Surprising and Heartwarming
I began this novel with a fair degree of trepidation. I read mainly non-fiction, but this book was recommended to me, so I thought I'd give it a chance. I thought it started off a tad slow (that would be me) and I almost set it down, but, boy, am I glad I didn't. The book pulled me in and never let go! It had plenty of romance, but it was the mystery that got to me. There were plot twists that I never saw coming, with events that had me gasping out loud. There were surprises right up to the end. I've found myself thinking about this book a lot since I've finished it and pondering the lessons I learned from the book. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
September 5, 2011
A Engaging Read
Here is a book that, when get to reading it, you surely have spent well every single minute you spent on it. It's a love story, yes, but so much more as well.
Ã¢ÂÂThe Muir HouseÃ¢ÂÂ is, even just with the packaging (a.k.a book cover and synopsis), the type of book that canÃ¢ÂÂt stay on my shelf for long, un-resisted. I had high expectations for it, and IÃ¢ÂÂm glad to say that I wasnÃ¢ÂÂt at all disappointed. ItÃ¢ÂÂs been a while since a book kept me up because I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt put it, but this was one I just HAD to finish even though it meant reading deep into the night.
The reader is immediately, from the very first paragraph on, pulled into rich, metaphorical descriptions, completely lovable Ã¢ÂÂand unique- characters, and a story that anyone will be able to relate to at one level or another.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs amazing how the author slyly pulls at the readerÃ¢ÂÂs curiosity by subtly hinting at WillaÃ¢ÂÂs past throughout the first half of the book. The questions arise within in droves. It certainly isnÃ¢ÂÂt overbearing, though, and makes it all the more delicious as the story unfolds.
The romance is completely sublime and one of my favorite aspects of the novel (believe it or not). It's not shallow, superficial, like is the case with so many Christian romance novels. It was based on so much more, a big part being in touch with God's will for their life together. And real, because as is often the case in life, it takes awhile for us to realize what the Lord is telling us, and even if we do know, we insist on being stuborn. Eventually, though, as the story depicts, the way back home is found, whatever events have to happen in the process.
One negative aspect that I did notice, though, was with the character Willa and the searching she had to go through that makes up her story. She's a wonderful person, yes, and you'll surely love her by the end of the novel. However, a couple of times reading the accounts of her struggle just got redundant and overbearingly self-centered. I found myself thinking, 'Oh, just get over yourself already and move on!". This passes quickly, though, and even if it bugs you through the book, the character Hale will surely make up for it. ;)
It's a beautiful, rich story of the journey it takes to come home; where-ever 'home' God might have planned for us, and as the story brings across, it's often not at all where we expect to find it.
August 4, 2011
A Compelling Read
Willa Muir has a dark hole in her memoryÃ¢ÂÂone year of her life, when she was four years old, is missing. Now in her mid-twenties, Willa is haunted by this lost year catching only glimpses of it in dreams, glimpses that only deepen the mystery of what happened, not provide answers.
She returns to her home in Rockwall, Texas, to help convert her family home from a funeral home to a bed and breakfast. In part she is returning to seek answers but she is also running from a man who has asked her to marry him. WillaÃ¢ÂÂs missing year torments her and prevents her from making the commitment to him.
This character-driven story seems to move at the pace of a lazy Southern summer afternoon. But this is deceiving, As Willa moves deeper into her search for that missing year, thunderstorms build on the horizons and move in, providing twists and surprises, keeping the reader hooked and turning pages until the final revelations.
Willa keeps peeling back layers of the onion of her life, revealing who she is, who she was, and who she is becoming. Some of the layers hurt, some confuse, some comfort but all lead to a satisfying conclusion.
Mary DeMuth weaves a story of romance, determination, family dysfunction, and GodÃ¢ÂÂs ultimate love through characters that are flawed and human, just like the reader. No superheroes here. Just people moving through life, seeking answers as best they can. People who are real. People we care about.
I thank Zondervan for providing me a copy to review and for giving me the freedom to write honestly.
August 3, 2011
Should be a classic! Powerful prose!
Mary DeMuthÃ¢ÂÂs evocative and multifaceted novel left me nearly speechless (and knowing me thatÃ¢ÂÂs tough to do). Her poignant symphony of words played through my mind and my heart as I pondered WillaÃ¢ÂÂs struggles and progress through the secrets and hurts of her life. My childhood past had also had a hold on me, so I could identify with her inability to break free.
From the opening statement of Ã¢ÂÂYouÃ¢ÂÂll find a home one dayÃ¢ÂÂ to the exploration of what and where a home actually exists, The Muir House uses metaphor and memories to unlock the symbolism and reality of home. WillaÃ¢ÂÂs lifelong compulsion to clip pictures of houses from magazines illustrates her longing for a sense of home, a place where she belongs and is loved.
WillaÃ¢ÂÂs boyfriend, Hale, attempts to help her understand herself and encourages her to take risks in order to be set free from the lies sheÃ¢ÂÂs believed. The deception proves more profound than either of them realized. WillaÃ¢ÂÂs world is in turmoil, with a mother who Ã¢ÂÂhatesÃ¢ÂÂ her close to dying and the security Willa sought in escaping from her hometown disintegrating.
Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre all broken,Ã¢ÂÂ Willa realizes. But can she be repaired? SheÃ¢ÂÂs faced agonizing rejection. Can she forgive? SheÃ¢ÂÂs searching for missing pieces from her early years. Can she accept the truth? Will her life be forever altered for better or for worse?
The Muir House, WillaÃ¢ÂÂs family home in Rockwall, Texas, had been a funeral home. She remembers her daddy working with dead bodies that her preschool self thought were mannequins. Now the house will become a bed-and-breakfast. Can a place of death transform into a sanctuary of life and love?
Mary DeMuthÃ¢ÂÂs books wonÃ¢ÂÂt let me go nor leave me the same as before I experienced their depths. Her way with words blesses my soul, and her story challenges my spirit. You owe it to yourself to read what should become a classic, The Muir House.
July 29, 2011