The Rhythm of Secrets of Patti Lacy is a poignant look at how racism and prejudice can affect a life. Sheila Franklin's life is shattered when she receives a phone call from the son, Samuel, she gave up as an infant twenty -two years ago. Now the wife of a prominent pastor, she has much to lose from the secrets Samuel's appearance will bring to light. But her son has an reason for approaching Sheila now, one that could destroy them both, and who they love, forever. Lacy has earned a reputation as a powerful historical novelist unafraid to deal with the brutality of racism with her novel, What the Bayou Saw. In Rhythm, she tells the tragic story of a woman held down by prejudice. From her life as Sheba in New Orleans, to Sheila Alexander as a teenager attending a private school, to Sylvia who faces the worst humanity has to offer because of a single mistake, to Sheila Franklin, the composed and perfect wife of Edward, Lacy portrays her as sympathetic, yet haunted by her misunderstanding of the nature of God. The story is compelling, yet difficult to read, because Lacy forces readers to see the real face of prejudice. Whenever it appears, she writes it without whitewash, even when it is incredibly ugly. Lacy creates an ongoing theme of music throughout the story that carries Sheila through even the worst of times and ultimately helps her to find the God she so desperately needs. The ending is almost too pat, but the last fifty pages are incredibly tense and action packed. Lacy will deservedly expand her audience with this novel.
Sheba becomes Sheila becomes Sylvia. So many changes! Furthermore, written using a frame device, settings move between today and yesterday as Sheila/Sheba/Sylvia relates her story. This could be a bit confusing for some, but I liked the technique. The reader must focus; this is not a book to read through quickly.
When the unwed protagonist finds herself pregnant, her thoughts and actions are accurately painted by the author. What choices were there in the 60s? Has society really changed? Position in society as well as racism play a part in this story, adding to the complexity of the plot.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Kregel Publications for my copy.
Patti Lacy is one of those rare writers who puts everything out for examination. She doesn't just look at the pretty pieces of life, she looks at the bleak side, too. She knows that without experiencing the bitter, life wouldn't be half as sweet.
In The Rhythm of Secrets, we meet Sheila Franklin, a woman who has lived more lives than most of us could imagine. Tragic circumstances have taken away just about everyone she ever loved. Finally, in her role as wife to Edward, a conservative pastor, Sheila has found a sliver of peace. That is, until an unexpected phone call threatens to tear down her carefully constructed facade.
From the streets of 1940's New Orleans to the jungles of Vietnam, Lacy delivers a story of God's undeniable grace, love and mercy. And she shows that sometimes, the only way to be delivered from your past is to embrace it. I highly recommend this moving novel.
Wow. This book really hits home with me. Not that I live my life as three different woman. Not that I am full of secrets, either. It's just that Patti Lacy took an amazing plot line and turned it in to a real-to-life historical novel that immediately captured me. From the characters, to the secrecy to the tender, inspirational story line, Patti Lacy is a woman who knows what her readers want.
This is a book that you need to have a LOT of uninterrupted reading time with, because as the jazz music flows, the history comes to life and Sheila Franklin guards her secrets so carefully, that when her son, the baby she gave up for adoption long ago , comes to her in desperate need, she risks those moments of jazz, those moments of living her life as a pastor's wife, to do what ever she can to win back her son. Reading Shelia's story, I felt every emotional struggle that she dealt with, I could sit there and hear all the music and the thoughts that she thought....they were mine. I felt so much for Shelia's character. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and hug many times over, and to pray with her.
There were other issues woven into this beautiful story,like having a son that is bi-racial, prejudice, trust, God's amazing grace, yet Patti Lacy captures them all in a way that they flow beautifully together and really hit home with the reader. Secrets are brought to life, issues are dealt with and readers become the characters. The pages of this book will be turning long in to the night as, with each page turn, the reader is wanting more and more of this amazing writing from Patti Lacy.
So, please. If you are like me and have NEVER read a Patti Lacy novel, grab a copy of The Rhythm of Secrets now. It's beyond a 5 star rating, and you will never be the same. The grace and love and spiritual messages in this story are like none other. Patti Lacy is an author whose books should be on everyone's book shelves to be read again and again. Her work is filled with passion, grace and forgiveness and every reader will see the depth of the story immediately. I am ready for more Patti Lacy work and will start with An Irish Woman's Tale, which is here on my book shelf.
The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy was unique in both style and story. Sylvia is a pastor's wife living a lie and hiding from her past. When her son Samuel appears on her doorstep, she must choose whether she will accept him into her life and relive the past or continue on has she has for the past 20 years. Sylvia then tells her son the story of her life, his birth, and what happened after she gave him up for adoption. Alternating between the past and present (but mainly focusing on the past), we hear an incredibly moving story of a teenager forced to grow up too fast. About two-thirds of the way through the book, Samuel reveals the reason he came to find his mother ... in hopes that she can help him free his fiance from a terrible life in Thailand. Sylvia must choose between her husband and her son, the past and the present, and ultimate trust in God for direction.
To be perfectly honest, the book started out pretty slow for me. It was intriguing but I had a hard time determining the actual plot, and therefore deciding if I was going to like it or not. However, once I got into it, it moved along really well. I actually found myself feeling sorry for Sylvia as a teenager (instead of annoyed as I started out feeling). Samuel was an interesting addition to the plot. It was nice to see the past and present come together. However, the reason for him seeking out his mother seemed a little ... strange. Almost too far-fetched. Both were good stories (Sylvia's story and the reconnection of Samuel and Sylvia/trek to Thailand to save his fiance), but they could have almost been two separate books. I loved the way that biblical truth and Scripture was woven in throughout the book and in the life of Sylvia.
Overall, I would say this is about 3.5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.