Top positive review
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A Christian novel that I read out of choice, not because I was conned into doing so.
on 26 October 2011
This is a Christian novel, but the synopsis and hype the author has had made it one that I wanted to read and so I decided that I would focus on the tale, not the religion side of it. Only, the religious aspect was central to the tale, and you know what, it did not put me off, nor did it get too goody-goody, but there was a bit when I thought, hmmm. Still, it's a decent read.
The tale starts with Natalie putting off seeing her mum that day, as her in-laws are due and she needs to clean, and her hubby is off doing weekend sports stuff and her teenage daughter is off with friends, and so all falls to her. Except that the in-laws cancel, and instead of going to help her mum, she indulges herself in some painting. Later, she gets a call telling her that her mother has had a bad stroke, and her guilt is monumental.
She not only becomes totally focussed on her guilt, but obsessed with being somehow the cause of her mum's stroke. She pushes her husband away and then immerses herself with work, not being there for him, nor for their daughter, and on top, she stops visiting her mum. Daniel cannot take his no-wife-wife and they end up separating, but their daughter schemes to get them back together again....
Natalie is well-intentioned, but flawed, as is her daughter, but the latter could be forgiven as she's not yet a mature adult. Yes, Natalie is reacting to pain and guilt, but so much so that she pushes away everyone around her, and almost comes across as not even caring in the turns that their combined lives take. But I didn't hate her, as she wasn't evil or nasty, just overwhelmed....basically, she was scared, human and relevantly, the female of the species.
I liked the tale as it had heart; it portrayed real people dealing with real issues, and there were some heartwarming parts to it. Be warned, as there are several upsetting and sad parts dealing with Natalie's mum Belinda, whose active mind was trapped in her paralysed body...and the impact on her husband of 50 years was sad too.
The tale starts 3 weeks after Christmas and ends on Christmas day 49 weeks later, and parts remain unresolved due to the slightly abrupt ending, but it's a worthwhile read. However, perhaps not if you are feeling a bit low, as there is a lot of emotion, heartache, and a bit of not-nasty emotional blackmail. It had warmth, and hope and was in the end the tiniest bit cheesy, but not to the degree that it was unbelievable.
A decent read, but be warned, it is emotional. And, if you are not particularly religious, you might want to ignore the bit at the end when the reader is asked 13 questions relating to the feelings, actions and events in the book, and asked to analyse and comment on what he/she would have done in the characters' places.