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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2009
Can anything else go wrong? Marlene Queens goes home to Parness Springs, Missouri, to put her late Aunt Beths house on the market and settle the estate. But once shes back home, Marlene suddenly finds herself in over her head. Her Aunt Ingrid grows more demanding by the day. Marlene discovers her childhood sweetheart is now the local vet and the towns acting mayor. And when a group of citizens want to put up a statue in memory of Marlenes fatherthe parent who always embarrassed her as a childMarlene is unwillingly swept into a firestorm of controversy. As one thing leads to another, Marlene sees her entire life being rearranged before her eyes. Parness Springs may never be the same. Marlene fears that the secret shes kept for years may be revealed. Can God work a miracle so she can finally have the future shes longed for?
Lori Copeland is a bestselling author whose books includde Now and Always, Simple Gifts, Unwrapping Christmas, and Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000 and lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband and family.
Marlene intends to stay only a short while, but a long string of problems unravel that make her departure quite difficult. Vic, her childhood sweetheart, bears no grudge and attempts to renew the friendship he once had with her. Her Aunt Ingrid dominates Marlenes time. The elderly woman drags Marlene into a petty dispute with her deceased ex-husbands most recent wife. The two bitter women abuse any compassion that Marlene has. Shes also faced with the dilemma her fathers legacy has left the entire town. To make matters worse, her hopelessly dependant daughter Sara calls frequently begging for her to come back to their home.
Although a good-natured person, Marlene struggles deeply with telling the truth. The dilemmas she faces reveal the flaws of her personality. In her attempts to secure everyones happiness, she neglects the will of God and ends up causing more problems. She bends too easily to her daughter, a young woman who refuses to take care of herself. Instead of standing up for the truth, Marlene succumbs to her aunt. On Marlenes heart is a deep burden of guilt for the lies shes told and bad decisions she made. The troubling secret she refuses to tell Vic (or even Joe, his father) traps Marlene deeper into her forest of lies. The emotions she represses toward Vic expose her weakness with the truth. The romantic story between these two, however, gives the book an unforgettable spark.
Copeland appears to know very well what a woman in that position would do. The personality of Marlene is vivid and natural. Although all characters are viewed through Marlenes eyes, their intentions are portrayed well. A deep sense of sarcastic humor is strewn throughout the story to make the characters edgy and entertaining. She places Marlene in situations that try not only physical and mental issues, but also cause a deep, spiritual battle that all humans must face within. My only critique would be that despite the appearance of excellent trials, the characters were not as vivid as they could have been, and dialogue is at times simplistic and flat.
Lori Copeland shows excellent perception throughout Simple Gifts. I would not suggest this story to a younger crowd who are less life savvy, but a mature woman in her middle ages or later years would appreciate the book far more. Even if the dialogue is not wonderful, the book does carry with it a meaningful lesson: it teaches readers the value of being appreciative of the small gifts that the Lord gives us. Melissa Kerkhoff, Christian Book Previews.com
hannah4 Stars Out Of 5November 30, 2011hannahQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3a good story but it dwelt on the negative a bit much for my liking.
Linda AdrianRockledge Fl.Age: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Simple Gifts..... Great titleNovember 21, 2011Linda AdrianRockledge Fl.Age: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3Just finishing this book and found it very interesting and never lacking in imagination and humor. It is a bit weak on it's spiritual contents and rather "general" on the gospel message of salvation,but not on ones need for a dependency on Christ. It is strong in showing the folly of living your own life, without Christ's direction.The characters are vivid and display a unique reflection of where each one is in their faith. I like this author and will seek to read more of her books
AnonymousFloridaAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Fun read......but.....November 14, 2011AnonymousFloridaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I will go two different directions with my review of this book. First, I think it was well written - my first Lori Copeland book, and I enjoyed her humorous style of writing. It was a fun read. I started it late in the evening, and stayed up until I finished the book - a good part of the night. So obviously I enjoyed it. She brought in several interesting, thought provoking points. For one, what it is like being a child growing up with a parent who is "different" from most and from all the parents of one's friends. Two, learning to see things from a different perspective - if we are willing to be open to it. Three, how we create a co-dependent relationship that we later regret; four, how to cut the apron strings to make our overly dependent adult children grow up; five, forgiveness, and healing of relationships. The family dynamics in this book were very interesting and learning to accept family members who are eccentric or "different". There was only one thought nagging in the back of my mind as I finished this book, and that is where I will go somewhat in a different direction. I have read only a couple romance novels, but I suspect my first concern is one that would apply to many of them, not just this one. I think many times, though not always, those drawn to romance novels are those who are in unhappy relationships - or no relationship - and who are longing for a true, deep love - like they find in the pages of a romance novel. This is understandable, but not necessarily healthy. Many times as we long for the love experienced by the characters in a book, it makes the DISsimilarities of that love and what we have in our own marriage painfully obvious. It is easy to start longing for...... what we don't have, becoming discontent with what we do have. And while that is most likely an issue with most romance novels, not just this one, there was one aspect of this particular novel that especially concerned me. That is, how both the wife of the hero and the husband of the heroine both conveniently met untimely deaths through accidents, freeing the hero and heroine to find their true love, their soulmate. This concerns me, as it becomes easy for a reader in an unhappy marriage to start wondering if maybe God will do the same for them.....remove the spouse someway, freeing the reader to find their soulmate. I worry this is not a good vein to allow one's thinking to travel down, but it might be very easy to do if in an especially unhappy marriage. But beyond that concern, it was a good book and enjoyable to read.
Patricia J. BertrandChicago, ILAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A great read.September 6, 2011Patricia J. BertrandChicago, ILAge: 55-65Gender: femaleI very much enjoyed this book and plan to share it with my daughter and our church library. The story was good, the characters were believable and engaging. I laughed out loud on many occasions. She is great with the turn of phrase. I plan to read more of Copeland's books.
Sandy5 Stars Out Of 5September 2, 2011SandyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is such a good book, very interesting, a real page turner, and I read it in four hours.