Unlikeable characters, slow and unsatisfying plot.
May 24, 2012
I kept hoping this book would get better...and then was kicking myself that I wasted the time on a false hope.
That its slow-moving plot never goes much of anywhere is only the beginning of what makes this book so disappointing. The main character, a young woman who demonstrates a measure of courage and integrity in her workplace, loses all self-respect the minute she travels home for a weekend with family, bringing a young man with her. Her parents treat her friend with suspicion, despite his clearly honorable intentions and godly character. And they treat Tami like a child, which doesn't seem to be a problem for her. She unquestioningly accepts their narrowly-defined standards of piety and their self-righteous judgments of others. And worse, rather than intelligently and prayerfully examining those standards, she entreats her potential beau to conform, because of what others (her parents and church congregation) might think. (He stays home from church so people won't be offended by his ponytail.) High standards, and striving for godliness: good. Legalism pretending to be godliness: not so good. And this, not even the primary plot, takes up nearly the first 11 chapters.
There is too much unnecessary detail that neither adds to nor moves the story forward, and of the multiple subplots, none come to a satisfying resolution by book's end. Which of her suitors will win her heart? Will she take a job at the law firm? Will the old woman she cares for die without accepting the Lord? Will her co-worker come to see Jesus as her Messiah? What will happen with the client whose lawsuit is the primary focus of the story? Sadly, there's not enough here to make me want to read the next one to find out.
This week I finished reading Higher Hope, the second novel in Robert Whitlow's Tides of Truth series. This book was an "OK" read, but not one of my favorites. As was the case in Deeper Water (the first book in the series) the story moves slowly and in some places gets bogged down for a while.
In a story that continues from the first novel, readers find that Tami Taylor works as a summer law clerk in a Savannah law firm and during her off-work hours serves as a live-in caretaker for elderly Mrs. Fairmont. She also struggles with mixed romantic feelings for two young men in the firm, one an associate and the other also a summer clerk, with romance being a totally new experience for Tami. Tami (or Tammy Lynn, as she is known back home) is from a very strong, fundamentalist church and family, and works to stay true to her beliefs and and the expectations of her parents. Those beliefs earn her both scorn and respect from those she works with and under at the firm.
It is because of those very beliefs that one of the firm's partners finds Tami to be just the person to work on a case involving Sister Dabney, "an abrasive, outspoken preacher who is either a prophet or a lunatic." As the case progresses, Tami struggles with the challenge of balancing her career choice with her belief and even questions whether the two are compatible.
As I said, this series is slow-moving and reading it is at times drudgery. With that said, though, I am interested enough in Tami's story that I do plan to read the final book in the series.