Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Fine Life: A Novel

I just finished reading yet another book - what a surprise - called This Fine Life: A Novel by Eva Marie Everson.  I was really impressed with the book and author's way of pulling you into the story.  I've read other books that started out this way but didn't have the  same pull as this one did.

The story starts off in 1964 with a young woman in the early stages of labor.  She gets her purse, gloves and is ready to go wherever she thinks she needs to go.  At this point I gather that her husband's name is Thayne and that at one point she and her husband were living in her old room at her parent's home.  So, the questions start up in my head... where is he?  Why is she living with her parents but her husband isn't?  What was he doing studying the bible at one point?  Where is she going now?  To the hospital?

So all of these questions make me curious as to what the story is for Mariette and totally drew me into the story.  I don't know what it was - maybe the curiosity of her being pregnant and in early labor?  What is it about women and their labor stories - I remember sitting at work gatherings (when most of the men found their ways back to their desks) when the mom's of the group starting comparing their stories of labor and childbirth.  Not being a mom at that point, I remember being horrified at those stories and making a mental note that I didn't want to go there anytime soon.  Now that I'm a mom, there must be something about being drawn into a book that starts off with a woman about to have a baby... maybe it's just a mom thing or me - or maybe this is exactly that the author intended or she was able to weave some magic spell into her words... well, whatever it was, I was mesmerized and had to find out what happened.  :-)  :-)

I really liked this book.  The story was really cute, with some parts that were filled with pain - well, okay, there was a lot of parts that I found a bit sad and had me crying, but it was all written so well!  :-)  :-)  :-)  But more than anything, this story, even though it's a romance, seemed so much more realistic to me than so many of the other romance stories that I've read in the past.  There are few writers that can do that.  Sure, I love reading those "happily ever after" books every once in a while, but even the most avid romance novel fan can get tired of these kind of fairy tale type of stories.   This one had so many of the typical challenges that as a married person, I can totally relate to and have experienced some of the same in my own marriage.  It was nice to read about a newlywed couple having a few problems - just like so many of us that were married fairly young had to face.

I remember when hubby and I were first married and our first little apartment and the money problems that we had.  I remember how frustrated I felt when so many of the people that I considered family were so convinced that our marriage was not going to survive.  I also remember how good it felt to have our little victories when we succeeded at something - graduating from college, getting our first "real" job with real pay, getting our first home... I think there is something that we can all relate to in this book which was more like reading a true life dairy than a fictional novel.

I'm sure that the writer had intended all of this but wanted to make the more important part of her story about the main characters relationship with God.  Sure, it's a Christian fiction book so it's to be expected... but to tell you the truth, I really didn't pay much attention to this part.  Sure, you'll have your fairy tale ending where Mariette find God and becomes the person she is intended to be, but I found more appealing how her husband had always accepted her and her little quirks... and the people in the town they lived in had also accepted that part of her eight years later - even though they really gave her a hard time about it when they first moved there. 

To me, it makes no difference that this is considered a "Christian" or religious genre novel.  It was written well and I had a fun time reading it.  The whole religion part of stories like this will not change my personal way of thinking, nor will it all of the sudden make me want to take bible study classes or anything like that.  To me, this was an impressive book and I look forward to getting more books by this author to add to my list of books to read.  :-)  :-)

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