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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2008
Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful . . . a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.
When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattoed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster . . . and improbably close to grace.
Each chapter break, the narrator switches between Valentine in the year 2008, and Drew in 2003, who has a rough past of his own. We learn Drew's story through the letter of confession he writes to a Catholic priest, thoughironicallyDrew was once a big-shot Evangelical pastor with his own TV show. His gritty, like-me-or-not attitude makes for very compelling reading as he becomes friends with the priest and boldly displays his dirty laundry in transparent detail. As he describes the extent of his pride and manipulation during his days as a pastor, Drew eventually reveals that he has scars which are not written on his face.
Lisa Samson's storytelling feels like a needed slap in the face. While other Christian authors may be afraid of portraying Christianity in a bad light, Samson's characters simply highlight real-life church issues, such as hypocrisy, arrogance, and selfishness, in an attempt to encourage change. Much to Samson's credit, even the Christian characters battle agonizing, believable struggles beyond forgetting to pray. The result is a relatable, honest story of ugliness, masks, and God's ever-working hand through it all.
Though the plotline can become strange at points (and though few, if any, sideshows continue displaying the handicapped in modern times), the author herself acknowledges this stretch of the truth in her Author's Note. Overall, the tale depicts reality with an eerie accuracy, exploring the worst of human actions and motives with a sharp wit and even sharper sense of irony. This novel is neither a conventional romance story nor a light-hearted fairytale. But it is recommended for adults ready to take an objective look at the institutional functions of the church, and for those who are ready to take an objective look at themselves. -- Amanda Branyan, Christian Book Previews.com
Laura Baca5 Stars Out Of 5Embrace Me believing is seeingMay 12, 2011Laura BacaQuality: 5Value: 5This was a fantastic book, my first read by this author. I tend to lean more towards Peretti and Decker in my literary taste. But Lisa Samson writes the most believable fiction I have read in a long time. The characters are portrayed in a brutal honesty without the usual softening of the realities I see a lot of in Christian fiction. The message is vibrant and heart breaking I loved this book!
Susan5 Stars Out Of 5September 12, 2008SusanQuirky and original, and such a compelling illustration of the love Jesus has for all of us, wherever we are.
Deborah5 Stars Out Of 5May 20, 2008DeborahLisa Samson's book always makes you think and this one is no different that the rest. Can you say EDGY?! I don't think I've ever read a Christian fiction book that deals with the type of people mentioned in this story. But these are stories that need to be told, because not everyone is living a picture perfect streak free Christian life. It's a heartbreaking story as you read what has happened in Drew and Valentine's lives. I nearly wanted to cry at times when reading because I felt the character's pain and suffering. Even though there are very few sideshow attractions such as the one portrayed in the story surviving today, it makes the reader think about what life is like for these "so-called freaks." How hard their life must be because they aren't born "normal" like the rest of us. I really don't know how Lella was able to be so upbeat and genuinely happy all the time. I don't think I could have accepted her situation quite so well. This isn't your normal happy ending novel. There is a lot of in your face stuff that a lot of Christians don't like touching. It will make you feel uncomfortable at times but it will also help you to understand more about God's infinite love and acceptance. This book is definitely edgy Christian fiction at its best. Lisa Samson has created another winner. HIGHLY recommended.
Harriet Klausner5 Stars Out Of 5February 11, 2008Harriet KlausnerValentine and Lella are not just best friends; they are each others only friend. They earn a living working at Roland Wayfaring Marvels and Oddities show knowing they are freaks to the normals who gawk at them. Valentine has scars all over her body while Lella has no extremities. Whereas Lella also has no dreams, Val fantasizes of one day being romanced by a man while she listens to her mothers copy of Embraceable You, but once the singing stops reality returns.------------However, a newcomer with scars on his soul and in his heart joins the caravan. Augustus befriends Val, but Lella who wants the best for her buddy fears she will be left behind with no one to care for or about her.-------------Combining a deep need to belong to others, which means forgiving and accepting the hurts they cause, inside a set from Brownings Freaks, Lisa Samson writes a powerful relationship drama that will shake the audience to the core. The cast is fully developed so that readers feel the anguish and loneliness each suffers. Adding depth to the emotional punch is the rotating story line between Drew circa 2002-3 and Val circa 2008-9. EMBRACE ME is a powerful insightful tale of love as Ms. Samson makes an ardent case that everyone needs loving mental and physical hugs.--------Harriet Klausner