Tag Archives: book reviews

Book Review: Letters From War

30 Aug

Every night, Natalie leaves the front porch light on. Just in case. It’s been two years since her son, James, went missing while saving the life of a fellow paratrooper in his division. Natalie’s faith has sustained her while she awaits word on her son’s whereabouts. Well-meaning friends encourage Natalie to move on, but Natalie continues to hope.

Prologue  

Mark Schultz is a Dove-Award winning artist and has become one of Christian music’s most acclaimed singer/songwriters. He received BMI’s Christian Song of the Year in 2003 for “Back in His Arms Again.” Schultz has also tasted success on the mainstream adult contemporary charts with such hits as “He’s My Son,” “Letters from War,” and “Walking Her Home.” Schultz has flooded radio with ten No. 1 songs, such as “Remember Me” and “I Am the Way.” He’s also earned the top spot on Billboard magazine’s Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriter list. His 2005 release, Mark Schultz Live . . . A Night of Stories & Songs, sold RIAA certified Platinum and garnered Schultz his first GMA Dove Award.

Travis Thrasher is the author of twelve works of fiction including two novellas, The Promise Remains and The Watermark. He has been called “the Nicholas Sparks of Christian fiction” by Christian Retailing magazine. Travis’s drive and imagination have allowed him to see a variety of books published: from love stories (The Watermark; Three Roads Home) to suspense (Gun Lake; Admission; Blinded) to drama (The Second Thief; Sky Blue) to supernatural thrillers (Isolation; Ghostwriter). Travis lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter in a suburb of Chicago.

 

My Impressions:

 

Letters From War written by Mark Schultz with Travis Thrasher is a novel based on Schultz’s song of the same name.  This time the war is the one we are waging in Afghanistan and James has been MIA for almost two years.  The story is told in a series of letters to and from James from the time of  his recruitment until his disappearance in the wilds of Afghanistan.  What results is a look into what makes a hero and the extreme sacrifices of our servicemen and women and the families left at home. Also emphasized is the powerful work of prayer — even in times when God seems especially silent.

 

James does not see himself as a hero, just someone dedicated to defending his country wherever it may send him.  His mother doesn’t feel like a strong woman, but that’s what others see as she continues praying and working for her missing son, even when others say it is time to move on.   A quick read, Letters From War will leave you with a new understanding and appreciation for what it takes to be a member of a military family.  Read this book if you are part of a military family — mother, wife, father, brother.  Read this book if you are not, because we all need a new perspective on war, duty and sacrifice.

 

Recommended.

 

 

(I received Letters From War from Howard Books.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Book Review: Things Left Unspoken

7 Jun

Jo-Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family house in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Seeing the project as the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her self-absorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends, Jo-Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. But things are not what they seem, both in the house and within the complex history of her family. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will Jo-Lynn’s marriage survive the renovation? Jo-Lynn isn’t sure she wants to know the truth–but sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.

Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker, a popular radio personality, and the award-winning author of Things Left Unspoken. She is co-author of The Potluck Club series and The Potluck Catering Club series. She lives in Casselberry, Florida.

My Impressions:

Things Left Unspoken is the June pick of my book club, By The Book.  (We will be discussing the novel this coming Friday.)  I loved it!  Everson’s book is part historical, part mystery, part relationship fiction.  And while that seems like an awful lot — it really works.

Jo-Lynn Hunter returns to the big house in Cottonwood to attend her Uncle Jim’s funeral.  While there she is offered the job of restoring the family home to its former beauty.  Already emotionally distanced from her husband Evan, Jo-Lynn makes the physical move to restore the house and in turn her own life.  But the project becomes dangerous.  There are those who want the secrets the house holds to stay that way.

I loved how Everson revealed the history of the family through the flashbacks of Jo-Lynn’s Aunt Stella.  A dynamo even at the age of 90+, Stella was a stunner in her youth; a woman determined to live her life on her own terms.  The unfolding story is full of surprises and twists.  A wonderful mystery to keep the reader turning the pages.

Jo-Lynn’s own story develops as well.  From the start, her twenty-five year marriage to Evan seems doomed or at least one that will not be enough for her.  But the relationship continues to be restored, just as the work on the house progresses.

Everson also keeps you guessing until the end.  I like that in a book.  I don’t want to be able to figure everything out in the beginning and then watch how the author reveals it.  It’s great to keep questioning up until the final pages.  And if you are hankering for a truly Southern vibe, complete with caramel cake, fried chicken and potato salad  — you will find it in Things Left Unspoken.

Highly Recommended.

(This book was not a solicited review.  I purchased it for my Kindle for my book club.  Just so you know.)

Have you read Things Left Unspoken?  I would love to share your comments with my book club.  Please leave a comment.