Book Review: The Fine Art of Insincerity

1 Jun

Three Southern sisters with nine marriages between them–and more looming on the horizon–travel to St. Simons Island to empty their late grandmother’s house. Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she’s the only one who hasn’t inherited what their family calls “the Grandma Gene”–the tendency to enjoy the casualness of courtship more than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a “girls only” weekend, closing up Grandma’s memory-filled beach cottage for the last time, for the sisters to unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind.

 

 

 

With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including The Tale of Three Trees, Don’t Bet Against Me, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Hunt is one of the most sought-after collaborators in the publishing industry. Her nonfiction book Don’t Bet Against Me, written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Timesbestseller list. Angela’s novel The Note (with sales of over 141,000) was filmed as the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie for 2007 and proved to be the highest rated television movie in the channel’s history. She often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences, and she served as the keynote speaker at the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers’ national conference. She and her husband make their home in Florida with mastiffs. In 2001, one of her dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest dog in America.

My Impressions:

I love Angela Hunt’s books.  She has a great range — from historical/biblical to small town to contemporary fiction — she offers great  choices for any reader.  So I was excited about reading and reviewing her latest contemporary novel, The Fine Art of Insincerity.   I just wasn’t prepared for the toll it took on this reader.

In Hunt’s novel, three sisters gather to pack up and clean out their deceased grandmother’s cottage on St. Simon’s Island.   Ginger is the oldest; the one who feels duty-bound to direct the clean-up just as she directed her younger sister’s lives following the death of their mother.  Penny is the many times married flirt who just cannot seem to find her soul mate.  And Rose, my favorite character, is the youngest sister who feels like she just never quite fit into the family and life in general.  All have been harboring hurts and resentments for years.  And the long weekend they spend together serves to rip the protective coverings from the wounds on their hearts.

As I said, this book took a toll on me.  Don’t get me wrong — I really liked this book.  But The Fine Art of Insincerity made me examine my own relationships and the costs and consequences that are part of keeping them shallow, insincere — pretending that everything is okay.  All three characters have something to say to the reader:  Ginger – service without love, Penny – dishonesty and fear of commitment, and Rose – self-worth and value.  And then there is Grandma Lillian with the larger than life presence that runs through the women’s lives and the story.  Lillian’s character speaks of love, acceptance and forgiveness.

The Fine Art of Insincerity is not a breezy, girls weekend, kind of read.  It is a thoughtful and thought-provoking look into family dynamics — ugly warts and all.  A great book club pick, Hunt’s novel just might get you to look beneath the surface of your own relationships; encouraging you to peel away those things that insulate us from the one’s we love most.

Highly Recommended.

(I received The Fine Art of Insincerity from Glass Road PR in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

One Response to “Book Review: The Fine Art of Insincerity”

  1. Renee Ann June 1, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Great review, Beckie!

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