16 July 2012

Review: The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen

Macy Dillon works in a local supermarket and satisfies her artistic bent by painting the store windows, because a single mother can't afford art school. She cares for her daughter, Emma, rescues and bails out her part-boy brother, Max, and spends time with her mother, who is still mourning the loss of her husband after ten years. But now her mother thinks it is time to move on, and proposes the family spend two weeks in their old vacation haunt of Sunset Beach, at Time in a Bottle, the house they always leased.

Macy goes to the beach house hoping that she will be able to reconnect with the artist who drew her pictures in The Guest Book at the house they always rented. She is surprised to be courted by three men, all of whom could be her mystery artist: Nate, the pastor; Wyatt, the boy next door; and Dockery, who is volunteering at the art camp Emma is attending. But, more importantly, she begins to rediscover the faith in God she lost after her father died.

I really enjoyed The Guest Book.  I thought it was going to be general Christian fiction, but it actually turned into a very nice romance with lots of chemistry, and an interesting and original plot. However, I haven't read The Mailbox (also by Marybeth Whalen), and another reviewer makes the point that the two are very similar, except that a mailbox substitutes for a guest book. So maybe this not quite so original as I thought...

However, the language was beautiful, and I really liked the way the author wove Christianity into the plot and how Macy’s search for the artist worked on different levels. I particularly liked the way we were drawn into the story, with the author giving us tiny clues about what has happened and perhaps even what is going to happen.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. I read this book and enjoyed it as well-it's not a pure romance, because it explores some deeper themes, such as the nature of grieving, the nature of art (and artists), family relationships. We're going to be discussing this book at the Christian Fiction Facebook page, at our Virtual Book Club, on August 13. Visit the page for details. http://www.facebook.com/ChristianFiction