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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Art of Losing Yourself by Kate Ganshert

By having the art of losing yourself, can you find yourself again in the midst of brokenness and pain?

As half sisters, Carmen and Gracie could not be more different. Carmen has great job as a meteorologist at the local TV station, has a high school football coach named Ben as her husband, lives in a nice house and goes to church on Sunday. From the outside it looks like she has a perfect life. Gracie on the other hand is a teenager who runs away from Carmen's and Gracie's alcoholic mother, gets in trouble at school and is an expert on pushing people away. As Gracie comes to live with Carmen and Ben, the brokenness of their lives comes to the surface.

Carmen is overwhelmed by the grief she is feeling after repeatedly having miscarriages. As she pushes Ben away in her grief, she throws herself into restoring a run down motel owned by her Aunt Ingrid. Ingrid is in a nursing home suffering from dementia and Carmen clings to the hope that restoring the motel can bring Ingrid and her some measure of peace and hope.

Gracie is also involved in the restoring of the motel as well as struggling to fit in at school. When a star football player befriends her, she is not sure she can trust him with who she really is. After so much rejection and loss in her life, Gracie struggles to find out who she is and who she wants to be. Along the way Gracie and Carmen work to repair their broken relationship.

This is a story that is hard to put down. The emotions are so raw and real that you feel as though you really know the characters. The story is not wrapped up neatly at the end but you feel a sense of hope in the ending.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

Sarah Brown is the daughter of abolitionist John Brown. After suffering an illness as a child, Sarah is unable to bear children so all of her passion and energy is poured into her father's work in the underground railroad. As a talented artist, Sarah incorporates symbols in her paintings, which in turn are maps for the underground railroad. She becomes one of the Underground Railroad's leading mapmakers. As tensions rise and the country is heading for the Civil War, Sarah's work becomes more important, but she has to make difficult sacrifices along the way.

Fast forward over 150 years later and Sarah's story is running parallel with that of Eden Anderson, a modern day woman struggling with infertility. Eden and her husband Jack have just purchased an old home in the suburbs of Washington D.C., and Eden discovers the porcelain head of a doll in an old root cellar of the house. This doll is the link to the underground railroad and the history of what happened in that home and to Sarah.

Both Eden and Sarah share the same struggles in not being able to bear children. I enjoyed Sarah's story much more than Eden's story. Eden was a difficult character for me to like. All in all, though the story of Sarah carries the day and makes this book an enjoyable one to read. The story of Sarah is based on the real Sarah Brown which makes the telling all the more interesting.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.