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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Truth Telling

Yesterday, I posted the first chapter of A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman. One of the things we're supposed to do with the books we post is to give a review of the book. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I don't post a review because I'm not done with the book yet. Sometimes it's because I didn't like the book.

A long time ago, I decided that if I didn't have a good review to post, I wouldn't post it. I know, I know... even if you don't like the book, you should post the review. But I can never bring myself to say something bad about a book simply because it wasn't to my taste.

Then, today, I was reading another book, The Seven Faith Tribes, by George Barna. And yep, it's slated for posting tomorrow. I found it interesting because as I read about one of the faith tribes, I realized that I wasn't part of the faith tribe I thought I was. I don't want to make waves or hurt people's feelings because I've been socialized to the view of accomodating everyone and not taking a stand. I truly believe my faith and I truly believe in a lot of things that I seldom put right out there. And yes, there are things I am very open and truthful about. But in terms of others or something that might hurt others, I say nothing.

So here it is.

The truth about A Passion Denied is that I think Julie Lessman is a great woman. I didn't want to hurt her feelings by saying I didn't like the book. I liked her first book, A Passion Most Pure, but was really bothered by the rivalry between the sisters and the fact that they shared beaus. I really don't like stories where siblings share a love. It's a bit creepy, IMO. So I read her first book, liked the writing, liked the story, but was a bit creeped out by the sister/beau thing. When I read book #3, I was looking forward to returning to a very charming setting that Julie does a wonderful job of capturing.

When I read A Passion Denied, I was very disappointed in the dynamic of Lizzie being romantically involved with two brothers. After the first book, I'd had enough of that theme. I did not read the second book, but from filling in the blanks, the sister was involved with this hero too. For me, that brought such a high ick factor that I didn't enjoy reading the book. Too much romantic connectedness between characters.

For those who don't mind that connection, here are the things I enjoyed about the book:
1. The sensuality. I know Julie has a heart for portraying healthy sexuality and sexual issues in Christian relationships. She did a great job. And honestly, I think we need more books that portray realistic healthy sexual interactions.
2. The spiritual conflict/growth. I enjoyed seeing the growth and push/pull between the characters. And yes, I enjoyed seeing how the characters dealt with sexual temptation in the face of spirituality. Again, I think it's something we need more of in Christian literature. It's great to see characters struggle with sexuality and how to deal with it appropriately.
3. The setting. Love the time period. Love the detail used in capturing it.

So there ya go... my honest review of Julie's book. It had a lot of great points, but for me, I just couldn't get past what for me, is a huge turn-off (no pun intended ;) ).


Delia said...

I'm the same way with reviews. I rarely ever post one unless I really really liked the book.

I've struggled with that because I feel like I should be posting my reviews but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

Julie Lessman said...


I just HAD to leave a note to let you know that I appreciate your honesty about why you didn't like my book and I REALLY respect you for presenting your opinion in an honest and fair way.

Like you, I struggle GREATLY when I am expected to write a review and do not like the book. I've gotten away with this in the past and usually just hone in on the things I liked and leave it at that. But I am NOT a reviewer, fortunately, so I don't have to struggle with this often, thank God.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for a very nice "not so good" review -- I can handle those! It's the really vindictive ones that gouge out a piece of my heart.

Kind regards,