Guideposts - Fiction/Christian
I'm going back to an old format I used to use regularly, for this particular review. Who knows. I might just stick with it for a while.
What led you to pick up this book? Remembering You was advertised as a tour book and I was chosen to review it (by Litfuse Publicity Group -- not sure how they choose, but generally you don't get to sign up for two tours in a row). The WWII battle site setting and the author were the two things that caught my interest. I've been curious about Tricia Goyer's writing for a while. To be honest, they caught me at a weak moment. I'm still not accepting books for review. Allegedly.
Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. When television producer Ava Ellington's grandfather Jack asks her to accompany him on a trip to Europe to the sites of the battles he fought during WWII, she agrees. She decides to turn it into a working trip, bringing her camera and her curiosity along with her. Grandpa Jack and Ava meet up with his long-time best friend from the service, Paul, and Paul's grandson Dennis. Dennis and Ava have a history but their time together ended badly. During their travels, Ava discovers that Grandpa Jack has a secret that she feels compelled to uncover at risk of infuriating all of her travelling companions. Will Grandpa Jack reveal his painful war secret or will Ava end up creating a lasting rift between them? Can Ava and Dennis forget the past and begin again?
What did you like most about the book? The setting(s) from Paris, France through Belgium and Germany to Austria and the WWII history upon which Grandpa Jack's story was based. I thought it was pretty plain that the author had done her research.
What did you dislike about the book? I thought the plotting was a bit transparent and found it difficult to buy into the storyline fully. Had it not been a tour book and a quick read (sadly, I will often finish a book that flows, whether or not I'm fully enjoying it), I might not have finished the book. While it is a Christian novel, I didn't find the Christianity aspect overwhelming or preachy, but it did feel a bit like it was thrown in rather than . . . I don't know, organic? It just seemed a little awkward to me, although not nearly as awkward as the romance and the cheesy conflict.
What did you think of the main character? Ava was pretty annoying. She gradually seemed to soften a bit but my main problem with her was that I just didn't believe in her as a character. I was never able to fully set aside the feeling that I was reading a novel and get swept into the story.
Thoughts about the plot? Not to beat a dead horse, but I just thought the conflict was too forced and some of the plot elements too convenient. However, Remembering You does have a nice grounding in reality as far as the war dimension goes. I know my father felt very strongly about the years he spent in the service and was deeply connected to his war buddies. They often travelled great distances to meet up with each other and it's not uncommon for people to hold reunions at the sites where their war experiences took place. So the setting felt realistic, if not the story itself. I could also certainly buy into the conflicting emotions of an old man returning to a site of terrible tragedy.
In general: A very light, Christian read with a solid basis in history. Generally disappointing but not enough to convince me I should avoid the author's other books. In fact, I just discovered I have another WWII novel by Tricia Goyer tucked away on a bookshelf I haven't drawn from in some time. I will definitely read it. She is a highly admired Christian author and while this book didn't work for me, the fluidity of her writing is excellent and her research strong. Remembering You also has the benefit of being a clean story - no swearing, violence or sexuality.
3.5/5 stars for cleanliness, appearance of historical accuracy (I didn't look up any details, but Goyer is known for her research and I found historical references believable) and above-average flow.
The following is slightly altered from the press info about a Kindle Touch giveaway that was sent to me. I had a little difficulty opening the attachments, so you may see this content in a different format, elsewhere.
Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her novel, Remembering You, with a Kindle Touch giveaway for you and the friend of your choice. Then on 11/29 she'll be wrapping up the release of Remembering You with a Book Chat Party. During the first half of the party Tricia will be chatting, sharing a sneak peek of her next book, and giving away a ton of great stuff. Then she'll head over to her website for a live chat. Readers will be able to chat with Tricia via video or text.
Don't miss your chance to win a Kindle touch for yourself and to remember a friend this holiday season with a Kindle touch for them, as well!
I haven't got the foggiest idea how to add all the little icons that are posted elsewhere, so I'm going to direct you to another site to click through to Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, I need to brush up on some technical bloggy things. I used to know how to add HTML to images but I've forgotten how and, as I said, I had difficulty opening the attachments from the publicist. Serves me right for waiting till the last minute.
In other news:
I'm slumpy, again. I'm starting to worry about my brain. Did I not feed it well enough in its younger years? Does it need more coffee to combat its natural attention deficit? I've been trying to go with the flow (watching Season 1 of White Collar . . . at least I'm entertained), but when you're a book lover living in a house that looks like a library with bedding and a kitchen thrown in, it's really distressing when your desire to read abandons you. I'm enjoying everything I'm reading. I just don't feel like reading very often. Horrors.
I hope to enter recovery, soon. Maybe a little turkey will help.