This was a powerful, enjoyable book that I highly recommend. Sheila has secrets - secrets that she's never exposed to her husband, a big-time pastor. He doesn't know about her mixed parentage, or parents' background, or about the fact that she has an illegitimate son with dark skin.
This book shows how one simple, single mistake can haunt you for years and years. I know we're supposed to accept God's grace for our sins, but, even when/if we do this, our sins and our bad choices can still affect our lives for a long time.
This novel also shows that it's best to tell the truth, especially to those that you love. Don't hide secrets, what if they come out to bite you later, causing turmoil in your current relationships?
This book also has a pretty deep inspirational message - showing that no matter how tough things get, even if it appears that we may lose our lives, it's best to call upon the Lord, our creator, during times of trouble.
I loved the way the author truthfully showed how judgmental we can be as Christians. You know, this book had me thinking about how some Christians are quick to punish, judge, make others feel unworthy, not following the example that Christ set forth for us in the Gospels. When Sheila, the main character in Rhythm of Secrets, loses her parents and goes to live with her grandmother Mimi, she's forced to suffer from Mimi's judgmental attitude towards her. This attitude partially stems from Sheila's parentage. Yet, Mimi is a Christian? Sadly, the church is filled with Mimis and it'd be great if, the next time we find ourselves judging others for their mistakes, then we should stop, and take a hard look at ourselves. What sins have we committed in our own lives?
I guarantee that this book will get a strong emotional response out of you. For me, the most emotional part happens when Sheila is forced to give up her baby, a baby that she loves fully and unconditionally. Her son's dark skin doesn't bother her, as her baby's complexion is a result of her mixed parentage.
Give this book a try. If you've read it, let me know what you thought about the story.
This is the first book I have read of Patti Lacy's, though I have seen her books before...I've just never been one to read much contempory fiction. I was hooked from the first chapter and honestly could hardly put it down! Patti is one of the most talented, smart, and prolific authors I've ever "met", and I've read hundreds of books.
Patti's books are stark reality. I for one, would rather ignore and not think about the prostitute on the street corner, the homeless man sitting downtown with his wine bottle, and all the unwed mothers out there. I would rather sweep these things under the rug and pretend they don't exist. But unfortunately, life isn't just about picket fences, roses, and lollipops for alot of people. For that reason, I can't recommend this book to everyone, because it is very intense, and Patti takes us places we don't like to think about.
Sheila Franklin has kept secrets from everyone including her minister husband, but when the the beautiful son she had given up for adoption years before, finds her, she comes to realize her secrets have kept her bound and the truth sets her free.
I love the way Patti goes back to another time and place, and lets us in on the life and upbringing of this lovely woman, why she made the foolish choices she did, and shows the faithfulness of God...in spite of herself. It broke my heart to read most of it, but it gave me a better understanding of what makes people do the things they do, even in their adult life. Sheila uses her experiences in life as a means of making her a better person, not a bitter person. One thing she has to do to get there, though, is to forgive herself, and realize she was a victim and not the cause of her shame. And that's what we all need to do if we had less than a "perfect" life growing up, and have made foolish mistakes because of it. Forgive others, forgive ourselves, and let God fix the broken places in our lives.
What a powerful book, Patti! I could not give it 5 stars, because of a few things that were a little sexually explicit for Christian fiction (in my opinion) and might be found offensive to some readers. Other than that...PERFECT, and what a fabulous ending!!
The Rhythm of Secrets revolves around the story of Sheila Franklin, wife of the prominent and conservative pastor, Edward Franklin. Unbeknownst to everyone around her, Shelia has secrets; secrets that she has kept even from her husband for many years. However, it takes only one little phone call for the carefully woven fabric of her past life to begin to unravel. At the risk of losing all she has attained and becoming an outcast and a pariah, Sheila makes the decision to reveal her secret past to her husband and, at the same time, embrace a family member from her past. Not only is Sheila's status in the life she has created at risk, the life of a young girl in the country of Thailand is also at stake.
Sheila hasn't always been the refined, well-dressed, dignified, lady-of-the-manor that we meet in the early pages of this book. In fact, the truth is that she hasn't always been "Sheila." At different stages of her life, Sheila's name changes several times throughout the book. While her life has been one of turmoil and upheaval, the constant throughout is her love of music. It is her music and love of it that sustains her in times of hardship.
When we first meet Sheila, the year is 1969. The place is Chicago, Illinois. From there, we take a leap back in time to the year 1942 and find ourselves in New Orleans, Louisiana. At this time, Sheila, who is actually named Sheba, is thirteen years old, already skilled at the piano and has a burning desire to learn to play the clarinet. Horrible and tragic events jerk Sheba from the comfort of her happy home and force her to live with a grandmother who neither loves nor understands her. Thus the stage is set for the events that mold Sheba into the woman that we met in the opening pages.
The book jumps back and forth in time, each time revealing a little bit more of Sheila's past. The more we learn, the more we are able to understand the decisions that Sheila makes and the reasons for her willingness to sacrifice the safety and security of her life as the minister's wife.
Along with the music which is always the center of Sheila's life, another constant throughout is God's grace, His love and mercy, His forgiveness and His compassionate intercession.
As a rule, I generally don't care for books that jump back and forth from present to past. However, in The Rhythm of Secrets, this is a very effective means of telling the story and I immensely enjoyed the way that the back and forth helped the reader to slowly come to understand Sheila's choices and how she has evolved into the person who is willing to risk all in order to save a young girl that she has never met.
When I first heard of this book I knew that I had to read it. I am a musician and can appreciate how Sheila's love of music became the one constant in her life when she was surrounded on all sides by turmoil, heartache, and confusion.
In the book of Psalms, chapter 150, verses 3 and 4, we are told to "praise Him with the sound of the trumpet...praise Him with the psaltery and harp...praise Him with stringed instruments and organs..." Indeed, it is through playing music that I worship God and commune with Him on a spiritual plane. So too, does Sheila use her musical talents to commune with God, relieve her anger or loneliness, and express her emotions.
In the pages of the Bible, we read much about King Saul. When an evil spirit was upon him, he called for David to play upon the harp and Saul was refreshed. There is much truth in the statement that music has the power to soothe the savage beast. The power of music cannot be denied and Patti Lacy skillfully demonstrates this truth in her book.
Is it a prerequisite that you must be a musician to enjoy The Rhythm of Secrets? Not at all! This is a strong story of faith, hope, and trust. All who read it will be captivated by the story and eagerly continue to turn the pages until they reach the satisfying conclusion. As I read this book, I was reminded on several occasions of the scripture in Romans 8:28 which says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..."
Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy is an incredible book that will touch your heart. I confess that I struggled with the dense language and shadowy secrets in the beginning. However, due to the lovely musical language and important themes of racism and legalism, I pressed on. I'm so glad I did. This book gets better and better with each turn of the page. The ending is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of readng. It weaves an incredible portrait of grace with unexpected twists and turns. Beautifully paced, insightful, deep, and spiritual. You don't want to miss this book.
An exceptional historical plus contemporary novel!
March 1, 2011
Are you looking for an exceptionally meaningful read that's part historical and part inspirational contemporary fiction? OR a novel that deals with real-life issues like unwed teenage mothers and prostitution slavery? Here it is -- Patti Lacy's newest novel, Rhythm of Secrets. And of course, with that title and this author, you'll also get some intriguing mysteries, along with musical themes. I just finished the book several days ago, and I'll be recommending it to my book clubs (it includes a discussion guide). Just so you know -- I'm a Patti Lacy fan because she's a gifted writer and a wonderful woman! So take a look at this novel, and her others while you're at it. . . :-)