You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2009.

I’ve been thinking about the book reviews in my last two posts.

The issues I had with both books had to do with the faith of the characters. It bothered me that the characters didn’t show a deep faith. I figured out why I had a problem with that.

You see, I want a deep abiding faith. I don’t want  the only thing people can say about me at my death is, “she always attended church.” Attending church is easy. In fact, you can sit in church with a smile on your face while your mind is in some other far away place called imagination. No, that is easy. Instead, I want more.


Because I know a man who was also God. He came for the purpose of freeing slaves. Slaves to sin.

And he freed me. Therefore I don’t want a mediocre faith–Lukewarm.

Revelation 3:15-17 (New International Version)

15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

If you take the church and prayer out of Rose House, the story doesn’t change much.

For instance if a character is on drugs at the beginning of the book, and not at the end, I want to see how faith in God–through the person of Jesus–made a difference. I didn’t see that.

Now had that same exact story come from the secular arm of that publisher, I would not have had the same response. It was published by the Christian division. In my opinion the book could have been published as a secular book and could have sold well there(in general, I liked the story).

I read secular books. I don’t expect to see a strong faith element. But from a Christian publisher, I do.

I don’t know? What are your thoughts?

ROSE HOUSE by Tina Ann Forkner

rose house

Summary for Rose House

A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.
Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.
She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.
What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.
A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

To learn more about this book, please visit:

Rose House

My comments on the story:

I loved the story line. I could picture Rose House as a beautiful place deserving to be on the cover of House Beautiful or some such magazine.  The cover art for the book is outstanding(I love roses).  And I loved Truman, the artist.

My only problem with the story is that the faith element is a little weak–superficial. They go to church. They pray. But I didn’t see any real grappling with faith. I know, I know, fiction is for entertaining, not preaching, but I would have liked to have seen faith at work in the lives of the characters or renewed or new faith in the lives of those who struggle with sin–like the sister Geena(I love stories of redemption-and while she was redeemed at the end, I can’t say it was because of her faith). I’m sure someone else reading this story would think the opposite.  So don’t take my word for it.

Even so, I enjoyed reading the book.

I loved Debbie Macomber’s Shop on Blossom Street, so I was excited to get the book The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo.

Knit for Love

The Knit Lit Society of Sweetgum, Tennessee meets to discuss literature and show their knitting projects that somehow connect to the stories they are reading. In this book(book 2) they discuss “Great Love Stories in Literature” — Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Song of Solomon, and Gone with the Wind. The stories parallel somewhat the lives of the ladies in the society.

Romeo and Juliet’s story is lived out through the lives of a bi-racial romance. While I read the story, I was hoping they wouldn’t kill themselves like in the play.

There was also a Pride and Prejudice storyline where the rich, arrogant business man falls for the less than desirable shop keeper.

The Gone with the Wind parallel comes in when one of the ladies has to deal with the illness of a child.

I enjoyed the teenage romance. The teenage romance links to Wuthering Heights story since Cathy and Heathcliff began their love for one another as children just like the young couple in the book. Fortunately, the couple in the book had a happier ending than Cathy and Heathcliff. I read Wuthering Heights for my 10th grade book report(verbal). Very complicated plot–loved it.

OK, I didn’t quite get the Song of Solomon parallel. That’s just my ignorance I suppose.

I was a little disappointed in the  librarian’s story. She is an older newlywed(to a Pastor) of just a few weeks when the book begins.  Before being a Pastor’s wife she rarely attended church because of being let down by the people. Still,  I’ve been let down by people in the church before, but they are just people–sinners–so I wouldn’t let them stop me from doing what is my duty–not to the people, but to God(obedience). In the end she is supposed to stand up and give her testimony which is supposed to relieve any doubts the church people have in her Christianity. The actual testimony wasn’t in the book, which disappointed me a great deal, and the summary of her testimony sounded like a “this is what I’ve done” which is contrary to my belief in saving faith being based on what Christ did, not what we do.  I was not convinced.

If you’re interested in learning more, click here:

The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Eugenia cooper

I LOVED reading The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y’Barbo. Eugenia wanted a wild west adventure like the hero in her favorite dime novel, and unbeknownst to her family, she escapes to Colorado to find one.

Did she get it?

Yes! That much and more:

A Curly Sue type little girl

A handsome rich man of English nobility

Her very own boots and buckskin jacket with fringe

A train chase

A carriage careening out of control


A scandal

AND a bejeweled chicken

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a masterful story weaver. I loved how she started each chapter with a short excerpt of the dime novel the heroine loved to read!

An extremely entertaining and fun read! Buy your own copy here:

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

I read stuff like this and I have to wonder why am I even trying to write. My storytelling falls so short when compared to this author’s expertise.

Hints for Lovers

Click on the above for a book from 1909. I personally enjoyed reading it. It contains a good many insights on Men and Women that still apply today, 100 years later.

Reading old books has made me realize how dumbed down our language has become.

This is a dangling participle:

Washing the window, a bird flew by the incredibly brave man.

This is a dangling person:

various - summer 2009 dangling man

My day job is on the 9th floor of a ten-story building and I just had to take this picture when  the windows were washed this past week.

I personally don’t like sentences starting with participles.

Two  Sundays ago I went to bed around 9:00 with a book. In the process I had one of those moments where a good first line of a book comes to me. So I got my PDA from its charger(my computer was downstairs and I did not want to go back down to get it). I have become more and more reliant on the thing as my memory has become more and more unreliable.

With my stylus in hand, I tapped out that first line and the next until I had the entire 1st chapter written.
And I thought what I had written was brilliant and funny. At least I laughed out loud. And granted it was a rough rough draft and would need more work, but I was pleased with the plot.

Wanting to share my new excitement I rushed downstairs (notice that  I am excited enough about this to run downstairs)to have my husband (his deep dark secret is that he loves to read romance) read it and tell me what he thinks.

He is quick to laugh, so I waited with bated breath to see him throw his head back ( dreaded floating body part we’re told not to use in our writing–translation:  his head detached from his body and was thrown backward) and laugh as he so often does while reading or watching TV.

I waited and waited and still no laughter. He is a fast reader so I expected him to have come to the funny part. Then he handed me back my PDA and said, “I like it.”

I didn’t want him to “like it”. I wanted him to laugh. But he didn’t.

I began to think that maybe the lateness of the hour had me a little on the delirious side(I’m not a late night person) and that my story wasn’t funny at all.

But the next day, I still thought it was funny.

They say humor is subjective. I suppose this just proved it.

My ego had been damaged. I  continued on and laughed at my own jokes, thinking maybe I would be the only one.

And fortunately, after sending my 1st chapter to the ACFW critique group, I finally got the laughs I so longed to receive– in the form of LOLs. I can’t tell you what those LOLs meant to me. I wasn’t crazy after all.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.