Some of you may remember me writing about my love of Christian/Inspirational Fiction back in June. I’ve read quite a few books within that genre since then, and decided to review one of them for you, my lovely readers. Since I’m done with the book, I’ve decided to give it away as well. I have not been contacted by the authors or publishing company, and this review has been written entirely of my own volition. I also haven’t read any other reviews of this book, so this post is 100% my own point of view.
My choice is entitled, “Never the Bride”, by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge.
To begin, let’s get a little background information: the story takes place in present-day California. The main character is 34-year-old type-A planner Jessie Stone. She’s been a bridesmaid eleven times, is working in a dead-end job, her heart’s been trampled on, and she has no relationship prospects on the horizon. Oh, and did I mention that she’s in love with her best friend, Blake? My heart went out to her just after reading the back cover!
Jessie became the guardian of her younger sister, Brooklyn, when she was 20 years old and when Brooklyn was only 12. Since then, she’s worked to be part parent, part sister to Brooklyn, who is more than just a little irresponsible and relationship-challenged. Brooklyn has a history of coming in and out of Jessie’s life based on how well or how poorly Brooklyn’s relationships are going. She’s a serial dater and tends to quickly move in with the guy of the moment, and when things fall apart, it’s Jessie who has to make room in her life to pick up the pieces.
And now for the twist – God decides to show up in Jessie Stone’s life. He literally appears to her in human form, and after convincing her that He is, in fact, God, and not a crazed stalker, He offers her the following choice: she can choose to try to control her own life, her own love story, or she can step aside and give God a chance. Needless to say, she’s a little reluctant. It doesn’t help that no one else can see God except for her, and that she’s more than just a little freaked out by His appearance. God gives her 24 hours to make a decision, and leaves her alone to make the choice. But if she chooses to give Him control, then it’s got to be His way. If at any point she decides that she doesn’t like what He’s doing, she can walk away.
The book takes off from there. When I first started reading, I was a bit skeptical. I figured this for yet another predictable romance with a sweet, sappy, oh-so-obvious ending. That wasn’t the case. As I got closer to the end and as I learned more about God’s plan for Jessie’s life, I found myself flipping back, re-reading certain sections and saying, “Ooooh, so that’s why He did it that way!” The authors add such an interesting twist, and things definitely did not end the way that I foresaw.
There were times where I could really relate to Jessie, like when God asked her to do things that she completely, totally did not understand and which seemed to just be embarrassing or crazy. Like dancing by herself in the middle of a restaurant. Yikes! But God worked things out for Jessie’s good, and it was so refreshing to see how God related to her in a personal way. He wasn’t some voiceless, formless being – He was physically present, talking to her, seeking her out, and showing her how He cared for her and loved her.
I decided to rate this book across the following categories – (1) Interest and Creativity – basically, how interesting was this book? (2) Readability – was the book too long, too short, was the storyline hard to follow? (3) Likelihood of Recommendation – what are the odds that I recommend this book to another reader? (4) Moral Content – whether or not I think that the book does a good job addressing moral or spiritual issues, and (5) Overall.
- Interest and Creativity – This book was definitely interesting and creative. It was a different story than what I was used to. I give it an “A-” in this department.
- Readability – The book was relatively short as far as novels go – 310 pages. However, the storyline didn’t always flow, and sometimes characters, like Malia, were introduced without much background information. I rate it a “B” in readability.
- Recommendation – I would recommend this book to another reader, but I wouldn’t gush about it. “B+”
- Moral Content – It definitely gets an “A” for moral or spiritual content. I really loved the way that they portrayed God in this story.
- Overall – “B+/A-“
Now that I’m done with this book, I’d like to give one of you a chance to read it. If you’re interested, please leave me a comment, and at the end of the day I’ll randomly select a person to receive the book. Good luck!