Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Source: Blogging for Books
Synopsis [From Book]
The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon--and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.
Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.
Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistence, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God's presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?
Pace: The book was slow to start but flowed steadily once I got into it.
Originality/Storyline: The story behind this novel is essentially about a woman who appears to have everything but is miserable. Having been betrayed, she is willing to trade her invisibility to her husband for her own dreams. At the brink of divorce her husband tells her he is dying. The emotional impact of this news forces her to re-evaluate and decide what to do with the little time he has left. With every ounce of strength she has left, Saphora decides to honor her commitment of marriage and stay with Bender until the end, putting aside her own happiness. When they move to their beloved house in Oriental North Carolina, Bender’s impending death turns him towards God for forgiveness while Saphora struggles with her many feelings regarding her discovery of the truth in their relationship, Bender’s betrayal and issues with forgiveness and restoration of their relationship.
While this is not the most original story since the basic elements have been brought to other titles, it is moving, compelling and thought provoking. The story reflects the statement “The grass is not always greener on the other side”, as Saphora’s outward appearance in regards to her life is vastly different from her inner turmoil and truth of her relationship.
Characters: Saphora’s character is well developed. The story is essentially hers. While I wouldn’t have reacted or not reacted the ways she did, her story is her own. Bender’s character is well developed as well due to the impact he has in the story. The two have children who are in the story as well, but are not completely developed. I felt they were added enough to make the story complete but could have been better developed. I felt there was more to their story that was not stated. They didn’t feel as realistic as I would have liked.
Overall: The novel is dramatic and tender. It is a very emotional read. It’s a novel of discovery, betrayal, restoration and forgiveness. Each element address's the obvious but also addressing underlying issues of self with each character, mainly Saphora. While not completely original, the novel was well done. I always enjoy reading stories that throw a twist into a situation that seems to be closed and instead opening it for everything to be laid on the line. It’s a novel worth the read.
*I was given a free review copy of this title in exchange for my honest review and opinions*