Thursday, May 1, 2014

Good Effort

A few years ago, I read a book by Irene Hannon.  I enjoyed it.  She's written many books and I haven't read one in a while, but I decided to read the new one that has come out this spring.  It is titled One Perfect Spring.

The story begins with Haley Summers.  She's 11 years old and is living with her mom in a home that needs a lot of repair work.  Next door to them lives Maureen Chandler, a 60 year old professor at a local Christian college.  Haley writes a letter to a businessman asking for help to find Ms. Chandler's son that she gave up for adoption when he was born.  The man responds.  Enter Keith, the business man's executive assistant, who is asked to follow up on the request and pursue the matter.  Keith connects with Haley's mother, Claire, and sparks fly.  The back of the book says all of this, so I'm not giving anything away.  Much of the rest of the book is very predictable.  There are a few minor unexpected twists, but nothing major.

The writing is competent, except for a few big jumps that I saw.  I remember being surprised by a scene in which Claire's father arrives at her home.  Keith is there and then "poof!"--suddenly he isn't!  The transition was missing.

I often wonder, too, why so much physical description of how the male and female characters look needs to be given.  It isn't simply thin, slender, or handsome...  sentences like "He had a feeling she had great legs." on pg. 39;  "As for those soft curves..." (Keith thinks of Claire on pg. 56); and "tried not to stare at the well-developed hamstrings below his gym shorts" on pg. 157.    I had a single friend once ask me about writing like this.  I explained that I could see how it wasn't wise for single women to read books like this because of where it leads their minds.  But, I felt it wasn't always wise for married women either.  One of the reasons we love to watch movies and read stories is that as readers, we can live vicariously through the characters.  When I read lines like the ones above, I wonder...  Do these lines need to be in Christian romance books?  Or could you not include them?  I remember a book several years ago, The Familiar Stranger, which made me think it could be done.  The attraction between a man and woman could be described without sounding like a Harlequin romance--because in that book Christina Berry did it well, in my opinion.

The story moves along at a good pace.  I didn't find myself skipping bunches of pages (which is a good sign in my mind) that the book all ties together.

Lately, a lot of Christian fiction seems to be blending together for me.  This one is a lot like Caught in the Middle.  If you like Hannon's writing in other books and like sappy, Harlequin-type Christian romance, then you'll like this one.  If you don't and prefer something more like The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser or Ann Gabhart's books, then I'd pass on this one.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Revell Books.

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