29 June 2012

Review - Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Baumbich

Sasha Davis was once the principal dancer for a famous Boston ballet company, but an injury has left her disabled and living in her old home in Wanonishaw, Minnesota, while she recovers. Evelyn Burt is the live-in carer. She is nineteen, and is working to gain some life experience before she marries her fiancé, has two babies and goes to college (in that order) before she is twenty-five. Evelyn was not a character I immediately feet I could relate to, but I really warmed to her as the story progressed, and that is real compliment to the author.

Donald Major is Sasha's dance partner and husband. They were dancing together when an undisclosed heart problem caused Sasha's fall. She has now left him, to his sorrow and frustration. But his efforts to reconnect with his wife are continually foiled by the ogre she has living with her, Ms. Burt, who screens all calls and manages all correspondence.

One of the things I admire about good writers is their ability to give their characters distinct yet believable voices. Charlene Baumbich is no exception. The character of Sasha is quiet and refined, with strong opinions and an underlying frustration. Sasha is slipping back into her memories, almost losing her grip on reality, and suffering from a depression that colours her view of the world.

Evelyn is young, brash and outspoken, and even though her actions do not always please Sasha, her motives are pure. She has a deep Christian faith which gradually affects Sasha, but the subject is very understated. I was especially impressed by the way there was almost a dual layer in the scenes written from Evelyn’s viewpoint – on one level, we could see the scene through Evelyn’s eyes, but on another level, we could also see some of the undertones to the scene that it was clear Evelyn didn’t see. This was very clever writing, and something few authors can achieve.

The writing wasn't all brilliant. There were a lot of flashbacks, and some of these passages were overlong (almost a page on the minor point of choosing a physical therapist). And the book was more ‘inspirational’ than ‘Christian’ fiction. But the good by far outweighed these minor points, leaving us a touching story of love, loss, searching and redemption. It was similar in tone to Five Miles South of Peculiar (which I reviewed last week). This is probably no accident – the two authors share the same literary agent. Finding Our Way Home is part of the Snowglobe Connections Series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.

Thanks to Waterbrook Press and BloggingforBooks® for providing a free ebook for review.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite reviews ever. Bless you. BLESS YOU! Thank you for your thoughtful words.