Saturday, April 06, 2013

Book Review ~ Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Marnie Whittier finally has what she's worked so hard for. Her very own coffee shop book store. And she couldn't be happier. Or could she? After leaving her old life behind 15 years before, she still struggles with regrets and guilt over her past as is evidenced by the box of "regrets" she keeps locked away but keeps adding to. Bits of paper, napkins, momentos all with secret meanings only she knows. Reminders to help her never to make the same mistakes. Those who know her think she is compassionate and kind, helping others but they would be shocked to know her secrets. Then with no warning her past comes crashing into her present when the sister whom she's had no contact with for those 15 years dies tragically and in a weird twist of fate had given custody of her 15 year old son to Marnie. A son whom Marnie didn't even know her sister had. And what's worse is the lawyer trying to contact her about it all is the very person she ran from so many years ago. When the boy arrives, Marnie is shocked to see the he has Down's Syndrome. How can she handle the chaos all of this is bringing into her life. But something about the boy draws her to him, even while he is causing her distress, especially when he will not leave her box alone. No matter where she hides it he finds it, and in the most inopportune times he places yet another item from it in front of her, forcing her to relive her memories and regrets.

 I had mixed feelings about this one. The overall story line and plot were really good, the characters well developed and drew me in empathically,  but the writing style was one that I found hard to run with.  The story goes back and forth from past to present throughout usually without any warning.   It took me many chapters before I could get into it and then it rose and fell for me throughout until the end. Some parts of the story I could hardly put down, others I found myself skimming to get through. A great variety of things are touched on through out the story but the theme of regrets for sins, wrong decisions and not being good enough or doing enough is the main stay throughout. But the story isn't left there. Forgiveness, renewal and a transformed life, God's unending love and caring are strongly presented. By trying to hide her past, Marnie was blinded to the fact that all the regrets and guilt she carried were affecting not only the people from her past but all her relationships in the present and even her own spiritual growth. But it took God's answer to prayer, in a form she didn't recognize at first, to see that God wanted to not just bury her past like she was trying to do but that He wanted to transform her. The beginning confused me a bit but my "huh?" moments were answered in the end and especially when I reread the Prologue after I finished the story. The Author's notes and Reader's Guide questions really added to the story.

A 7/10 for me.


Barbara H. said...

I haven't read this author yet. The premise sounds very intriguing.

Faith said...

Will put this on my ever growing list from you!! The thing that draws ME is the special needs boy in the story....i work with 2 boys with Downs....they are truly special and loads of fun! Will look for this! and guess what? i have a book in my book basket (from library) waiting for me by an author you recommended. the book is The Moment Between by Nicole Baart. I'll be done soon with the Patterson novel I just started and doing that Baart one next :)

Carrie said...

I read this one. I know I did. And your review reminds me of why I like blogging my book reviews because I can't remember what I thought about this book. I remember feeling so-so. Huh.

Well, I guess it didn't make a huge impact on me. :X