The Measure of a Lady is one of Deeanne Gists historical stand-alone novels, and is such a fantastic and sweet story! Im not entirely sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up, although I did assume it would be wonderful since Im a pretty big fan of Deeannes, but I just didnt think the storyline would evolve the way that it did! Im definitely not saying that is a bad thing by any means, it just took me by surprise. While I might not have thought the story would turn out that way, Im most certainly glad it did because I cant think of a single thing that would have made it better! Deeanne did an amazing job of weaving this plot together, and Im so glad I had the time to read it last week!
Rachel Van Buren is such a sweet, innocent character, whom I love dearly though she has some of the most warped views of purity and morality! It is completely adorable, I promise you, although I feel so much compassion for her because of all the pain she causes herself! She has somehow adopted the idea that she, as one of the only good Christian women in all of San Francisco, is to be the model of virtue for the entire town, and that is too big of a weight for anyones shoulders. Everyone makes mistakes, and she is no exception, and beyond that her ideas of what morality is are a little skewed. Despite all of that though, I really loved her throughout the whole course of this book, and I really enjoyed seeing her come to grips with what true morality and good Christ-like love actually look like.
On top of everything Ive already mentioned, I also just really enjoyed just getting to live in this story. There were so many twists and turns Id never expected, some good, some bad, and I loved getting to see how both Rachel and Johnnie (youll meet him later) learned all about love and Christianity and whats really right and wrong. Deeanne did a wonderful job of pulling all of that together without making this book seem preachy or like a sermon in any way, and that fact has helped to make this one of my favorites of her novels.
All in all, I really loved this book, and Im now an even bigger fan of Deeannes than I was before. I cant imagine not giving this book all five bookshelves, and Im so glad I picked it up the last time I was at the library. This sweet story captivated me from beginning to end, and I highly recommend it as a fantastic beach read (I read it on the beach this past week so thats why Im mentioning that). Deeanne is a wonderful author and if you havent yet read any of her novels, I strongly suggest that you do! If you like historical novels, I recommend Love on the Line or Maid to Match, but if youre more the contemporary type, Beguiled is the novel for you!
Need I say more? At any rate, I had read 2-3 of Gist's books a few years ago. I decided, never again. When I found this among my unread books recently, I decided to give her another try.
This one was the worst yet. By no stretch of the imagination should this book be categorzied as a Christian book. It was a book based on manners. There are a few Bible references thrown in, but that hardly makes it Christian. I'm disappointed that i wasted even a penny on it. I'll have to be more careful.
I'm also disappointed in the outcome for most of the characters.
I loved this story! At first I had some doubts.... BUT Deeanne's writting just HOOKED me! LOVED IT! Funny (Johnnie especially!), HOT romance... heck, overall just one GOOOOD story! - WITH a GREAT message- truly.
This book was engaging and delightful. I found I was laughing and enjoying the characters immensely.
A drawback was that I found there was a bit more sensual content in it than there needed to be. In a romantic novel you expect kissing and holding and the like, but some of it was a little pushing it. After reading a few other of Deeanne's books, it seems like it is her style to include some content. It's not BAD, it's just a bit more than I expected. Although, it's not as much as other books of hers that I've read.
I was, also, a bit disappointed in how it was the impression that if you're good; you're "bad" but Rachel's determination to be as pure and respectable as possible is admirable. Even though it was disappointing, it was easy to see the way non-christians see us. The point was well made that Christian's often live in our own little bubbles where we don't associate with "sinners" even though Jesus himself did.
I have a lot of respect for Rachel van Buren's character. She was trying so hard to be a light in the dark where she was, but didn't realize that her actions and attitude towards the other women of the town wasn't a loving example of who she is in Christ. She was unchristlike, rude, and demeaning towards the women.
Thankfully she sees how her actions are not changing anything, but in fact making it worse. She realizes that she isn't being a good example of Christ's love and that she's judging them and setting herself up on a podium. She sees how she needs to stop looking at the speck of dirt in another's eye, when there is a plank in her own and to stop judging them because she has no idea what they are really like. (Matthew 7:1-6) She was seeing the woman at face-value, but when she gets to know them she realizes that they are no different than she is, they just made different choices and mistakes. She realizes that she can love them and accept them, but not accept their sin and follow the lifestyle that they choose. In the end she is able to find a way to help them and show them who Christ is, without judging them and making them feel worse than they already do.
Also, her love and devotion to her family is honorable and she tries to teach them and help them grow in the only way she knows how.
I found the book overall was a good read and had some good lessons in it. All in all a good book.