Saturday, August 28, 2010

book review: "love, charleston" by beth webb hart

Sisters Anne and Lish with their cousin Della all live in Charleston. They’ve been close all their lives and Lish lives in their childhood home with her husband and two kids. Married to a doctor and pregnant with their third child, Lish has the life Della secretly longs for. With a daughter of her own, she’s married to a handsome sculptor but most days they make enough money to barely get by. Anne is still single but believes God spoke to her, telling her to “stay and wait” for her future husband in Charleston. Lish suffers complications from her pregnancy and gives birth to her baby when she’s seven and a half months pregnant. Both mother and daughter are fine but it’s when she’s sent home that things began to slowly creep downhill. Lish falls into a state of depression, having to be admitted to the psychiatric ward at the hospital. Her husband tells her she needs to pull through this because he’s been offered a job in Atlanta and he feels he can’t pass the opportunity up. It takes Della and Anne taking care of Lish for her to finally start to pull through the fog she’s been living in. Her husband files for divorce and Della and her family move in with Lish to help with her children. All during this time of family upheaval, a new minister moves into Charleston with his daughter. He’s a widower and is hoping that this might be a fresh start for him. It’s when he meets Anne that he wants to give dating another try after so long. The last page of the book has everyone together, Della deciding if whether the way their lives have taken a turn can be deemed as a happy ending. “Is this is a happy ending? Della asked herself as she watched her daughter suck the meat of the loquat and reach for another. And then she turned to see Lish, who took Cecilia in her arms and kissed her cheek and neck before rocking her back and forth. Della watched her cousin’s hands. They seemed sturdy and capable as they took hold of the toddler, as if to confirm through the sense of touch what every child longed to hear from their parent: “Yes, my little one. I am here for you.” Della took a deep breath as Lish lifted Cecelia up into the sky, the sun filtering through her plump little toes. Yes, Della thought as Anne nudged her elbow and handed her a loquat. This is.

I liked the way the book didn’t end with a conventional “happy ending.” I didn’t like how Hart seemed to barely touch on everyone’s story without really fleshing out the characters. You know what Della’s going through but it seems as though she and Lish are the dominant characters. I like how real Della and Lish are but I wanted to know more about Roy (the minister) and Anne. At times it seemed the solutions the women were going through could be found in each other instead of God but overall, a good read.

Note: I received this book free to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

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