Sunday, August 22, 2010

LOVE, CHARLESTON by Beth Webb Hart

I know what you're thinking, because it's the same thing my wife said to me. "What are you reading? It looks feminine."

Yes, I'm reading a girly book. But I have good reasons.

First, I love a good story, and I've come to realize that great stories come in all kinds of packages. Sometimes the best tales are from books I wouldn't normally give a second glance. So, rather than only reading stories that capture my interest, I challenge myself to read books I think my wife might like. Which is why I read this book. I'm always on the lookout for stories that will capture my wife's heart, and by reading the same books she reads, I connect with her in deeper ways. It's another link between our hearts, another bond that strengthens our marriage.

Author Beth Webb Hart's book "Love, Charleston" is not a light, easy read. It revolves around some pretty painful themes like postpartum depression, adultery, and family jealousy. Which is why this book is a powerful story. As Christians, we hate to admit our downfalls and sins. If Christ is in our heart, our lives should be joyful and complete. But we all deal with struggles that we hope our friends and family will never discover. But that's exactly why three women can pull through their own struggles, the power, love, and support offered by family.

Anne is a few years away from being over the hill and longs for a husband. Years ago, she heard God's voice giving her a promise. But now she is starting to wonder if she misheard or misunderstood God. Alisha has a perfect family, home, and family, but when a frightening depression emerges, it completely unravels her life. Della struggles with feeling like she's made a mistake and married the wrong man. She is jealous of Alisha's lifestyle, especially compared to her home without AC and a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

This story doesn't provide a perfect ending, but it does offer a theme that is true in every Christian's life. Hope. We have hope in Jesus Christ, who offers joy that overcomes the messes of this life. And if offers an encouraging tale that captures the importance of female friendships.

Of note, I felt the back cover's book description didn't capture the true heart of this book. It implies that the book will revolve around Anne, but most of the viewpoint comes from Alisha and Della. I kept waiting for the book to focus more on Anne, but it never did, and her story felt more like a sidebar than a major theme.

3 out of 5

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson publishes as part of their blogger review program. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use and Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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