If you have not read Liz Curtis Higgs first novel in this series, I would not recommend reading this review due to spoilers from the first book. If you would like to read the review for the first book, click here.
1/11/11 - 1/12/11
Jamie has been spoken to by God. God has told him He will never forsake him. And when the time comes, the Lord gives Jamie strength to do right by Leana, even if he does not love her. But he is trying. He is trying more than ever - and it appears to everyone that he is succeeding, much to Rose's dismay and heartbreak. Her sister stole what was rightfully hers - her husband! But just when things seem to be working out between Jamie and Leana - right when they fully become one and truly love each other the way they are supposed to - the unthinkable happens.
They will never be the same again.
I'm having a hard time feeling motivated to write this review. It's a hard book to review when you don't know if you actually liked the book or not. :/ But I will do my best.
I love Leana. From the second half of the first book, she was my favorite character. She had the love for God, the love for Jamie, and the heart to serve others. I was amazed by her character and I wanted to be like her. It was the same in this book. And Jamie...he's a wonderful man. Put to the test, he will stand by righteousness. That's what I love about him. But Rose... Ugh. Rose. I really really reallllly did not like Rose in this story. She was selfish, rude, did not hold her tongue, did stupid things throughout the story, and pretty much drove me up the wall. Jamie realizes that he doesn't love her anymore, and sees this selfishness, but then that "unthinkable" thing happens and... Yah.
So, I'm not going to say what happens right here. I'm going to write it below this review, so that whoever wishes to read it can, and those who don't want to can skip it. What I will say is that I found it to be almost...perverse. It not only made me boil with anger, and made me sick to my stomach, but it was inhumane, and totally unbelievable. The characters believe that the elders in their church are good, Godly men, but the choice they make is anything but Godly.
Another thing is this: if you're going to re-write a Bible story, please please please do it right!!! I don't mind if you make certain changes as necessary, but if you choose an era to re-write the story in, and the original story is not believable in that time period, then PLEASE don't use it. It makes no sense at all and it puts the author in a weird situation because then he/she must change the course of the story too much.
But there are really amazing things to this story as well. Leana's character is one that I will always remember, even if I decide never to read these books again. (Once I get the third one in and read a bit more about it, I'll make a decision on whether or not I like the series and would recommend it.) Leana showed the most incredible peace and kindness and love and all the other fruits of the spirit in an incredibly difficult time in her life (any mother and wife who loves her children and husband would be horrified by what happens in this story). It is a peace that can only come from God. By that, I was amazed. Another great thing about this story is the writing; Higgs knows how to work her words very well. She's also an easy read. I am not the fastest reader alive, and I am a senior in highschool - and I still found time to read this book in two days plus finish all my school.
So would I recommend? I haven't decided yet. I guess that depends on the outcome of the third book...which I'm not even really excited about reading. I no longer care for the story, only to see what happens in the end. I guess I will just have to see if the story grabs me again. I'm disappointed... :(
Don't read if you still want to read the book. However, if you are curious about what I disliked about the book so much, this will give you a good insight before you make the journey yourself...if you decide to do so...
Jamie is shocked to hear that he is not actually married to Leana, but to Rose, due to a problem with the records. The Reverend comes to him, explains the dilemma and how everything got mixed up, and tells him there's a way to fix it all. They must sit before the Session and each person must tell his/her side of the story. Rose says one thing that could possibly be against them; Jamie manages to cover it up well, but when Leana goes in, she believes that Rose has said more, and ends up telling them all about how she loved Jamie and thought maybe he loved her, and went and took Rose's place in his bed after the marriage ceremony. The reason she does it? Because she wants to be blameless before the Lord. I agree 100% with that; in fact, I respected Leana's character sososososoooo much more because of it. Her courage amazed me. But it's what they do after that that makes me cringe. First, they say that Leana must relenquish her place as Mistress McKie, and give that to Rose. Then they take her son and give him to Rose. And then they make her sit in front of the whole church audience for three weeks in a row, with unbound hair and in a simple white dress, and confess her sins. And then they make Rose and Jamie get married not even a month later, if I remember correctly. It is heartless, unthinkable, and totally not Biblical. If a man and woman are married by practice, it doesn't freaking matter what the record says - change the record! It's not that important! So basically Jamie, who can do nothing to change this, must go from sleeping with one woman to another in three weeks. No mourning period. No time to wait for God to work on his heart. Nothing. (He ends up getting Rose pregnant, and trying to see the good in their forced marriage...I didn't feel that he mourned Leana enough. Really, that is a major issue. It seemed out of character for Jamie, and yet, it was good of him to seek peace in the Lord even in trials. It just didn't seem realistic at all - but the story isn't really realistic in general...) This deeply bothered me and the only reason why I'm not against recommending this series completely is because the third book may have some sort of redemption... I sincerely hope it does.