Heart of the Country
Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward is a wonderful story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, and going home again. The story is told in a first person format through Faith, Luke, Olivia, Catherine, and Calvin the main characters in the story. Faith and Luke are happily married, living in New York City, and by the standards of the world they have it all but things fall apart when Luke becomes involved in a Ponzi scheme. Faith does not give Luke a chance to explain but immediately leaves for her fatherÃ¢ÂÂs home in North Carolina. FaithÃ¢ÂÂs father, Calvin, is delighted to have her home but her sister Olivia is quite upset with FaithÃ¢ÂÂs return. Luke is hurt by FaithÃ¢ÂÂs leaving and finally has to turn to his family for help in getting through all the problems caused by his desire to be on his own and to make his fortune. The story has the feeling of the Prodigal Son in the Bible and just like him, Faith and Luke have to face their problems head on and admit their mistakes and then ask for forgiveness from their families and God.
Rene did an excellent job in the development of the characters and all the scenes that took place in the story. For me the characters came to life and with the story being told in a first-person conversational style, I felt as if I were sitting and talking with each character. Scenes were so well developed that I could feel what was going on and I was right in the middle of the action. The struggles that Faith and Luke were having with each other and with their families was so well portrayed that I was shedding tears with them and urging them on to get their lives back on track. I liked the addition of CatherineÃ¢ÂÂs thoughts to the story for it helped to show why Faith and Olivia felt as they did about each other.
I highly recommend this book to all who like a love story with a good ending even if the couple have to go through hard times to reach the good times.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
November 5, 2013
A book about coming home
I glanced at the movie for this book before I started reading and I will be honest, I was worried I might not like the book. But I had to remind myself that books are almost always better than movies and that was the case for Heart of the Country.
I really enjoyed this modern telling of the prodigal. I liked being in the head of the older sister (Olivia) who stayed with her dad while her younger sister (Faith) left --something I can relate to personally -- and watching her heart soften and their relationship heal.
There is a very moving moment that brought me to tears (always a good sign that I like a book) when Luke's dad stands up for his son. A beautiful picture of what Christ does for us. It reminded me of how God uses me and my story, as messy as it is, to help others. I know He has my back and He's not ashamed of me because I am His daughter.
There are a few twists and turns in the plot that will having you flipping pages to find out what happens next and how God will heal Faith and Luke's marriage. This is a great Genesis 5020 story.
After reading the book I think I can appreciate the movie more and plan on giving it another chance now that I have a better understanding of the characters.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it as a great reminder of Christ's amazing love for us all.
A copy of this book was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
November 2, 2013
A heartfelt story of overcoming one's past.
Faith and Luke have a fairytale life... until Luke is arrested for being a part of a Ponzi scheme. He claims he wasn't involved, but admits to his knowledge of the scheme. Frustrated and angry, Faith packs a suitcase and walks out the door going to the place she once called home.
This story hooked me on the first page and made it hard to put down. Conflict loomed on every page, I truly didn't know what direction the story was headed. I went from page to page curious to the outcome. There were many instances I was concerned emotions would be downplayed or overdone; however, the authors handled each character with delicacy and stayed true to life.
That being said, some situations in the book were confusing and didn't make sense, such as Luke's role with the Michov Brothers. It was probably due to all the head jumping. Thankfully, when I watched the movie, it clarified what was going on. Other than that, I enjoyed the writing and depth to the plot and story, something that can't be shown on screen.
To sum up, I enjoyed the book a lot, but the movie let me down. You wouldn't think there would be so many differences or nuances, especially when the screenplay writer helps write the novelization. Yes, I like my movies to stay true to my books and in this case the saying is true, the book is always better than the movie.
I received this book from Tyndale in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
October 10, 2013
Faith and Luke Carraday have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming businessman. After taking his inheritance from his fatherÃ¢ÂÂs stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, heÃ¢ÂÂs on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife.
When rumors of the MichovsÃ¢ÂÂ involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith canÃ¢ÂÂt understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere to run but home?
The idea of two prodigals was more than a wonderful idea, it is what truly made this story. Told from a multiple first person perspective, the way Gutteridge presents her characters is breathtaking and true to human emotions and nature. The way Faith struggles with the loss of her mother, the way Luke loves Faith like nothing else in his life, the way Olivia hurts for the absence of her sister, and the way Calvin loves his family no matter what, makes for a heartwarming story that I want to revisit again and again.
And of course, there is the epic battle between which man gets the girl. Honestly, I was torn between which one I wanted to ultimately earn Faith's love. It wasn't a matter of who deserved her more, but even the mere thought of Lee being abandoned by the most precious gift he almost had was just heartbreaking. So I have to give it to Gutteridge - she had me pulling for both men. (I know Faith couldn't have them both!) But even when the book was closed, I couldn't help but think "what if?" Ultimately, this will be a story that stays in my mind and heart forever.
I received a copy of this book and DVD by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
October 4, 2013