Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sweet Sanctuary

Just finished reading Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh & Cindy Martinusen Coloma for  I've never been very good at book reviews, as I never know what to say--but here it goes.

Honestly, when I picked this book, it was simply because it was the most interesting synopsis in a pile of DULL.  I read several "back covers" and thought--why did I sign up for this?  Is a free book worth it if the only books I can get are rubbish?

But I gave Sweet Sanctuary a chance.  According to the back cover (paraphrased), Wren Evans, single mom, is raising her musically gifted son, Charlie.  She'd do anything for her son, even move to Boston for a chance at a prestigious music school.
Wren discovers, however, that Charlie has been praying for her.  Minutes after hearing these words, Wren's grandma Ruth shows up with a request--a final family gathering between her and her grandchildren at their summer home, where so many years before an accident shattered so many things.  Wren also is facing loss of her job due to budget cuts, and finds out that Charlie's dad may not be as "out of their lives" as she's always said he was.
In the midst of this, Wren finds a friend in the handsome and kind hearted Paul Callahan.  When the family is finally all together, a roller coaster of emotions and hurts reveal themselves--hurts only God can heal.

I wasn't very excited, but it was enough for me to be interested.  Frankly, I find a lot of Christian Literature has run towards cheesy-pie and cliche.  I was pleasantly surprised, then, by this book. 

Wren was a character with real life woes, wants, and worries.  She loves her son, Charlie, and the mother she is, is both endearing and realistic.  Charlie is--after a first few pages of stumbling--a sweet and kind-hearted kid.

The other characters fit into real life--Coworkers who are friends, though a little nosey; library patrons of all shapes and sizes; siblings with clashing personalities...Reality.

The story moves along at  a good pace, and I managed to finish it with a contented smile.  It was no Francine Rivers, but I enjoyed the story.

What I didn't like was easily overcome.  I didn't like that fact that they kept referring to "the incident" throughout the book, building and building until it was finally revealed and then----

Basically nothing.  I mean, I understood that "the incident" was a big deal and traumatic for the family--but the reactions were too much.  It was such a drastic overreaction for what it turned out to be.  When they built it so big, and made it seem so intriguing, and then let it be something that really (to me) just made Wren's family look like a bunch of horrible people.

Furthermore, the fact that Wren had DEALT with these people all her life?  I found that unpleasant, as it made me feel like Wren was weak.  Any people who treat another person the way Wren's family had treated her--well, I wouldn't have been the complacent "peace maker" that Wren's character tried to be.
I don't know anyone who would be a "peace maker" if they were treated the way Wren was as a child.

That sounds like a lot of dislikes--and it is.  When it comes to my usual standard of books, Sweet Sanctuary is not in my top 10, 20, 30....or anywhere near there.  But as it goes for Christian Women's Literature, the books was alright.  I may even read it again someday.


So pretty high praise in my own, strange way!  Read Sweet Sanctuary if you enjoy a cute story with characters that are realistic.

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