This novel got off to a bit of a slow start but the second half was pretty good. There are many social issues in this novel, most revolving around keeping a woman in her place, so to speak.
Sheila is our main character. Her mother died when Sheila was young so she was raised by her father. He's a stern man and thinks that a woman's only proper role is that of wife. Sheila loves to write and wants to go to college but her father will have none of it. Perhaps the fact that Sheila cooks and cleans and takes care of the men has something to do with it.
Sheila falls for a smooth talking man and that leads to the second issue. Dan has a narcissistic personality disorder. He thinks he is much better than he is and lies to keep that image. While he promises Sheila he'll help her go to college after she has worked so he can finish his degree, when the time comes, he refuses. He continually puts Sheila down.
This aspect of the novel might be a little hard to take if one has had a domineering father or husband. Dan uses Ephesians 5:22 to browbeat Sheila and keep her where he wants her. Sheila connects with her beloved high school English teacher later in life and is told that Ephesians 5:22 does not have a verb in the Greek. It's literally, “Wives to your husbands.” The verb was supplied by translators. That gives us a little to think about.
We see that the theme of women being kept down by domineering men is very prominent in this novel. I was a little disappointed that Sheila did not have much of a Christian faith. There is no relying on God for strength or anything like that.
Another prominent aspect of the novel concerns the authors' knowledge of the literary world. We find that The Prince was published in 1532 and that Jack London was mentored by a librarian in Oakland, California. As Sheila is being mentored, there is mention of many novels, authors, writing styles, etc. I didn't feel that kind of information added much to the plot.
I felt the main characters were a little flat. Now, when it comes to Gracie, she was a character truly alive and full of depth. I wish the other characters in the novel would have been portrayed so interestingly and deeply. I also felt the novel was a bit long. The authors are very precise in their writing technique, giving precise movements and descriptions. At times the writing felt a bit stilted. Cutting pages might have helped the novel move along better, especially in the first half.
I recommend this novel to those who enjoy seeing a downtrodden woman break free. Don't be expecting a strong Christian message since deception abounds in Sheila as well as Dan.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Dennis E. Hensley has written mystery romance novels with Holly Miller under the pseudonym Leslie Holden. He has also written other works and articles under his own name. He is chairman of the Department of Professional Writing at Taylor University and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Diana Savage has written or contributed to eleven books and has written hundreds of articles, devotions, blogs, and columns. She directs the annual Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference near Seattle. As principal of Savage Creative Services, LLC, she provides professional writing, editing, and speaking services.
Whitaker House, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.