptures about sport combined with actual sports analogies. Excellent. I loved Kate’s relationships with her parents, sister, and especially her grandpa. I also really enjoyed watching Nathan’s walk with God put into action, even when he had to sacrifice everything to please God.
            THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME is well-written and flows nicely. The stories are told sensitively and well. Overall, it is a good read, although I wouldn’t recommend it as a manual for how to do things biblically.

I admit I’m burnt out on Christian fiction at the moment. It’s time to get to something meatier, something that will challenge my soul. I have a new Kindle book in hand and will share a review of it when I’m done.

(Oh, I did read Jane Austen’s EMMA. I am always amazed at Austen’s ability to laugh at the way things were done in her own times. I would think it would be difficult to analyze her own surroundings so objectively and reflect them so skillfully. I like EMMA, especially because of Mr. Knightley. I’m sure there have been thousands of excellent reviews written about EMMA, so I’ll refrain from adding a poor one to them.)


  1. I appreciate your reviews. I'd not heard of any of these authors (well, except Austen, of course). I think I am going to look up that first one. I've wanted to write something of a memoir for posterity. My kids aren't particularly interested now, but they might be some day. I think it was around the time I had kids that I wanted to know more of our background. I especially wanted to know more about my grandmother, as she passed away when I was four.

    Mr. Knightly is my favorite Austen hero. I liked Emma's maturation, too.

  2. Do it, Barbara! It will be priceless for your sons. There's much they need to know and will want to know, especially as they get older. I'd like to read it myself!


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