Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Review: Love, Charleston

Love, Charleston is a difficult book to describe. It definitely wasn’t the historical fiction novel I expected. It’s a contemporary story made up of the interrelated stories of a few families living in historic Charleston.

The first character we meet is a widower, Episcopal priest with a young daughter. He learns that St. Michael’s church in Charleston may be calling him to be their priest and must prayerfully discover if that’s where God wants him to be.

Next we meet three sisters. Two are married. One is a successful doctor married to another successful doctor and expecting their third child. Her life seems ideal. Another is a writer married to an artist—a life she loved until their financial struggles begin keeping them from providing all she believes their daughter deserves from them as their child. The single sister is a bell ringer at St. Michael’s desperately trying to determine God’s will for her life. Should she remain in Charleston as she thought God told her to or give up on that thought and move on?

As their stories progress, taking both anticipated and unexpected turns, the three sisters lean on each other as they have all their lives, learning to handle whatever comes as it comes with thankfulness for whatever blessings they find. It is what it is, a snapshot of a crucial year in these particular characters' lives.

Thank you, Thomas Nelson Publishers, for sending this book for my review.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review: Anne Bradstreet

I love meeting new, old people through biographies. The story of Anne Bradstreet did not disappoint me. I'd never heard of this early pioneer woman, but her story was intriguing and well-written. Author D.B. Kellogg not only researched her story well, but also wove interesting historical and cultural details into the text naturally. I enjoyed meeting Anne's family and society as I read her story, learning what was important to her, the challenges she faced as a woman in a new land, and what motivated her to write poetry.

Born in England, Bradstreet was one of the first New England colonists. Reluctant to leave her home, she didn't want to stay without her family of origin. Her husband felt it best to migrate, too, so Anne left the life she knew, trusting God to help her and her loved ones settle safely into life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Anne's story is of a courageous colonist, wife, mother, Puritan, and poet. It's a story of illness and other challenges overcome. It's the story of a woman who admired Queen Elizabeth, modelling some of her stands, while worshipping God and expressing her life through poetry.

Thank you, Thomas Nelson Publishers, for sending this book for my review that I could meet and learn from this extraordinary woman.

Book Review: Still House Pond

I loved everything about the book, Still House Pond. The setting was beautiful and author Jan Watson described it so well that I actually felt I was there witnessing events as they unfolded. The characters were people I'd like to meet and get to know, so I loved reading their story. The plot was complex and unpredictable, yet not shocking or horrific or disturbing. Watson told me enough to keep me from worrying about the characters, yet kept me curious about how things would unfold for them each moment. I almost read the entire book in one sitting--that's unusual for me.

Evidently, Still House Pond is a sequel of sorts, building a new story in the lives of characters previously introduced. But I didn't know this until I read the about the author section at the end of the book; the story is completely self-contained. I didn't feel like I had missed anything or notice that the author was referring back to previous stories from time to time. (But now that I know the other stories are out there, I'll look forward to reading them someday, too.)

If you enjoy a good story about interesting people who love and care about each other, I recommend Still House Pond to you.

Thank you, Tyndale House Publishers, for sending this historical Christian fiction book for my review!