Redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation
Sometimes you can't just ignore broken relationships; you have to mend them, or at least try. That's the lesson Wes Watkins learns in his role as graduate assistant to Professor Paul Gavin. For the research paper Professor Gavin has assigned, Wes has asked his estranged father for his grandfather's Civil War letters. Ron, his dad, has agreed to give him the letters, no strings attached. Wes has had little contact with him since his parents divorced when he was young. His father wrote to him while incarcerated, but he refused to read the letters, keeping them in a box.
His fiancee', Emmy, has a past of her own. While she says she loves Wes, something in her past keeps the relationship from moving forward. She uses her enlistment in the National Guard to keep him at arm's length while dealing with a long-ago broken relationship. Her refusal to explain her past to Wes only fuels his imagination and makes things worse.
In this novel, a sequel to Hero's Tribute, author Graham Garrison weaves the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation seamlessly throughout the plot. The broken relationship between Wes and his father, the broken relationship of his parents, the relationship between Ron and his father, just to name a few. The need for self-forgiveness is also shown. Ron learns, as many of us do, that when we fail as parents, it is not easy to forgive ourselves. Emmy's story also demonstrates the difficulty of that task. And finally, the novel shows the most important forms of these: the miracle of man's redemption from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and our reconciliation into right relationship with God, our Heavenly Father.
I believe that this book would be not only appropriate but enjoyable for any reader. Although I did not touch on it in this review, the Civil War battlefields mentioned throughout the novel would interest anyone interested in the war or history in general.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Kregel Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Kregel Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade CommisionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*
July 4, 2012
Forgiveness, Restoration & Family = Great Read
Graham Garrison in his new book, Ã¢ÂÂLegacy RoadÃ¢ÂÂ Book Two in the Wes Watkins series published by Kregel Publications returns us into the life of Wes Watkins.
From the back cover: The legacy continuesÃ¢ÂÂ¦
The letters had almost been forgotten. Wes Watkins had filed them away, ignored and unread. But as he reflects on the legacy of hometown hero, Michael Gavin, those lettersÃ¢ÂÂthe words of his estranged fatherÃ¢ÂÂresurface. Wes wonders if itÃ¢ÂÂs time to follow MichaelÃ¢ÂÂs example and mend his relationships, starting with his dad.
But were the letters better left hidden? When a family secret is revealed, W?es fights his feelings of anger, betrayal and mistrust towards his parentsÃ¢ÂÂ¦and even his girlfriend, Emmy. With his relationships crumbling around him, Wes can only turn to God to ask for strength. Can Wes forgive? Or must he just move on?
Set against the haunting backdrop of Civil War battlefields, Ã¢ÂÂLegacy RoadÃ¢ÂÂ is a grace-full exploration of the ups and downs of human relationships, of family ties lost and found, and of the age-old question: how do you forgive othersÃ¢ÂÂand release yourselfÃ¢ÂÂfrom a past that threatens to destroy you?
The Dictionary defines legacy as, Ã¢ÂÂsomething transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the pastÃ¢ÂÂ. Most times, due to our mistakes, we pass the wrong things down to our children and then they have to deal with our issues. That is the case presented in Ã¢ÂÂLegacy RoadÃ¢ÂÂ. Wes Watkins has to deal with issues from a drunken dad who is in jail and secrets that his mother didnÃ¢ÂÂt tell him about. Confronting the past is always painful but if we can make it through the pain and offer forgiveness then we can heal from our emotional wounds and grow and move on. Ã¢ÂÂLegacy RoadÃ¢ÂÂ is about facing the issues in our life from our relationships with family. Mr. Garrison offers us a story where the pain is overwhelming for Wes Watkins but God is there and is Wes can turn to God and receive forgiveness from Him then he, in turn, will be able to forgive others. I liked this book and am going to go read the first book from Mr. Garrison, Ã¢ÂÂHeroÃ¢ÂÂs TributeÃ¢ÂÂ.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255: Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
July 3, 2012
confusing character and story development
Wes is a graduate student being pushed my his history professor to reconnect with his father. The father who abandoned the family when Wes was young. His father has letters from the Civil War and Wes needs them to complete his history paper. Wes tries, but it is hard for him to forgive all the pain his father has caused.
Emmy Stewart is the nurse Wes is dating and is ready to marry. But Emmy has her own past to content with. When a teen she unknowingly caused the death of her old boyfriend. His parents have never forgiven her, even though she has been asking for it for ten years.
Wes and Emmy work on their issues, their individual ones and their relationship together. At times it looks like there is no hope for a future together. Wes must learn to forgive and Emmy must learn to move on even when not forgiven.
This novel is set against a history class on the Civil War. I was lost most of the time about the references to battles and characters. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I'm about as far from those historic battle fields as you can get. The scenes lacked description so it was nearly impossible for me to picture the landscape anyway.
I rarely think a book is too short but this one was. I kept feeling that there was a story in the background that I just wasn't quite getting to. There were references to the history professor's son as an important element yet we do not learn what he means to the story until near the end. He hovers over the story as someone important but you don't have a clue why for most of the book. (I see the book is a sequel. Nowhere does it say that on the cover of the book!)
There is a lack of descriptive passages. The writing is very tight. One goes through a scene and I would feel like I missed something, just because the scene was not fleshed out.
The story is developed from the various character's viewpoints. The history behind the current story is not revealed in chronological order. Because of those two issues, I think, I never really connected with the story. I never connected with any of the characters.
Then end of the story comes fast, much faster than the rest of the story. It just didn't seem to fit the style of the rest of the book.
The strength of this novel lies in its investigation of forgiveness. Almost every character had an issue with it. Some needed forgiveness while others needed to forgive.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
July 2, 2012
Like Father, Like Son?
Wes Watkins grew up in a single-parent home, estranged from his father. He schooled and worked his way into a journalist position. His current assignment is to eulogize Michael Gavin, his professorÃ¢ÂÂs son and the hometown hero of Talking Creek, Georgia. While researching the background of MichaelÃ¢ÂÂs life story, he finds that Michael has had a friendly relationship with his father, Ron Watkins, which also included talks about some Civil War letters.
Ron Watkins, to Wes, was nothing but a loserÃ¢ÂÂa deadbeat dad who got into drinking, drugs, jail time and probation. Janet, WesÃ¢ÂÂs mother, was a saint to raise him all alone. That is, until he finds some secret information about her past. Dealing with the anger and betrayal of his fatherÃ¢ÂÂs abandonment, his motherÃ¢ÂÂs secret, and his girlfriendÃ¢ÂÂs secrets, all while heÃ¢ÂÂs trying to finish his college degree by writing a final paper and following the Civil War battlefields assignment, and you have one young man at the brink of exhaustion and trusting no one.
GrahamÃ¢ÂÂs book, Legacy Road, is about Wes WatkinsÃ¢ÂÂ legacy of a deadbeat dad and a loving mother who needs a kidney. Graham uses a slow, methodical writing style that causes you to slowly digest the makings of WesÃ¢ÂÂs life and how he can reconcile the outcome in a way that brings him peace and maybe some reconciliation. His slow methodical style is fantastic in my eyes, as it made me dig deep into the raw emotions of his relationships amidst his academic life and his girlfriendÃ¢ÂÂs new National GuardsÃ¢ÂÂ deployment.
The relationship issues are oh so very real and relevant. The characters are well-defined and true to life. The conversations are realisticÃ¢ÂÂalmost too realistic! The raw emotions of each character are well-described and palpable.
I see GrahamÃ¢ÂÂs book as a story about oneÃ¢ÂÂs own legacy with our own family of origin and current relationships portrayed through the life of Wes Watkins. He slowly moves the story along so you can digest all the innuendos and raw emotions that we all have to work out. To bring us closer to God and His way of reconciliation. And God does not always move with lightning speed. He wants us to learn deeply. I believe GrahamÃ¢ÂÂs book accomplishes that goal. IÃ¢ÂÂll be reading this one again for more insights for my own life.
For history buffs, the information about the battlefields of the Civil War is fantastic. Learning through a historical novel is way more fun than pure history for me, though.
This book was provided free by Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
July 2, 2012