Fiction Week: Prejudice, Demons and Multiple Dimensions

Welcome to another week of fiction! This weeks reads were a mixed bag for me and are all from authors I have never read from before. I hope you take a chance on these women and their stories, because no matter my opinion their words matter.  Happy Reading!

First Impressions by Debra White Smith

First Impressions is a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Eddi is a small-town Texas lawyer who finds herself cast as the lead in the towns production of Pride and Prejudice. Her co-star ends up being the most arrogant and eligible bachelor in town; Dave Davidson. Eddi does everything in her power to avoid him at all cost, but as hard as she tries to resist she finds herself face to face with him and her attraction. But, Dave has a secret one that he has worked hard to keep hidden in London, Texas, from his nosy neighbors. Through fiery dialog and lots of heart Debra has crafted a beautiful retelling of a classic story.

I have a confession. In all my years of literature classes, I have never read Pride and Prejudice. I have only seen the movie and even then, I saw the Kara Knightly one, not the BBC version which is a sin to all Austenites. With that out of the way, I think this retelling is perfect for any reader who may be scared to pick up a Jane Austen novel, especially young women who are not interested in classic literature. I did not know what to expect, I thought this book would be cheesy and flat. But, I found the story engaging and witty. I enjoyed this book and it would be a perfect vacation read or book club pick. I am excited to read the rest of Debra’s Jane Austen retellings.

Toward A Secret Sky by Heather Maclean 

Maren Hamilton has had a rough go of it, both her parents are dead and she has been shipped to Scotland to live with grandparents she has never met. After she arrives, she receives a package containing the contents of her mom’s home office, including a journal that holds the key to saving everyone around her while sweeping her up in work her parents left behind. Demons are just as real as the Angels her parents worked with to protect the world from evil. Through many twists and turns, with her Guardian Angel by her side, Maren has to embrace who she is, along with the realities of good and evil, in order to pick up where her mother left off and serve the world. 

This story was not my favorite. I think the premise of the spiritual battle on the earth is powerful and shines a light on what we are up against in the world. But, this book was so jam-packed with adventure and romance that neither won in the end and it landed flat with me. I went back and forth on my opinion of this book, but I rest in being undecided. It is neither good or bad, so I challenge you to decide, through the ups and downs, if this is your new favorite. There is so much potential in this story. I wanted to pick up my pen and make suggestions because I think this type of story is needed to illustrate truth to a young audience; we are up against and live amidst a spiritual battle.

Natalie Cleary is an average girl trying to make it through graduation, so she can finally get out of her town and start her new collegiate life. The twist is that while Natalie’s life appears to be average,  is not average at all. Natalie sees an apparition that she affectionately calls Grandmother who comes into her room at night and tells her stories; stories that unlock the whole world. But Natalie’s flashes do not stop at Grandmother, she starts to see buildings in her town disappear and be replaced by other landmarks and boy is in this “other” town too. As Natalie discovers the world, she finds all the other paths we can leave unexplored

I adored this book. I can’t get over the beauty of this story. I did not know what to expect from this one, the cover jumped out at me and so I decided to get it. But, the beautifully written and crafted story within these pages is timeless. This is not a book that feeds from current hype, but on everlasting themes of the human life, while taking you on a mystical multi-dimensional journey that is bittersweet. I love a book that surprises me and impacts me; The Love that Split the World did both. I highly recommend this beautifully crafted story.

- Hannah