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5 Stars Out Of 5
February 14, 2013
Alice is a hard-boiled tabloid reporter who runs a website called Ã¢â¬ËTrashville'. She has just married Dr Burton Banister III in a 2005 version of a shotgun wedding due to her pregnancy after a one-night stand. His family is visibly displeased with the match - her family isn't even in the picture. Having moved from LA to Nashville to marry Burton, her only friends are the African-American couple next door, Pastor Tim Jackson and his wife, LeChelle, who try to model the love and truth of God to a resistant Alice. Their friendship and her pregnancy force her to re-evaluate her own personal history, with some poignant scenes from her teenage years in particular.
One Sunday tells the story of her marriage, pregnancy and ... interspersed with flashbacks that show us how Alice got where she is. The story is told by Alice in the first person and in the present tense, which makes it feel like a stream-of-consciousness narrative, yet with an open and compelling voice with a high level of self-awareness and no sign of subterfuge or dishonesty.
There is an underlying humour and a sparseness of narrative that makes the less savoury parts of Alice's personal history easy to read. Cecil doesn't feel the need to bash the reader over the head with the gospel message, preferring a more subtle approach which is even more effective. Stormie Omartian says "I couldn't put this book down". I'm a bit jaded about celebrity endorsements, even in the Christian realm, but in this case, the celebrity is not overstating anything. One Sunday really is that good. Recommended.
Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Alice Fergusom had a very rough youth. She has had a promiscuous life. And she has finally made a success of herself, establishing an online Hollywood insider tabloid. She has a one night stand with a sports doctor from Nashville and gets pregnant. She decides not to abort the baby (for reasons revealed in the novel) but her health deteriorates. Burton, the sports doctor father of the child, offers to have her come live with him. So she takes a leave from her high-pressure world to live with a man she barely knows. She gets to know the African-American pastor next door and loves the cooking of his wife. After months of enjoying their friendship, she finally agrees to attend a church service.
This is somewhat a typical story line - promiscuous girl is given the opportunity to meet Jesus. An interesting aspect of the novel is sports. Burton is the doctor for the Titans and the next door pastor played in the NFL. We also learn a bit about the tabloid world and the lengths some go to get dirt.
I found that a few aspects of the novel were troublesome. The back story is told through flashbacks. Having read books on novel construction, I know that flashbacks are difficult to do correctly and are somewhat to be avoided if possible. Cecil's book is full of flashbacks. When Alice is sitting on the back pew in church, we spend pages and pages going back. Sometimes it is years and sometimes it is only a few months. I think it detracts from the novel.
The other aspect I found troublesome is the openness of Alice's promiscuous life. While there were no graphic descriptions of her sexual escapades, there was a scene that I think was too much. Alice and her partner, Amos, are celebrating the dirt they have exposed on various Hollywood stars. It was just an ugly scene I think was unnecessary.
Also, Burton is a Christian, I think, when he has that one night stand while at the conference in Los Angeles. As I recall, there was no remorse on his part for that action noted in the novel. While he is a good figure in wanting to marry Alice and raise their child, it still troubles me some that the issue was not dealt with.
There are several good things about the novel. It is a graphic picture of how Jesus can save a life. It deals well with race relations and how God worked through the lives of the pastor and his wife to draw Alice to Jesus. And Burton is another hero, loving this woman he met so briefly, yet fell in love with.
So, there are good things and troublesome things within this novel. There is an extended discussion guide at the end of the novel as well as suggestions for reading groups to enhance their experience with this novel.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
I absolutely love the style of this book. It was refreshing because it read in a way that many of my latest books haven't. It set it apart, in a sense.
I liked the flashbacks and the honesty in which this book was written. I enjoyed the humor and even the darkness that plagued Alice. I can't relate to her life but I hurt for her. I found her adventures and her thoughts in church hilarious. It wasn't sacrilegious at all. I thought it pretty well depicted what many non-believers feel about the church today.
The only problem that I had with the book were the few instances that less-than-pleasant words were used, like "hell" and "d***." I don't personally use those words and since reading Christian fiction is something I like to do because I don't have to censor what my eyes see or my ears hear, it was a little disappointing to me to find those words in there. I completely understood the context and understand that she was a non-Christian, but they could easily have been left out and the meaning not change at all. You still would have gotten the fact that Alice was a rough girl with a rough past. Many people don't mind those kind of words in a book, but I just really like letting my guard down in reading, which is why I specifically chose to read Christian fiction.
The message of the book is still wonderful and the storyline grips you to make it quite hard to put the book down. I do look forward to reading more by Carrie Gerlach Cecil.
I received this book free from Howard Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
This is an excellent book worth reading and passing on to friends. Alice, the main character shares her story in layers within the framework of a Sunday which symbolizes life, love and hope. Her portrayals of hurt, brokenness, and self centeredness speak to the experiences of many modern women. She finds herself pregnant, married and living in the South after a life which had included heartbreak and "success" in New York and Los Angeles. What an interesting way to share a story reminiscent of the prodigal. The novel shares hope and love through the words and actions of Tim and LeChelle, Alice's neighbours. Through this story I was reminded of the need to take time to listen and offer hope and friendship the people that come across my path. This book is definitely worth reading!
Note: I thank Net Galley and Howard Books for a preview copy.
This is a story of hope and friendship that grabbed me from start to finish! Alice Ferguson, a celebrity tabloid editor with her own business has climbed her way to the top in Hollywood. But a one-night stand resulting in a unexpected pregnancy forces her to take a leave from her stressful job in LA for the sake of her health. Pastor Tim and his wife and family live across the street (I want them to be my neighbors!) and Alice finds herself drawn to their family. A Sunday at their church challenges her perception and opens up a box of memories she's been suppressing her whole life. You'll travel back to Alice's childhood and revisit some of the pivotal moments that have set her on the course she's on now. And only the love of a Father can change the way she looks at herself. I started this in the afternoon and couldn't put it down until I finished it at 8pm! Alice's story begins painful and raw and ends with hope!
DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book to review from Howard Books. The opinions expressed are my own :o) If I love it, I'll share it!