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Beauty for Ashes: Letters from a Mother's Heart Paperback – 10 Jul 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing (10 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625164084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625164087
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,638,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol R on 25 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
Also posted on Amazon.com

Not without its flaws, this is a decent enough read if you enjoy an abundance of heartfelt emotion. The book will no doubt appeal to women of a certain age who have been through a series of difficult and traumatic family relationships and I dare say there are many out there who will be able to identify with the author's various trials and tribulations. The fact that the author also comes through it with a renewed sense of faith and belief could also be considered inspiring, especially to those of the Christian faith. However, unlike so many other religious writings out there, Ms John does not go overboard when it comes to promoting her faith. The fact that she is able to reign this in shows skill as a writer and for this she has to be commended.

All in all Beauty for Ashes is a very 'telling' book, in the sense that it tells a story, but, unfortunately for those who appreciate a literary spark, lacks any more subtle underlying elements - with one amazing exception. The way Ms John describes the 'blended family' showed exceptional figurative skill - and for me this was the highlight of the book. A highly symbolic, original metaphor. Excellent!

However, the downside for me was that due to the way in which the book was presented, as a series of letters, very often I found certain facts being repeated as she 'spoke' to her children in turn. Here, I often felt the reader taking a backseat. Also, the initial chapter, in which Ms John writes to her first unborn child, I thought could have been greatly improved by 'showing' more as opposed to merely telling the story in what appeared to me to be quite a hurried, matter of fact manner which included some repetition and, in one paragraph alone, no less than five different cliches!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. L. Wardle on 19 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
I have already written a review for this book on Amazon.com but decided to write one for Amazon.co.uk. Anyway, I truly love this book because it is very close to my heart. The stories are so very real and could easily come from many modern day families. That is what makes this book so good. Most families will be able to relate to it in some way. The great thing about it is that it shows that a real and vibrant faith can help to overcome even the most difficult hurdles. Many people would have gone "under" in just one of the situations the author had to overcome but she not only comes through these trials and tribulations she does so with flying colours. It took a lot of courage to write such a personal story and it deserves to be read. I recommend this book to everyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liz Royle on 13 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
A fantastic book that retells the story of the author through letters to her children. Laura John has been through some hard times in her life and deals with some issues that most women can relate to. The book is very encouraging for those who may be struggling in life and is inspirational to those who perhaps have no hope. The transformation of Laura and her family is amazing and is evidence of God's grace and the life saving faith in Jesus Christ. For He alone can transform your life from ashes to something beautiful.
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By Erik Erikson on 9 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
The author delivers a powerful and honest account of her life through a series of letters to her children. I found myself completely immersed in her life story often asking myself how one person could have coped with such overwhelming situations in their life and, as explained in the book, most of the time she didn't. However, despite everything, she managed to come through it, not unscathed by any means but a stronger and much wiser person. I'm not sure I could have handled half the situations the author had to experience and I'm really glad I haven't had to.

Despite having parents who were missionaries, the author did not come to a faith until much later in life. From that point it slowly started to positively impact other members of her extended family in such a wonderful way. However, this message is not overt but told in a subtle way so non Christian readers needn't worry that this is a "religious" book; it's not.

Another reviewer made reference to some repetition in the letters, and in places this is true, but it in no way detracts from the compelling story that is told.

If you are having your own struggles in life, and let's face it most of us do, then read this book and know there is always hope that things can change for the better. It may take longer than you want or expect, but it really can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wendyw on 14 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book had me reaching for the tissue box from page one. The author's complete honesty is astounding and her children can only be blessed by her words to them. I would recommend this book highly to all parents out there.
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