Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dreams that Won't Let Go...

Just now I began to think about the title of this book. If I had picked up this book up at a bookstore, I would have assumed that the dreams spoken of in the title were good dreams that someone was chasing after to achieve. Actually, this book is very different. It's a good one, but different than what the title sounds like.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed a book that really made me consider what makes a book a "good" book--one that I would recommend. I ran into a lot of issues with that book. Since it was the second book in a series and I hadn't read the first, I had to consider the question whether it could stand on its own. In the case of that book, it couldn't very well. It was difficult to follow the story and understand a lot of cultural assumptions that were made about what the reader would understand.

The book I'm reviewing today is actually the third in a series. I didn't realize that at the time I agreed to review it. Dreams That Won't Let Go is written by Stacy Hawkins Adams. She has written 5 other novels. It intrigued me that it is considered contemporary fiction rather than contemporary romance. It made me curious about how this book would be different than the two other books I've read recently that were called "romance" novels.

So, let me begin...

One of the marks of a good book to me is that it makes you want to read it--you want to know how it is going to end--there are questions you want to know the answers to. Another mark to me is that the characters are real and believable. Their struggles are genuine as well as their joys. One last thing that I think is really important in light of recent books I've read is that the reader can really follow what is happening in the story and not feel ignorant or at a loss about who is who.

This book is about a black family living in Jubilant, a small town in Texas just north of Dallas. The parents of Reuben, Indigo, and Yasmin died when they were young. Their paternal grandparents took them in as their own. The story begins as Indigo is preparing for her wedding and Reuben has decided to move back with his family to Jubilant. The story follows the challenges that Indigo and all of the family face as her brother moves back.

The Story: Good. The twists were realistic, but unexpected at times, too--but not overly so. I would compare it to a good cup of coffee. It wasn't too strong, or weak.

The Writing: Interesting, easy to read, not too slow or fast. Honestly, Ms. Adams' writing reminds me of Karen Kingsbury's novels. There was one particular detail that the author includes at the beginning of chapter 28 about black Baptist church customs that was really interesting to me. But, it was written in a way that was relevant to the reader no matter what the racial background is of the reader. After reading Songs of Deliverance a few weeks ago, I really appreciated this. She skillfully included it.

Issues: It was not a soap opera and marriage/romance is not portrayed as the center of one's life. Rather, it was portrayed as a part of life. When counsel was given by friends to one another, it was honest and biblical, but not preachy.

In Conclusion: This book is good and I would recommend it. I enjoyed it and I'm glad that I read it.

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