Great conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. Highly recommend this series! I only have some minor quibbles with the 3rd book. The first 2 both were 5 starGreat conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. Highly recommend this series! I only have some minor quibbles with the 3rd book. The first 2 both were 5 star books for me!...more
Susanna Daniel deftly weaves together the portrait of a marriage, amidst the backdrop of the coming-of-age of Miami throughout the 60′s,From my Blog:
Susanna Daniel deftly weaves together the portrait of a marriage, amidst the backdrop of the coming-of-age of Miami throughout the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s. The author explores the highs and lows of a long-term relationship and how a couple (Frances and Dennis) can beat the odds despite many forces that try to separate them. The reader is taken on a journey from the beginning of the relationship to the end, chronicling the major life events in between (the initial meeting, the first kiss, the marriage, the baby, the empty nest, the son-in-law, etc.).
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with this novel. At times I felt that it meandered a bit and was waiting for something to happen. Other times, I couldn’t stop reading, waiting to see what was around the next corner. I guess that is what real-life marriage is really like. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and butterflies. It’s not all excitement and happiness and fearlessness. Marriage is hard work. The author lovingly captures the emotions of the characters and easily brings the reader into their lives, making us seem like a fly on the wall of a real marriage.
On the outskirts of the marriage is the coming-of-age of Miami, which I found fascinating. Topics such as the slow increase of drugs, murder, and Cuban immigrants are intricately weaved into conversations in the novel, which adds depth and character to the book. Miami is almost a character unto itself.
And then there is Stiltsville. Dennis’s father built a stilt house in the 1940′s, one of a handful of houses still remaining at the start of this novel (1969) after storms blow through each year. The house is an oasis for Frances and Dennis and is actually the place where they initially meet. It becomes the backdrop of their marriage; a place of refuge and relaxation; a place of hope and renewing. I could just picture them laying on the porches, dragging out mattresses to sleep under the stars each night. It sounds like paradise. It reminds me of my time spent on the Outer Banks each year and how I long for it when I’m away.
This is a beautifully written novel exploring a true-to-life marriage and the troubles it can face throughout all of life’s important struggles. I would definitely recommend it.
Certain Women explores the sensitive issue of death and, more specifically, the fear of dying with unresolved issues. In this novel (which I did not fCertain Women explores the sensitive issue of death and, more specifically, the fear of dying with unresolved issues. In this novel (which I did not finish), Emma Wheaton disrupts her successful stage career to be with her dying father, David Wheaton. David is also an actor, having performed in a number of plays during his long career. However, he is obsessed with the one play he never got to do - an unfinished play about the Old Testament King David, written by Emma's estranged husband, Nik.
As David Wheaton's nine wives and eleven children gather to say their final goodbyes to David, the stories of both him and King David are simultaneously woven together and unraveled. Since Emma is the main female protagonist, the novel focuses on her upbringing and experiences being raised by the great actor that was David Wheaton. As she is surrounded by her extended and eclectic family, painful memories resurface that begin to allow her to confront her past and start the process of healing. As David Wheaton faces his approaching death, Emma grapples with her future.
Although the premise of this book highly intrigued me, the final product was less than desired. I found that there were too many characters to keep track of and it was difficult to follow the author's shift from King David to David Wheaton. With that said, what little of this novel I read made me think about some serious issues that we all face. First, if you died today, is there anything left unresolved in your life that you would regret? I certainly have some stuff going on in my personal life that I need to resolve to feel at peace. Why should we continue another day letting those feelings eat us up inside? Life is so short here on earth. We can't live it with any regret. David Wheaton's biggest regret seemed to be his unfinished play. It is mentioned incessantly throughout this book. I also think he needs to know that he is leaving this earth at peace with all of his wives and children and there is no anger or bitterness among any of them.
The second issue that I considered while reading this novel is that of redemption. David Wheaton had NINE wives. Obviously, there was something wrong there. Now, I didn't get through over half of this book, so I don't know every detail that was going on in each of those relationships, but from what I understand, each of these women came back to see David at his deathbed, so obviously the relationships ended on somewhat good terms (even though he cheated, in at least one case that I know about). So, can anyone be redeemed, regardless of what he or she has done, as long as they atone for their sins? As a Christian, I know that God can redeem any situation. But, as a human who goes through difficulties and has had some very trying times in my life, I sometimes really struggle with this concept. If a person has wronged you in a devastating way, how can we truly just forgive and move on?
As I've mentioned, I only read about half of this book. The writing was very formal and not engaging. There were too many characters to keep track of and I just didn't care too much about the storyline to keep reading it. I am not too familiar with the story of King David, so I thought this book would provide me with some great insight, but the way it was presented was very confusing to me. The novel just did not flow well and it was a huge disappointment.
This book provides a clear road-map for every woman who is trying to do it all - and feeling like she can't; feeling like she is a failure for not beiThis book provides a clear road-map for every woman who is trying to do it all - and feeling like she can't; feeling like she is a failure for not being able to do everything and please everyone. That's what we want to do as women, isn't it? We want to be all and do all. But, what happens when we fail? We beat ourselves up and think we aren't good enough.
So, what exactly is a Life Ready Woman? She is a woman who knows who she is in God's eyes and follows His calling for her life. She doesn't try to do impress anyone other than her Creator. Whether He has called her to be a world traveler, a jet-setting corporate executive, a stay-at-home mom, or a single, unmarried woman, a Life Ready Woman embraces her calling and lives life to its full, because she knows who she is called to be.
But the bigger question is, in my mind, how do we know who God has called us to be? Isn't this one of life's greatest questions? In the first half of the book, the authors explore three types of callings, that they declare are the biblical road map to being a Life Ready Woman: 1. Core Callings - Our callings as humans designed in God's image 2. Feminine Callings - Our callings as women 3. Personal Callings - Our callings as individuals
I found these sections to be a very worthwhile read. They really made me think about my life and design as a human being first (Core Calling), then as a woman (Feminine Calling), and finally as a unique individual (Personal Calling). Have you ever thought about why you are in the body you are in? God made you female for a reason! There are some really enlightening and thought-provoking topics in this section centered around the three callings. I am looking forward to going back and re-reading these sections and soaking them in.
In the second half of the book, I was actually tempted to skip through parts of it, because I didn't feel like it pertained to me. I'm glad I didn't because I would have missed out on some very valuable information. The authors explore how we are to get the best out of each season of our life (i.e. single, single but engaged, newly married, married with preschoolers, married with grade-schoolers, married empty-nester, late-in-life widow, glorified saint) and the steps we should take during each season in order to live out our biblical road map.
This book is definitely worth the time spent reading it. There is a lot of information to digest and I think I need to go back and re-read it again to get a more full understanding of all the material presented by the authors. There is one tiny thing that annoyed me in this book, though. Since there are two authors and the book is written in the first person, I found the narrative presentation to be very clumsy. When Shaunti would be writing, her section would start something like: "When I (Shaunti) ..." or "I (Shaunti)..." When Robert would be writing a specific part, the section would start in a similar fashion: "I (Robert)..." or "This happened when I (Robert)..." It got incredibly annoying to read a book in this fashion. I think it could have been presented in a different way, such as in the third person.
In any case, I would recommend this book to any woman who is trying to do-it-all and feeling like she is barely keeping her head above water. This book will definitely put your life back into perspective and make you remember that you are God's child and He has plans for your life that are greater than any plans you could ever dream of!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review for the Litfuse Publicity Group Blog Tour. This did not influence my opinion of the book.