Christian fiction that's a bit different...
Wren is a single mother, raising 10-year-old Charlie alone after his father abandoned them both when Charlie was three months old, signing over his parental rights along with the divorce. She has struggled over the years to reclaim her faith and to survive financially, and is now working as a librarian in a small town in coastal Maine. The two live in the caretakersÃ¢ÂÂ cottage on the property of the family holiday home, which has been unused since Wren was a child. She is surprised on morning by an unplanned visit from her grandmother, Ruth, who wants to get her three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren together for her upcoming 90th birthday party, in an effort to heal the family relationships that were broken long ago.
Meanwhile, Wren is preoccupied by problems with Charlie and problems at work. Charlie is an accomplished violinist with the opportunity to study at a prestigious music school in Boston, but that would mean moving and be a financial challenge. Charlie is also having problems with his best friend at school, whose mother happens to be WrenÃ¢ÂÂs prayer partner. Wren is surprised to find that Derek, her ex-husband, has been in contact with Charlie without her knowledge or permission, and wonders how she is meant to deal with the fact that he appears to want a relationship with them. She is also surprised to be asked out by a man from work, and unbelieving at the workplace gossip that Paul, the handsome cafÃÂ© owner, might be interested in her. As the novel progresses, Wren is encouraged by others to trust in God, and challenged around some of her long-held beliefs about family relationships.
This book was written entirely from WrenÃ¢ÂÂs point of view. I found it a refreshing changing to find a modern writer who does not engage in Ã¢ÂÂhead hoppingÃ¢ÂÂ, or continually changing points of view from character to character. Changing point of view, when done well, can add immeasurably to the understanding of the different characters in a novel, but when done badly I find it confusing. By writing exclusively from WrenÃ¢ÂÂs point of view, I gained a deeper understanding of her problems, including her questions about her interactions and relationships with other people. It was also nice to see her relationship with Paul develop despite her concerns.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
October 6, 2011
A good book...a few GREAT lessons!
My most recent book from Thomas Nelson Publishing was Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh and Cindy Martinusen Coloma. The following is from the back cover of the book: ~From the back cover:
In tiny Cottage Cove, on the coast of Maine, Wren Evans is raising her gifted son, Charlie. A single mom, she's fought hard to give Charlie a stable, secure home life. When a prestigious music academy in Boston expresses interest in Charlie's talent, Wren is willing to move them again to make his dreams come true.
But Wren doesn't know that Charlie has been praying for her. And the answer to her son's prayers will change both of their lives. As Wren plans their move to Boston, life in Maine begins to fall apart. Her job is threatened with budget cuts, and Wren's grandmother, Ruth, arrives unnanounced, with an outlandish request.
Ruth wants the family gathered together one last time, at the summer home, where, years before, an accident shattered Wren's peaceful childhood. In the tumult, Wren finds a friend in handsome, kind-hearted local, Paul Callahan.
When the family gathers in Cottage Cove, old wounds will be healed, new love will blossom, and the innocent prayers of a child will be answered in a most unexpected way.
I truly enjoyed this book. I found that it was a little hard to get into but once I gave it a try (and actually focused on the book), I was surprised!!! :) I enjoyed the way that the authors wrote the story and I loved the idea of the main character holding onto her faith even when there were some rocky times, which spoke to me on a personal level. The overall idea of the book was well written and the characters were well written. Personally, I was pleased with the book and I enjoyed some of the prayers lifted up by Wren, the main character.
Ã¢ÂÂPlease, God, help me time just right and not mess it up by being hasty and impatient like I usually am.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂ God, thank you for this moment, here at the beach with this gift of family that IÃ¢ÂÂd given up on. Thank you for never leaving me as I so often leave you.Ã¢ÂÂ
This book reminded me that sometimes God messes everything up, just so He can show us His plan. It's not about our plans, but HIS!!! :)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher'ss (Thomas Nelson Publishing) BookSneeze blogger review program, however, I was not required to write a positive review. ALL thoughts and opinions are my own.
September 7, 2011
A Sweet Story of Forgiveness
Sweet Sanctuary by Shelia Walsh and Cindy Coloma is an amazing story of forgiveness and giving everything to God. The story follows Wren, and the struggles she faces that came about after a family reunion went terribly wrong and left her family just barely on speaking terms. Wren struggles with having to plan a party that will bring all the siblings together for the first time in years while trying to figure out what is best to do for her 10 year old son she is raising on her own.
Walsh and Coloma capture you from the beginning with each character and their stories. As Wren tries to avoid the upcoming party and family problems she is positive she will encounter and working to a promotion amidst budget cuts she realizes that she cannot do it alone, and that just maybe if she trusts God fully, He will make take care of everything, in ways that Wren would never imagine.
This was the first time reading a Sheila Walsh book and I am in love with her writing and characters, before reading this I was just not in the mood to read it, but once I started I could not put this book down, I love the characters and the setting of the store and find it easy to relate to what Wren is going through. This book is truly captivating.
I received this book complimentary through the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are all my own.
August 24, 2011
A sweet story
Out of the clear blue, Wren's Grandma Ruth arrives on her doorstep, dreaming of a grand party to celebrate her 90th birthday. Though she's glad to have Grandma back in her life, Wren's sleeping on the couch in her own house now and worried about the expenses piling up. After all, her job at the community library is in jeopardy after budget cuts, and the fancy music program she wants for her son is getting farther and farther out of reach.
I think that the characters are well written, and the story is believable, although a little drawn out. There were times when I wondered why the author added certain events into the story, it was an easy read and I liked Fern and Charlie and most of the other characters in the story.
August 15, 2011