Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen


Macy and her family vacationed at the beach house on the Carolina coast every summer. When Macy was five, she lost a “find the most beautiful shell” contest to her older brother. In tears, her dad bought Macy colored pencils. A budding artist, she drew a picture in the house's guest book.
When they returned the next year, someone had added a drawing. Over the years, drawing after drawing, a sort of conversation between the two was created. She had left a photo of herself and he had done the same.
Her father died when Macy was in her mid teens. The devastated family went to the beach one more time but the memories were too painful. They didn't go back for ten years.
Five years ago Macy had fallen for a guy who had promised to be with her forever. But he had left right after their daughter Emma was born. Now he was back, wanting to be in her life again.
Seemingly out of nowhere, after ten years, Macy's mother proclaims that this year they are going to vacation on the coast, renting the same house for two weeks. Macy, Emma, and Macy's older brother Max, are all to go along.
As Macy's family returns to the guest house that holds so many memories, she hopes to clear her mind. She needs to understand what her relationship to Emma's father should be. She prays to God – something she has not done in a long time. Could she find out who her childhood artist friend is? Did she want to know who she is? Is he married? Could he be her knight in shining armor?
There are three men who come across Macy's path at the guest house. They all pursue her. She wrestles with her emotions and she tries to figure out how God is answering her prayer.

This is a pretty well written romance novel. One incident aptly describes Macy's life. The family goes to church while on vacation and Emma hears a story in Sunday School. It is about building your house on sand or on the rock. In a moment of insight, Macy realizes she has built her house on sand. Why was she so surprised when it crashed down on her?
Marybeth did a great job in keeping the guest book drawing fellow a surprise until the end.
Macy went to the beach hoping to find her prince charming. In the time she spent there, she found the artist she really needed, the true Artist.

There is a discussion guide at the end so this would be a fine choice for romance reading groups.

Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is the author of the novels "The Mailbox," "She Makes It Look Easy" and the upcoming "The Guest Book". She also serves as director of She Reads, an on line book club focused on spotlighting the best in women's fiction. Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She's always at work on her next novel. You can find her on line at www.marybethwhalen.com.

Zondervan, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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