Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cottonwood Whispers

First of all, thanks to Tyndale for sending me this ARC. I didn't realize it was a sequel, but it can be just as easily read as a stand-alone book. After reading it, I'm definitely going to be looking for a copy of the first book as well as any continuations. I'd love to see this as a series.

First and foremost, it was anything but the typical inspirational fiction cliche. The protagonist is likable, witty, self-reliant, and not a Christian. There is also no "Damascus Road" experience where she is saved. When the book ends, she still does not believe. It really convinced me that the author, Jennifer Erin Valent, is writing books that appeal across genres (inspirational literature, chick lit, literary lit...wahtever) that avoid preachy, formulaic plots. The Christians portrayed in the book are all real people. For example, we have the father figure who, yes, prays before meals, but who also has his own doubts and struggles. None of the characters are perfect and we see all their flaws, but can still relate to them. I'm also a sucker for a good story, and this has one. The plot is captivating (main character must choose between protecting her family or protecting an innocent man) and the writing is good.

My only dislike was the dialect. I'm from the South too, but I don't love reading heavy dialect in books. Also, the book is written in first person, with the protagonist as narrator. In her narration she has no dialect - in her conversation it's heavy and uses tons of colloquialisms. A small issue, given the depth of the story.

Don't forget: post a comment on my previous post about the new bookcases I need and you might just win some books!

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