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3.0 out of 5 starsNot Her Best Writing
Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2016
I usually love Denise Hunter's writing, but this one left me scratching my head. What I thought was going to be an intriguing story turned out to be not much more than continual self-bashing and self-destructive behavior by the lead female character, Sam. Something just didn't click for me...I actually got very weary of her negative "head talk" ...it got old after it happened so repeatedly. A couple of story lines fizzled, notably the one regarding her Mother. Finding the letter and finally reading it was a complete let-down. The author dropped the ball there, in my opinion. Another dud resolution was that of Landon's best friend, Scott. After his last rant, he just faded away....nothing was resolved there. And, finally, after wading through page after page of angst and defeatism, along with rejecting the man who loved her over and over for reasons that really made no sense to me, suddenly...an epiphany, practically on the last page, like the writer ran out of ink and decided to end it. The book just left me disappointed over all.
5.0 out of 5 starsCouldn’t stop listening til the end! Excellent narrator for audible version.
Reviewed in the United States on April 30, 2020
Audible version. Narrator Kathryn Lynhurst is excellent! She has a wonderfully "normal" voice, no accent, she doesn’t embellish the characters much at all, which is sooooo much easier to listen to! To me, the narrator makes or breaks a book. I really liked the story, many others have elaborated on it. Yes, Sam is very frustrating a lot of the time, but that’s her, this is her story. I’m going to go to the next in the series. I really like Denise Hunters books! Thanks Denise!
This was first book I read by Denise Hunter and I thought it was wonderfully written. Showing the complexity of our human nature and sin verses the unwavering love and forgiveness of God. The story reflects how we are but prodigals running from true love and the love of God to us, His children. The story itself has no overt Christianity in it but is written as an allegory. You will however find wonderful reflection/study guide questions in the back that point to things like:
How we, like Samantha in the story push God away; God’s pursuit of us; looking at possible cycles in our life that we need to break free of; do we settle or are we settling for less than God wants to give us; do we feel not good enough; have we realized as Landon in the story says that love is a gift, not to be earned?
I highly recommend the read…it is a story that reflects the amazing love and grace of God who loved us while we were still in our sin… Who fought for us (died for us), and saved us… it is a gift that we did not earn or deserve.
2.0 out of 5 starsHard One For Me To Finish But I Did
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2015
Every book I have read by Denise has been easily 5 stars. I would give them all 10 stars if that were an option. This book was hard to finish however, but I did. I loved the hero and in the beginning, I liked the heroine. I didn't care at all for the hurtful and stupid choices she continued to make throughout the book. I was amazed at how much the hero could love and forgive. I felt better after reading the author summing up what she hoped we would take away from the book. With that thought of comparing the hero's love for the heroine to God's love for us and His pursuit of us, it made more sense.
The story is pretty well written and kept me wanting to know what would happen next, but it is a book of crazy extremes. The leading lady is so messed up I wanted to talk some sense into her through the whole book. She is determined to believe only lies and do everything in her power to make them come true. The hero is unbelievably good, not because a godly man wouldn't be good like that, but because he does what he knows God would want in his own strength. The author tells us of sleepless nights, but doesn't mention praying, nor does he find peace in his faith.
Amazing story with so many layers! At first it appears as if it will be just another romance story but this one is different. Sam has been dealt so many hardships that she has lost hope and trust in everyone and the devil uses this to his advantage to make her think she isn't worthy and to put hateful messages into to her subconscious. Sam has buried many hurts in her life and kept them locked away in order to not feel anything. When she returns to her childhood home she is forced to come to terms with these internalized struggles and face the truth no matter how much hurt it creates. Such a relatable story!
4.0 out of 5 starsNot traditional Denise Hunter - in a very good way
Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2014
I bought this book because I enjoy this author but found this to be rather different from other Hunter books I've read. Though unexpected, I became immediately engrossed in the drama of Sam's life and Landon's stalwart presence and love. SUch a story of grace and redemption. I truly loved it. The only thing preventing me from giving it 5 stars was the absence of faith as a component in Sam and Landon's lives. If one or both of them had or came to find their faith through the story, I would have enjoyed it more. That said, the underlying allegory is beautifully done. Landon staying by Sam, loving her, rescuing her and giving of himself through all the good and especially the bad is so indicative of Christ's love for us. I know this was Denise Hunter's message in Surrender Bay. Forgiveness and redemption is always ours for the asking.
Awesomely fleshed out character, my heart really went out to both of them because they were both hurting in their own special way but especially Bailey's struggle to accept God's love, she didn't feel worthy of the gift!