by Beth Webb Hart
Beth Webb Hart explores what happens when we leave our inhibitions behind.
What would it look like if we really loved each other—if we had no inhibitions about sharing our faith and our very lives with a hurting world? How would we really spend our time and our money? And what impact would this have on our own families, especially our children? What impact would it have on our communities, our country and the world? These are the questions that first inspired Beth Webb Hart to write her newest novel, Sunrise on the Battery.
Hart always begins her writing with a question, and she was inspired with these questions after reading David Platt’s book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. His book uncovered blind spots in her own life and helped her fully imagine just where her characters’ uninhibited faith might take them.
Mary Lynn Scoville has everything anyone could desire—a handsome husband, three beautiful daughters and a ticket into the social elite of Charleston, S.C. But after a miraculous answer to a prayer on her behalf, Mary Lynn decides to pray that her husband will discover the faith she loves. But when her prayers are answered, she finds her world turned upside down and is forced to deal with the idols she has created in her own life.
Jackson Scoville is a man on a mission. Growing up deprived of the finer things in life, he wants more for his children. His mission is to give his girls the best—a top-rate education, exposure and immersion in the fine arts and frequent opportunities to see the big wide world. “Not just education, baby—cultivation,” he is known to say. But when he discovers the truth of Scripture, his focus takes a quick turn—a turn his family may not like.
While writing about the lives of Mary Lynn, Jackson and their daughters, Hart shows her readers how God can change a life and inspire a family. She draws her readers into the story, especially with her intricate details of the social culture of Charleston. Her characters will shine a reflection on her readers’ own struggles and fears, and they will be inspired to examine their own lives and discover what really matters.
My Thoughts: Jackson and Mary Lynn Scoville are on their way up in Charleston society. They are accomplishing all they set out to do in their family goals and are one step away from the very top. But at what price? Every once in a while the desire for a family dedicated to God surfaces in Mary Lynn's heart and silences the social drive. When she finally asks for prayer at the church she attends occasionally, she is unprepared for the radical change that is about to come upon her family.
I loved this story. One can't help but be drawn to the characters, because as a mom, who doesn't want the best for their children and to give their children better than what they had? I may not go to the extent of wanting the social prestige that the couple in the book did or go to their extremes to get there but their desire is still relatable. Each character was portrayed so well and you could understand the feelings and reactions of each one, which I find a real accomplishment for a writer. Jackson's drive to better his and his family's lives by being a driven, self made man who pushes that drive onto his family, Mary Lynn's desire to have the very best that a place in society can give her girls but still desiring her family to be a family that loves God. The girls reactions to being pushed to always being better and feeling they never measure up. And then Mary Lynn's shock to a very radical change in her husband she didn't expect when he finally becomes a Christian and her whole world, that they have worked so hard for, is turned upside down. These were all aspects of the story and characters that no matter what station in life a person is can be related to. This was, in my opinion a great contemporary read and will make the reader question what such a radical change from what they put their reliance on in this world to a faith that "walks the walk" would do in their own life and family.
Thanks to the B&B Media Group and Thomas Nelson for presenting me with a free copy of this book for my review. All the opinions expressed are my own.
You can purchase "Sunrise on the Battery" here and here.