Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giving In - A Story of Growing Up


 The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck
By Kathleen Y'Barbo

I know, I gave this review a weird title... but that is the just of the book. I think. lol
Seems I am really good at choosing the last book in a series to review, as this is also the last book in a 3 book series. As a stand alone read, I don't think I needed the previous 2... they were stories about other characters in the tale - not related to the main character. 

Speaking of the characters... they are: Charlotte Beck - young, well off, American girl wishing she were older and looking for her father's approval. Alex Hambly - Viscount of Hambly in England, twin to Martin, youngest son and avid star gazer. Upon these do the whole book depend...

Ms Y'Barbo does a lovely job weaving the story between these two characters and their respective family members. The only big problem I have is that the books title does not quite match the book. The book is split in 2 halves - the first being the young miss meeting the Viscount and their ensuing tangle or story. The second being 4 years later - about the marriage and the confusing faith filled wrap up of the series. The idea of an inconvenient marriage does not really materialize... and actually falls apart at the end. 

My thoughts on this book are - as a light read, it is passable.

I give this book 2 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Story of Forgiveness

A review of "The Harvest of Grace" by Cindy Woodsmall.

I wish I had known before I requested this book that it was book 3 in a series. I found it hard to keep up with who was who... and found I kept having to make mental notes for myself on that score, there is a synopsis page to bring the reader up to speed and also a few pages at the back on who is whom - which helps. Other then that, this is a lovely read from Ms Woodsmall, I really enjoyed the aspects on forgiveness she wove in... and brought about some introspection on things I need to let go in myself - to forgive and let God.

The main characters in this book are Sylvia Fisher (a dairy farming amish woman) and Aaron Blank (a recovering alcoholic). The story seems to weave its way around these two and the families and friends that each belong to. Sylvia is running from bad choices and longs for peace and quietude of farming, manages to find such solace on the Blank farm managing their failing dairy. Aaron, freshly returned from rehab, is ready to reconcile with his family and to grasp a new dream that does not involve farming. There are sub-characters as well, as Ms Woodsmall ties up loose ends from the previous 2 books in the Ada's House Series, and to her credit Ms Woodsmall has a portion for each character to play in either accepting grace, being gracious or forgiving ones self. The theme was woven beautifully throughout the whole book.

Aaron's parents have to learn how to forgive and accept their son's decisions for himself. After years of mistrust and hurt on both sides of the parents and their drunken son - this love hard to come by - but with the heart of a changed, new man, Aaron hangs on to hope and the goal of having a family that can work together without blame.

Sylvia is taking a long journey to accept self forgiveness, and God's forgiveness. With the help of Aaron, his friends and family she tackles this daunting task - and finds herself and peace that she so longs for in the process.

As with other of Ms Woodsmall's books the glimpses into real Amish life are real and fresh - and there is something to be learned in each, an educational and insightful art. I really did not know that there are Rehab centers for Plain folk, but am glad to hear that there are many ways to reach out to all suffering with this form of escapism.

A book well worth your time, but would probably be best enjoyed as it was intended as Book 3 in a series.

Well done Ms Woodsmall!

4 of 5 stars