Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Good Book, But Not What We Had Hoped For

Rose Chandler Johnson's first novel tells the story of Lily Rose Cates, whose father died when she was sixteen. Her desire to replace the security she lost with the loss of his acceptance and attention leads her to make a rash choice that takes her away from the world she's always known and puts her in grave danger. She escapes back to the environs she once knew and begins to feel whole and secure in the property left to her in her father's will – her father's house. But the consequences of her past are not so easily eluded . . .

The tale is told from Cates's point of view, and told clearly. But many details of her “ordeal” make the story less than thrilling, and this protagonist a bit weak. It's hard to explain this without “spoilers,” so I'll just point out that it's not that difficult to run away from a dangerous marriage when one's husband is out of the country for weeks, one can afford a plane ticket and can access plenty of cash, and one has a house, family, friends [including a lawyer] and $80,000 waiting. For most of this novel, the dangers are not severe enough, the consequences of several poor choices are not perilous enough, and even the villain turns out not to be as villainous as he could be.

There are a couple of awkward spots in the writing, when Cates breaks from her homespun southern style of narration and sounds almost clinical. Someone says “Wow” and she refers to this as a “monosyllabic expletive” not a description one expects to hear from a Georgia girl, even one who has spent time in Detroit.

The timeline of the tale is confusing when Cates tells of getting maried, suffering through a Detroit winter, and later having Thanksgiving dinner, but also claims that she met her husband-to-be one five months earlier. But the major flaw in this story is that it is tepid. The heroine's journey isn't all that noteworthy.

Johnson is a good writer, and I hope her next novel has a plot and lead character worth her talents.

About the book:
Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant --- her father's love.

But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily's struggle to find herself and the life she's lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband's sophisticated fa├žade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.

When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices --- abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman's compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she's meant to be . . . in her father's house.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:
Rose Chandler Johnson is the author of the award winning devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. My Father's House is her first novel. She happily makes her home near Augusta, Georgia.

This reviewer received the product free or at a discounted price in order to bring you an honest review. No other form of compensation was given. All opinions are those of the reviewer.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! I'm sorry you thought the story was confusing. I hope you read the entire novel. I do appreciate you taking the time to do this. Lily Rose met her husband in early August, and at Christmas, it would have been five months. I was actually meticulous with the time lines. And I do believe, that no matter what is waiting out the door, it's always hard for a Christian wife to leave her abusive husband. I've have lots of personal experience with that, as one who suffered through it, as well as a counselor. Thanks again.