Mary Lynn has anything she could ever want ~ at least material things. When she joins a ladies' Bible study, she realizes that something is missing from her life. As she finds joy in her relationship with the Lord, she discovers that material wealth isn't everything and that nothing can fill the void in your heart except for God. Her husband is resistant to this change. Will she have to give up everything she has to be faithful to God?
I have always been enchanted with stories that take place in the South. I was born in Charleston and love to visit, so I was especially interested in reading "Sunrise on the Battery," which is set in Charleston, SC. While I enjoyed the story, it had a slow start and I had difficulty maintaining interest in the beginning. However, once I got into it, I liked it very much. It was an entertaining read and I enjoyed reading about happenings around landmarks with which I am familiar. This book really stops to make you think about what is important in your own life and how material possessions aren't everything.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze) in exchange for a quality review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I did not guarantee a positive review.
First off let me say I loved this book. Ms. Hart has a way of writing that makes each character easy to relate to. Even when their actions are not always what you think they should be and their desires are opposite to each other I found myself pulling for them. Ms. Hart gives you a view of what radical faith would look like today and how a society based on social status and appearance would respond to it, while also asking readers to consider where faith fits into their life. It's an absorbing story of a family whose desire to fit in almost costs them everything they value most.
The story will have you inspecting your motivations for what you do and what you want in life. What do you pray for and what happens when your prayers are answered in ways you are not expecting?
The story was developed nicely and the imagery is strong. The characters are complex and believable. Their emotions and actions are authentic. The relationships and dialogue were genuine. Sunrise on the Battery is a novel with strong characters and a well-written plot. This is a great read about a realistic family. I would highly recommend it!
She wanted her husband to attend the town's society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.
An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn't.
After all, she's achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all.
And yet, it remainsâ€”an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.
When a surprise encounter leads her to newfound faith, Mary Lynn longs to share it with her husband. But Jackson wrote God off long ago.
Mary Lynn prays for him on Christmas Eve . . . and her husband undergoes a life-altering Damascus Road experience. As Jackson begins to take the implications of the Gospel literally, Mary Lynn feels increasingly isolated from her husband . . . and betrayed by God. She only wanted Jackson beside her at church on Sunday mornings, not some Jesus freak who evangelizes prostitutes and invites the homeless to tea.
While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she's ever dreamed of.
Read an excerpt from the book here
Having grown up in a large family with no social standing other than my father was a blue collar worker, I could kind of understand why Lynn and her husband Jackson wanted the best for their children. I too wanted the best for my child. So I worked hard, taught her the value of the dollar, the difference between right and wrong, moral values... well you get the picture.
Lynn and Jackson wanted the lives to their children to be more than better. They wanted them to have the best education, be musically talented, have the best social standing, shop in the best stores, whatever it would take to not just propel them into the uppercrust of Charleston, South Carolina, but become members of the elite.
Lynn remembered the heartache and heart break of not being accepted and Jackson never forgot how hard he had to work to obtain the current position he had in Charleston's society.
In Sunrise on the Battery, I found myself drawn to their oldest daughter, Catherine. The pressure to not just succeed but excel in everything was incredible. How her parents failed to notice there was something wrong with her was incredible sad. She almost..... oops.... I almost told you what happened!
When Lynn prayed for her husband to know Jesus.... she just didn't anticipate what would become of her life, the lives of her children or Jackson, himself.
I can see where the author, Beth Webb Hart, was influenced by David Platt's Radical.
I did enjoy the book, though to me it seemed a little like a fairy tale in some places. (Maybe it's because I've never had the pleasure of hobnobbing with the uppercrust folk.) I found Beth Webb Hart's style of writing relaxing and warm. A bit like sipping a nice ice cold glass of sweet tea on a warm afternoon. (I have done that!)
So, if you are looking for a refreshing glass of ice tea.... I mean, a warm and lovely story about love, grace, compassion and life changes, then this is a great book for you.
Beth Webb Hart, a South Carolina native, holds a B.A. in English Literature from Hollins College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.
Her first novel, Grace at Low Tide, was one of three finalists for the 2006 Christy Awards in the general/contemporary/fiction category. Her second novel, Adelaide Piper, was selected for Books-a-Million's book club and for their national book of the month for December, 2006. Both titles were included in the "Top 10 Christian Novels of 2006" by Booklist, the American Library Association's review journal. Hart's third novel, The Wedding Machine, became an ECPA best-seller in July of 2008.
Beth Webb lectures on a variety of topics and has taught creative writing on the college and high school level where she received two national awards from Scholastic, Inc. She lives with her husband, composer Edward Hart, and their children in Charleston, South Carolina where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Ashley Hall.
This is her website: http://bethwebbhart.com/sunrise/
This book was provided by The B&B Media Group, Inc. for the sole purpose of reviewing. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
The author mentions David Platt's "Radical." In my review of Platt's book, I refer to it as "the second most influential book I ever read." When I realized it had inspired Webb, I felt bad that I couldn't give "Sunrise..." a more enthusiastic review.
I do believe, when we come to Christ, we become new creatures. However, I have yet to meet a new Christian who got everything right from the get-go.
And while I believe wholeheartedly that God answers prayer, He doesn't always fix things so quickly and completely.
Even before Jackson's conversion, the parent/child relationships seemed too sugary sweet to me. The daughters' rebellious actions and coping mechanisms never seemed to authentically jeopardize the family relationships or their academic success.
While Mary Lynn, the mom, considered a drastic response to her husband's conversion, all the changes it meant for the girls didn't seem to ruffle their feathers in the least.
When I was in high school, I wrote a short story of a teen's conversion. Everything got better immediately between her and her mom, and one of my classmates referred to it as a fairy tale. "Sunrise..." reminded me of that short story.
In this world we will have tribulations. Jesus came to divide families, demanding we serve Him even when our family resents it and rebels. I'm concerned that "Sunrise..." gives an unrealistic view of what it means to come to faith.
Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart is an amazing look at the question of what would life look like if we really, really loved each other, and were eager to tell everyone we love how much we loved them and wanted them to know how great a life Christian Life is? Would it change the way we look at life, and what we do?
Sunrise on the Battery is written from numerous perspectives, which might make it confusing for the reader except for the fact that the names of the person from whose perspective each chapter is told is mentioned at the being of the chapter as a sort of chapter title. Mary Lynn, her husband Jackson and their oldest daughter Catherine (a teenager) tell their stories, with the lives of the two youngest daughters entwined. All use the third person point of view which is effective in bringing the story out.
A thought provoking novel, there were a few scenes I thought were rather radical, but soon realized that I was not the only one who thought so, and this made a bold statement. Family life both as a family striving after social achievements and as dedicated Christians was very realistically portrayed.
I really liked this book, and will be looking for more of Beth Hart books. Not a suspense, with twisty surprises, just a nice deep-thinking novel.