Felicia and Jackson Morgan are in their middle ages and are recently separated. In the beginning of the book we don’t know why they separated, only thFelicia and Jackson Morgan are in their middle ages and are recently separated. In the beginning of the book we don’t know why they separated, only that Felicia is devastated by the separation. They have 3 children for the 19 years they have been married- Travis, Hank, and Sarah. Every Christmas Jackson gives Felicia a Christmas ornament, an ornament that symbolizes something that happened that particular year.
Throughout the novel we go back and forth in time- reliving Felicia’s memories of her marriage with Jackson. We learn that when Jackson and Felicia were just 19 they had an intimate moment after Jackson found out his father died and was in the midst of grief. When Felicia found out she was pregnant their parents suggested that she and Jackson get married. I think truly this is where the problems started to begin.
I really liked that the marriage between Felicia and Jackson was very realistic. As the story progresses we learn more about their marriage and their challenges and struggles. At times I wanted to both shake both Felicia and Jackson, but most of all Felicia. She was so angry at Jackson, accusing him of cheating when there was no actual proof. Truly I think she was most angry at herself.
This book even though it didn’t clearly state it, emphasized the effects of Postpartum depression. I think Felicia suffered it - especially after her firstborn, Sarah. Her whole life was changed when she found out she was pregnant, not to mention marrying someone very quickly. She had dreams of going to law school. After their second child was born Felicia wanted to go back to school but Jackson stated they didn’t have the money. Felicia didn’t just want to be a mom, she wanted something more. And I was kind of upset at Jackson for not realizing this.
Issues in marriage such as intimacy issues, financial struggles, having children when not ready were all discussed in this book. I think all marriages go through seasons of struggles but what we do about it will determine if the marriage will succeed or suffer. God is there to help with those struggles. Through prayer and personally working on the marriage can help make the marriage last.
**I was provided a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. ...more
The story starts off right before WWII breaks out. I have not read too many WWII books set in Austria so it was interesting to read about the Nazi OccThe story starts off right before WWII breaks out. I have not read too many WWII books set in Austria so it was interesting to read about the Nazi Occupation in Austria during that time. Annika, Hermann, Luzia, and Max are the main characters in the story. Each of them has an important part in the story.
Annika is a young girl that is secretly in love with Max Dubach- her childhood friend. Though Max is deeply in love with Luzia. - a Jewish girl. I liked Annika's character but she kind of bugged me at the beginning. She let her jealousy get the best of her. Annika's family is the caretaker of Dubach's estate. One evening she finds a Star of David among Max mother's things. Is Max family Jewish? And what does that mean for her friend?
Max and Hermann are helping the Jewish by rescuing their precious gold and heirlooms and burying them in the Lake so the Nazi's can't find them. Soon they enlist Annika in helping them. She, of course, agrees because she would do anything for Max.
In the modern day story, we are introduced to Callie. Callie owns a bookstore with her sister Brie. Callie is a lover of books and has often dreamed of escaping to the places mentioned in her books. Growing up her childhood wasn't the greatest. Her father was absent most of her life and she never knew her mother. She raised Brie practically on her own. She met Charlotte when she was just a little girl and Charlotte became the 'mother' she desperately needed.
Charlotte I think is suppose to be in her 80s (she was 7 when the Nazi's raided the orphanage). She was adopted and never knew her birth mother/family. She always has wanted to know but never could find them. When Callie meets Josh- a history professor will she have the chance to reunite Charlotte with her family?
First off, this book starts off very slow. Not really much happens during the first half of the book. What occurs during these pages sets up the rest of the book and it speeds up from there. So you have to be patient when reading this book. However, the end is so worth it. I teared up at the end!
With that being said, it is a hard book to read. It's set during a dark time in our history and not many people want to think about it or talk about it. I won't spoil the ending but the mystery of Charlotte and who her mother was - is heartwrenching. This book reminds us to love our neighbor. No matter their lifestyle, sex, race, religion, etc. Human life is something that is precious and sacred. What we do for others speaks volumes about our character and love for each other.
Each character grew a lot in this story. Especially Annika. She started off being very timid and Naive. Through all the trials she faced in the story - she grew up and became more confident and courageous. Luzi wasn't really written into the story that much in the first half but she became an important character later on. So much bad things happened to her- I just wanted to give her a hug! Though despite of it all, she pushed through and I admired that about her character.
The one thing that did gripe me just a little is that Melanie tended to describe everything. From what the people were wearing (not just the color but shape, brand, etc.) to what the subject was viewing or doing. While I don't mind some descriptive writing - I felt it was a tad overdone.
Also, this was a dual time period story. I thought both time periods were well written. I didn't feel like a preferred one story over the other. I found that Callie mirrored Annika in many ways. Both in personality and life mission/purpose.
Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. ...more
Keziah is a twenty-year-old woman who lives in Savannah, Georgia when the war breaks out between the states. Her family is of course for the ConfederaKeziah is a twenty-year-old woman who lives in Savannah, Georgia when the war breaks out between the states. Her family is of course for the Confederacy. However, after being invited to an abolitionist meeting with her longtime friend, Micah she soon converts over. Though she keeps it a secret and fears telling her family. One evening Keziah finds a young slave in the stables- running away from his master. He was supposed to meet up with a conductor but something went wrong and he ended up at her house. She finds a way to rescue the boy in the underground railroad. Shortly after she starts conducting herself- rescuing slaves through the underground railroad.
Micah returns to Savannah after finishing medical school up north. He then reunites with Keziah. All the feelings he had for her came flooding back. I really liked Micah's character. He was very passionate about his abolitionist standings and was very much for the Union. This made him an outsider in every way.
Jennie, Keziah's cousin comes down south to visit. Ugh, this woman. I absolutely loathed her. She would constantly complain about the war, the lack of rations, and not having simple luxuries. She didn't once have any compassion towards the poor and the soldiers suffering. She was insufferable!
Micah and Keziah - I adored them together. They just fit. Tara somehow wrote their relationship in a way that made the reader feel that they were meant for each other - right from the start. They were so sweet on each other.
I admired Keziah's bravery. She could have decided not to conduct - and left it up to history for the blacks to be free. She was willing to risk everything so that a black family could live a better life in the free states.
What I really enjoyed about this story was Keziah's epilepsy. Her family kept blaming her for her illness and kept it a secret from the public for fear of a scandal. However, Keziah didn't see it as a failure and didn't let it get in her way of achieving her dreams. I really appreciated this aspect. You can do anything God has set your heart to do - even if you have a disability.
This book also made me appreciate the freedom we have today. Men laid down their lives so that every man and woman shall be free- regardless of color.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was fully engrossed in the story and finished it in just two days time. I was also fully impressed that this was Tara's debut. I would have never guessed!
*I was sent a copy of this book to review by the publisher. ...more