Monday, January 26, 2015

A Beautiful Reflection by Sarah O Maddox review

A Beautiful Reflection
I was primarily intrigued by this book's exceptionally beautiful cover. It is uncommon for a Christian publication from a relatively small company to have such a well-designed cover, and I was delighted with this one. The woman pictured corresponded perfectly with the heroine of the novel.
Secondly, I felt great interest in the book since the distribution company recommended it for singles. I- unfortunately- qualify.
So it was with excitement that I received this book and began reading it.
It is with mixed emotions that I carefully perform the task of rating and reviewing it.
First, I will say that I think highly of the author's desire and vision in completing such a novel. It is biblically-sound in many ways and thought-provoking. The latter is especially helped by discussion questions which are found at the conclusion of the book.
The author is Sarah O Maddox, who has also written Five Things I Did Right & Five Things I Did Wrong in Raising Our Children, and A Woman's Garden of Prayer/A Woman's Garden of Prayer Journal: Cultivating Intimacy with God Through Prayer. She is a Christian who is actively involved with women's ministry in her church.
In A Beautiful Reflection, her first (Christian) novel, Sarah Maddox deals with a topic which is obviously important to her as it should be to all believers: that of the marriage union of a believer with an unbeliever. She tackles this weighty and sometimes controversial subject in this fictional work of hers.
The story opens with a scene in which the heroine, Susan, realizes she cannot marry her childhood sweetheart unless it is God's will for them both. The story then fast forwards at least 8 years or so and still single Susan is the successful manager of  a store in her hometown. Having won an award for top manager of her state, North Carolina, she is invited to a convention hosted by the President of the company she works for. She attends this event with a careful state of mind, fully cloaked in the word of God. While there, however, she meets the young, handsome President Jim Hitchenson and in response to his instant and obvious ardent dmiration, finds herself falling in love despite herself.
I do not wish to give away the story, but the tale follows the journey this couple takes as they speedily develop their friendship and relationship.
Susan finds herself head over heels in love with this man she hardly knows despite the frequent cautions she tries to give herself as she reads God's word. The relationship progresses so quickly, and Jim is such a typically fun American as well as showing rare gentlemanly traits that Susan can't help living in the moment and simply enjoy herself. This mindset is entirely understandable; we've all pushed important thoughts to the back of our minds until ''later''.
Only the time coninues to pass and Susan becomes almost afraid to address issues which may disrupt her relationship with Jim.
Will Susan be able to face reality and ask Jim the questions which may bring a halt to their plans for marriage forever? Will she stay true to her convictions as a Christian to not become unequally yoked?
On a personal note, I wasn't as impressed with this book as I expected to be.
I don't read novels consistantly, but I have finished several Christian romance novels, some of which I really loved because the faith message and the story line were wonderful.
In A Beautiful Reflection, the author doesn't go very far with the storyline. The whole book consists of detailed descriptions of what Susan and Jim did together.
As for the romance contained within, I really really appreciated the author's stance and therefore the heroine's strong views on saving sex for after the wedding! That was evidently a very strong point. As was modesty somewhat, faithful marriage and close family, etc.
However, the book has far too many (although not incredibly sensual) descriptions of the words of endearment and the kisses this couple share during their time together!
I also found it hard to relate to Susan since she assumed that Jim was a Christian because he attended church...yet he mentions a few times in the book that he would love to spend the night with her.
A girl of Susan's semi-conservative upbringing might not necessarily restrain from kissing her love, but would have more sense to see red lights in a relationship with a man so far removed from her Christian world. But again, love can be so strong that one is blinded. I don't know...
What I do know is the that the description of kisses was overdone.
The style of writing was better than many childishly-simple Christian novels. However, A Beautiful Reflection does have a variety of grammatical mistakes, and the dialogue tends to have an awkwardness to it.
I appreciated the goal and motive behind the writing of this book, for sure and agree with the stance the author takes for sexual purity, and oneness in marriage!
I received this book from the publisher through in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.