Well, I was trying for a gentle and healing story. This was not it. The main character, a widow, is supposedly a devout Christian mother who attends church regularly. Be warned. She believes that there is health and healing in coming to the point where she can purposely plan to have pre-marital sex with a man she believes will soon be gone for good. This is no mistake in the heat of passion. Not only that, but the sexual descriptions are very graphic. This is not a book for me.
In fact, I would appreciate it if "Romance" categories were not all lumped together. Leaving the intimate details to the imagination is satisfactory for a great many readers.
I had to fast-forward past material I paid for.
Lisa Wingate is a favorite writer. Her books are a joy to the senses and wholesome as well. I had a hard time with Firefly Island in the audible version from the start, however. The narrator's odd enunciations of word patterns made it difficult for me to fully enjoy what is usually a feast of descriptive language. For example: "ooooold growthtrees, instead of "old-growth trees". I realized how much I missed Johanna Parker's beautiful reading of Lisa Wingate's other books.
My hope is that this narrator is a beginner and will improve with practice, but this book was made an exercise in trying not to miss the point.
Even though I love a good exploration of the inner person, I agree with other reviewers. The entire first third or so of this story is like fighting through impenetrable undergrowth to reach the fine journey.
The fine journey, however, is very fine. Use your skimming talents and hit at bits and pieces of the daughters' irritating, damaged personality quirks described at the beginning of the story. All you need to know from that section is that the daughters are stilted, there is an emotional void because of their mother's non-mothering, and the father has left them to flail around towards recovery.
Once the mother's story unfolds, it is poetic, tragic and astonishing. The healing at the end is the reward. If you are interested in hidden history and the real people-events in its midst, you will add a pearl to your treasury in hearing this story.
The reader is a treasure as well. She rides the waves of the narrative and takes you along with her. This is the fine music of words and inflection.
Reluctantly, I made the decision to listen to "BOO", by Rene Gutteridge. It was well worth the listen. I enjoyed a steady dose of belly laughter. Gutteridge's verbal caricatures of common church beasties served to disarm them of their lethal weapons. "Laughter does good like a medicine", says the proverb, and this story was great medicine. In the mix of humor, we get to see the difference between those whose hearts are humble in Christ and those who are religious enough to make religion their slave. I am looking forward to hearing the next in the series.
I enjoyed the story and the writing. It was a good get-away, rather than one of those stories that make you wonder when the wandering recitation will end.
Deeanne Gist is an amusing storyteller. I admire her handling of faith in the midst of messy situations. I did not enjoy, however, this book's lust-gone-nuts focus. Leaving the details of a lustful imagination to the imagination of the reader is quite romantic. Filling in a constant description of those thoughts AS the story robs from story-telling.
Needless to say, this was not a favorite offering from Gist.
Another thoroughly enjoyable story from Lisa Wingate. I love the experience of her stories told about people from the inside out. I love the experience of knowing her people will be better off in the end. This particular story is a tour of compassion, personalities, efforts at creating beauty in a confusing world, misunderstanding, understanding, and wisdom in "broken" minds. I loved Claude's story-pictures. Johanna Parker, the narrator is astoundingly remarkable.
Mary DeMuth's stories retain interest and mystery while realistically putting words to the very real agony of trauma's effects. She walks us through a process of healing. She KNOWS something the Christian world at-large often wants to bury and she is not afraid to be honest in un-burying it. This is the best of fiction: sculpting with words so that all can see. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and clinical depression are subjects in need of real ministry. Their agonies are often addressed in Scripture, but not often in churches, except to minimize and demonize.
Thank-you Mary, for showing us all the beauty of depth that comes through those who have been broken.
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