Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: "Love, Charleston" by Beth Webb Hart

"Stay and wait." Anne Brumley heard these words years ago in the bell tower at Saint Michael's Church in Charleston. She's certain they were from God and has been waiting for true love ever since. But her sister, Della, and their cousin, Alicia, have their doubts. Could Anne have misunderstood His calling? Saint Michael's new rector may be the answer to Anne's prayers. Good-old-boy and widower Roy Summerall can't believe he's been called to pastor such an historical and a decidedly rich congregation. He can't possibly measure up to their expectations. It will take a miracle of extraordinary love to provide a happy ending for each of these four Charleston friends.

This is one of those stories that really stick with you after you finish reading the book. When I started the story, I was afraid it was going to be a slow read. I wasn't connecting with the characters and I was worried that I would not enjoy the book. However, after a few chapters I became immediately drawn into the story and wanted to be a part of it myself. The characters suddenly became real and the drama of the story sucked me in.

Three women and one man are the focus of the story. Sisters Ann and Delia and their cousin Lish already live in Charleston while pastor Roy arrives after accepting a position at a church. It turns out that they have connections in their past and it is because of their past that they are where they are now. The women are facing problems involving their families, their marriages, their career and their health. Roy is trying to move on from a past that involved his young wife dying. Through certain incidents they are all brought together.

To be honest, the story that stood out the most for me was Lish's. It was painful reading about her having to suffer from postpartum depression and her husband trying to play it off like it's nothing. I was horrified at how he ended up treating her and how she could have been alone in her most dire need if it hadn't been for her sister and cousin. The other stories were interesting but they didn't hold a candle to reading about Lish. I enjoyed Delia's store more than Roy and Anne's. It was really interesting seeing her grow throughout the story and I was intrigued at how her story would end. I didn't feel as if we really got to know Anne and while I liked reading about Roy, I didn't connect to him like I did with the women.

The story is beautifully written. I've never been to Charleston (much less South Carolina) but from Hart's words, I felt like I was really in the city. In fact, I almost felt like I was in a different country in Europe, with the different culture and way of life. Faith is an important part of the story. It is weaved through the characters' lives and helped to enhance the story. However, it feels very natural, not forced upon and is more like a background character. This is the second book from Hart that I have read and I really enjoy her stories that are set in the South. They give off a rich flavor that is very comforting and makes one long to be there themselves. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart is published by Thomas Nelson (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

1 comment:

  1. I got to meet Beth Webb Hart at SIBA and have been excited about this book ever since. You need to come to Charleston - it is like a different country.


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