Simple Gifts - eBook  -     By: Lori Copeland
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Simple Gifts - eBook

Zondervan / 2009 / ePub

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Product Description

When Marlene Queens returns from settling her late aunt's estate, life as she knows it falls apart! Her crazy elderly relatives are more eccentric and demanding than ever, and her old flame is acting mayor and recently widowed. But when citizens of the town want to put up a statue in memory of Marlene's father, she finds herself struggling to hold on to a secret that she's spent her entire life protecting. Lori Copeland, softcover, 329 pages.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 9780310566618
ISBN-13: 9780310566618
UPC: 025986566616
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Can anything else go wrong? Marlene Queens goes home to Parness Springs, Missouri, to put her late Aunt Beth’s house on the market and settle the estate. But once she’s back home, Marlene suddenly finds herself in over her head. Her Aunt Ingrid grows more demanding by the day. Marlene discovers her childhood sweetheart is now the local vet and the town’s acting mayor. And when a group of citizens want to put up a statue in memory of Marlene’s father—the parent who always embarrassed her as a child—Marlene is unwillingly swept into a firestorm of controversy. As one thing leads to another, Marlene sees her entire life being rearranged before her eyes. Parness Springs may never be the same. Marlene fears that the secret she’s kept for years may be revealed. Can God work a miracle so she can finally have the future she’s longed for?

Author Bio

Lori Copeland is a bestselling author whose books includde Now and Always, Simple Gifts, Unwrapping Christmas, and Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000 and lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband and family.

Marlene Queens is a woman with great intentions stuck in the wrong situations. As the protagonist of Lori Copland’s book Simple Gifts, we follow her through her return to her hometown of Parnass Springs. After running away from home to get married, she returns as an adult woman to settle the estate of her late Aunt Beth. She soon realizes that she will have to face the past she ran away from those many years ago.
Marlene intends to stay only a short while, but a long string of problems unravel that make her departure quite difficult. Vic, her childhood sweetheart, bears no grudge and attempts to renew the friendship he once had with her. Her Aunt Ingrid dominates Marlene’s time. The elderly woman drags Marlene into a petty dispute with her deceased ex-husband’s most recent wife. The two bitter women abuse any compassion that Marlene has. She’s also faced with the dilemma her father’s legacy has left the entire town. To make matters worse, her hopelessly dependant daughter Sara calls frequently begging for her to come back to their home.
Although a good-natured person, Marlene struggles deeply with telling the truth. The dilemmas she faces reveal the flaws of her personality. In her attempts to secure everyone’s happiness, she neglects the will of God and ends up causing more problems. She bends too easily to her daughter, a young woman who refuses to take care of herself. Instead of standing up for the truth, Marlene succumbs to her aunt. On Marlene’s heart is a deep burden of guilt for the lies she’s told and bad decisions she made. The troubling secret she refuses to tell Vic (or even Joe, his father) traps Marlene deeper into her forest of lies. The emotions she represses toward Vic expose her weakness with the truth. The romantic story between these two, however, gives the book an unforgettable spark.
Copeland appears to know very well what a woman in that position would do. The personality of Marlene is vivid and natural. Although all characters are viewed through Marlene’s eyes, their intentions are portrayed well. A deep sense of sarcastic humor is strewn throughout the story to make the characters edgy and entertaining. She places Marlene in situations that try not only physical and mental issues, but also cause a deep, spiritual battle that all humans must face within. My only critique would be that despite the appearance of excellent trials, the characters were not as vivid as they could have been, and dialogue is at times simplistic and flat.
Lori Copeland shows excellent perception throughout Simple Gifts. I would not suggest this story to a younger crowd who are less “life savvy,” but a mature woman in her middle ages or later years would appreciate the book far more. Even if the dialogue is not wonderful, the book does carry with it a meaningful lesson: it teaches readers the value of being appreciative of the small gifts that the Lord gives us. – Melissa Kerkhoff, Christian Book

Publisher's Weekly

In this enjoyable inspirational romance, Copeland shows the talent that has sold more than three million copies of her books. Marlene Queens returns to her childhood small town of Parnass Springs, Mo., to help wrap up an aged aunt's affairs. Her kinsfolk are "nuttier than a Payday candy bar," especially her 92-year-old Aunt Ingrid, who's involved in a hilarious running dispute with her ex-husband's widow over where his amputated foot should be buried. Copeland's characters are more intriguing than the standard faith fiction fodder: Marlene is the child of two mentally challenged parents, her father is dead, and she's never met her mother. As the plot unfolds, Marlene's former pastor's penchant for wild inventions enlivens the story. His son, Marlene's childhood sweetheart (now conveniently widowed), is waiting for Marlene to come clean about her past and resume their former relationship. The dialogue is snappy and often humorous, and Copeland has a flair for fresh descriptions ("dealing with Ingrid was like getting a caramel stuck in your back teeth"). Although some plot elements are a stretch, especially the longevity of Marlene's secret or a contrived disaster that brings things to a climax, readers will find this novel of much higher quality than the usual inspirational romance. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

4.1 Stars Out Of 5
4.1 out of 5
3.8 out Of 5
(3.8 out of 5)
4.2 out Of 5
(4.2 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3.9 out Of 5
(3.9 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    November 30, 2011
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This review was written for .
    a good story but it dwelt on the negative a bit much for my liking.
  2. Rockledge Fl.
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Simple Gifts..... Great title
    November 21, 2011
    Linda Adrian
    Rockledge Fl.
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This review was written for .
    Just finishing this book and found it very interesting and never lacking in imagination and humor. It is a bit weak on it's spiritual contents and rather "general" on the gospel message of salvation,but not on ones need for a dependency on Christ. It is strong in showing the folly of living your own life, without Christ's direction.The characters are vivid and display a unique reflection of where each one is in their faith. I like this author and will seek to read more of her books
  3. Florida
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Fun read......but.....
    November 14, 2011
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for .
    I will go two different directions with my review of this book. First, I think it was well written - my first Lori Copeland book, and I enjoyed her humorous style of writing. It was a fun read. I started it late in the evening, and stayed up until I finished the book - a good part of the night. So obviously I enjoyed it. She brought in several interesting, thought provoking points. For one, what it is like being a child growing up with a parent who is "different" from most and from all the parents of one's friends. Two, learning to see things from a different perspective - if we are willing to be open to it. Three, how we create a co-dependent relationship that we later regret; four, how to cut the apron strings to make our overly dependent adult children grow up; five, forgiveness, and healing of relationships. The family dynamics in this book were very interesting and learning to accept family members who are eccentric or "different". There was only one thought nagging in the back of my mind as I finished this book, and that is where I will go somewhat in a different direction. I have read only a couple romance novels, but I suspect my first concern is one that would apply to many of them, not just this one. I think many times, though not always, those drawn to romance novels are those who are in unhappy relationships - or no relationship - and who are longing for a true, deep love - like they find in the pages of a romance novel. This is understandable, but not necessarily healthy. Many times as we long for the love experienced by the characters in a book, it makes the DISsimilarities of that love and what we have in our own marriage painfully obvious. It is easy to start longing for...... what we don't have, becoming discontent with what we do have. And while that is most likely an issue with most romance novels, not just this one, there was one aspect of this particular novel that especially concerned me. That is, how both the wife of the hero and the husband of the heroine both conveniently met untimely deaths through accidents, freeing the hero and heroine to find their true love, their soulmate. This concerns me, as it becomes easy for a reader in an unhappy marriage to start wondering if maybe God will do the same for them.....remove the spouse someway, freeing the reader to find their soulmate. I worry this is not a good vein to allow one's thinking to travel down, but it might be very easy to do if in an especially unhappy marriage. But beyond that concern, it was a good book and enjoyable to read.
  4. Chicago, IL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A great read.
    September 6, 2011
    Patricia J. Bertrand
    Chicago, IL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    This review was written for .
    I very much enjoyed this book and plan to share it with my daughter and our church library. The story was good, the characters were believable and engaging. I laughed out loud on many occasions. She is great with the turn of phrase. I plan to read more of Copeland's books.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    September 2, 2011
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for .
    This is such a good book, very interesting, a real page turner, and I read it in four hours.
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