The Legacy by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

fiction-books-2

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The LegacyThe Legacy by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“The waves were coming in way before we got here, and they’ll keep coming in long after we leave.”

The ocean is used for an illustration of faith in The Legacy, and the constancy exemplified through it corresponds with the way I feel about this novel and what I’ve read of The Restoration Series by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley.

As the tide is sure to come in and go out at scheduled times, this novel about a young college man, Doug Anderson, didn’t hold any big surprises or twists for me, nothing major I didn’t see coming before it happened, but there was still something enjoyable and even comforting in the cyclical rhythm of love, pain, frustration, shame, and redemption in this “prodigal son” tale. The comics and graphic novels thread added an interesting touch, particularly in the character Christina’s take on them and during a Comic-Con visit in Orlando, a visit that managed to get me laughing a couple times. The tension, resignation, and resolution in various interactions between the characters rang true to life.

Although I’ve only come in on the latter half of the series, the authors sprinkled enough tidbits of background into The Desire and The Legacy for me to be quite sure that the closing novel effectively brings the Anderson family’s story full circle, and I’d recommend it to contemporary Christian fiction fans in need of a straightforward and ultimately uplifting read.

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My review of The Desire.

The Dance (The Restoration Series, #1) The Promise (The Restoration Series, #2) The Desire (The Restoration Series, #3)

 

Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Lake SurrenderLake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

After a brief look over the blurb, I expected author Carol Grace Stratton’s debut novel, Lake Surrender, would be a nice enough story, and for much of the book, I did indeed think the story was nice—divorced, laid-off, single mother Ally trying to get her life together during a relocation to Michigan—but somewhere around the last third of the book or so, it started getting amazing to me.

Not only is the novel’s romance and suspense well-paced but so are the gradual changes in Ally’s outlook and desires. Oh, how I empathized with Ally’s urge to slap her preteen daughter Kylie during a stormy argument, and it would’ve been easy for the author to make the girl nothing more than an adolescent brat, but instead, Kylie’s heart and wits play some key roles in the novel’s plot and message of forgiveness.

Also, given that Ally’s six-year-old son Benjie is autistic, again, it would’ve been easy to make a reader pity him for his struggles and excuse all of his outbursts, perhaps a little harder to touch on a reader’s compassion for him, but to make Benjie an admirable character, someone to really root for, is something else. Benjie got me so pumped, I had to step away from the book for a few minutes and box with the air like Rocky Balboa. And what’s more, the way Stratton takes the novel’s theme of forgiveness further than pat or surface answers is challenging and beautiful.

I don’t usually praise the publisher in my reviews, but having read three novels to date from LPC (including Chasing the Butterfly and Under the Silk Hibiscus) and finding something not-so-run-of-the-mill about them, I’ll understate my thoughts by saying that somebody at that publishing house knows what they’re doing.

 

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

Solid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frame

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

Fifty-Year SilenceA Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“How do you break a silence that is not your own?” A question that author Miranda Richmond Mouillot poses in the preface of A Fifty-Year Silence, Mouillot’s memoir about her search to discover what divided her World War II-surviving grandparents, Anna and Armand, decades ago. With a pen that is virtually poetic in its execution, the author conveys her urgency to draw out and salvage the light and dark pieces of her aging grandparents’ elusive story before time, their time, runs out.

No matter how much I hear, watch, or read true WWII accounts, there’s always something from a different survivor’s perspective that gives me pause, and here Mouillot effectively brings out the idea of the war’s “reduction” of the people who lived through it, people like Anna and Armand, who were essentially reduced from so much that they’d been, or may’ve been, to those who would then be perpetually “hounded…by the exhausting injunction, ‘never forget'” what happened in that short but world-altering span of years. Granted, some of the detailing about working on “the ruined house in France” didn’t interest me as much, but the author ultimately weaves the threads of this narrative together in a way that resonates, ending its complexities with simplicity that strikes a haunting, beautiful chord.

I’d recommend this memoir to anyone with an interest in WWII literature and family mysteries.

That you even exist is a miracle; a miracle that you’re here; a miracle we’re alive; a miracle that we survived.

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Note for my blog readers: not out of keeping with the nature of the subject matter, this book contains some profanity.

 

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Not Rated. Drama, Romance, Christmas, Family Film

My thoughts: So, so, so, SO much more than a Christmas movie. But quite the Christmas movie, just the same.

So many from different generations now know the story of the one-of-a-kind George Bailey (James Stewart), a young, ambitious man intent on getting out of his hometown of Bedford Falls to “see the world” and “do something big and important.” But there’s always something to foil George’s plans and keep him where he is, particularly the Bailey family business (the Building & Loan), his own growing family, and the town that needs him. What will it take for George to realize just how wonderful of a life he has, just the way it is?

Even with his full acting career and the fact that I enjoy watching him in other films, James Stewart is George Bailey to me, as I’m sure he is to countless others who also watch George’s classic life story every year. Mary, Clarence, Harry, even old Mr. Potter, and the people of Bedford Falls help to keep the holiday of all holidays what it is for the lot of us: wonderful.

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