I had high hopes when I started reading The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz, published by Thomas Nelson. The story promised to be a bit of mystery, a bit of love, and a bit of bittersweet as the aged characters, George and Maggie, relived their past in memories. With the book published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing powerhouse, I also expected a story that pointed to redemption through Christ.
George and Maggie reside in a nursing home. Maggie is surrendering to Alzheimer's Disease and George, her adoring husband, can only stand idly by her side, supporting her where he can. One day, a new resident moves into the nursing home, upsetting the balance with his unusual ways. Soon after, a package arrives that causes further distress for George and Maggie.
The memories begin flowing. A mystery is revealed and solved. Heartaches are exposed and healed. Old friends are found and lost.
Overall, I liked the story. Written in a very casual, conversational manner, the story flowed fairly smoothly and the characters were interesting and fully fleshed out.
Unfortunately, though, the promise of a redemption through Christ never materialized. The book is full of feel-good spirituality without the substance of a life changing encounter with and a decision for Christ by any of the characters. The reader is left with a vague, "Well, they'll all go to heaven, right?" feeling, but the stuff and substance of a relationship with Christ is never presented.
Full disclosure: I received The Inheritance of Beauty free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in return for a review. My thoughts are my own.
I had trouble with reading the book being 60 years old and knowing that I am starting into that time of life where things start to happen. Cannot say this was a book that encouraged me, but yet was a book well written. Read for a book club. Probably would not have read if not in the book club.
I recently read The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz. It is a story that spans the years of a husband and wife and their acquaintances. The story is set in South Carolina and centers on Maggie and George, both in their latter years spent in a retirement home, and through a traumatic shared childhood experience.
Overall, I thought this book to be very well written. The author kept me engaged through sentence structure and a unique usage of flashbacks. Being a Southern girl, I enjoy a good Southern story. Although this was a "Christian book", it didn't have an overt Christian theme. I didn't feel strengthened in my spiritual walk by the end of the book. In fact, I felt like it leaned toward "spiritualism" at the conclusion. I all fairness, I don't think this fact would keep me from recommending this book to others. It was a suspenseful and engaging story that I feel was worth my time.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I feel like any words I say about this book will be so inadequate. It's just that books like this rarely cross my path, maybe because I don't go out of my way to read them. What kind of book is that? Part sadness, part pain, while also moving slowly, but deliberately. Then, when I get my hands on a book like this, it always ends up that I love it or hate it. Hardly does it fall somewhere in between.
The Inheritance of Beauty was a book that definitely fell on the "loved it" side of the equation. And even after I've put it down, I still can't put my finger on what captivated me so much about these characters. They're nothing spectacular. Nobody did anything that changed the world. They were just ordinary folk that were not far away from death's door. In my opinion, George was the main character of the story. He was like an open book; I always knew what was going through his mind. At times, he was complacent, other times a bit hateful, but at all times, he loved his sweet wife, Maggie, in a way that caused tears to come to my eyes. At one moment, he said, "I have loved Maggie since before I knew what love was. She is love to me. Without her, there is nothing for me here." Oh, to have a love that pure, that selfless from one person to another. That, indeed, is a most beautiful thing.
As I read more and more novels, I have come to a conclusion about something. Authors should always write about what they know. When I discover that a particular book is loosely based on real life events, I can't seem to put it down. Just knowing that this book was partially based on a photo of the author's grandmother, and how that photo had been a part of the history of her family, made this story so much more real. I felt like I was peaking into a diary, only to discover that their family wasn't much different than my own. We all have skeletons in our closets; it's just a matter of how much or how little we let them shape the rest of our lives.
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to review this book as I doubt it would have ever crossed my path otherwise. This book had a little bit of a literary flair, which I'm not normally too crazy about, but it worked so well here. I can do nothing but give this book 5 stars, as well as a huge recommendation for people who love deep, and meaningful stories. I know that The Inheritance of Beauty will stay in my mind and heart for days to come, as I'm sure it will for many others.
I loved The Inheritance of Beauty, just as I loved The Spirit of Sweetgrass and Trouble the Water. Nicole has a gift for putting you right in the middle of the settings of her novel. I can easily imagine myself swimming in the pond or sitting in the nursing home beside George and Magnolia. I love books set in the South so much so they couldn't have been written anywhere else.
Seitz' villains are exquisitely evil and her protagonists are very complex, no cookie cutter characters in Seitz' books. Although her writing style may take you from childhood to senility within a chapter, it's not hard to follow because her characterizations deepen as you progress in the book. She reveals more and more layers and reasons for their actions in her chapters.
I would recommend The Inheritance of Beauty for anyone who loves Southern novels, women's fiction or literary fiction. I think you'll be very pleased you took the time to read it.