Tag Archives: brokenness

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook, 2015)

Brokenness Turned into Trust {Book Review – The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert}

I’ve talked on this blog about every single Katie Ganshert book currently published. And I’m going to keep talking.

Tomorrow (on April 21st!), Katie’s fourth novel releases into this world, The Art of Losing Yourself (Waterbrook, 2015).

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert (Waterbrook, 2015)

This contemporary fiction novel introduces us to Carmen Hart, her husband Ben, and her troubled half-sister, Gracie Fisher. Carmen seems to have perfect life as a well-respected local TV meteorologist, but, as most of us know, nobody really has a conflict-less life. The novel deals with Carmen’s struggle over losing her family’s old inn, watching her admired Aunt Ingrid’s mind slip, working for the close bond she and her husband once had, and figuring out how to help her sister.

In the midst of Carmen’s perspective, we also get to read chapters from Gracie’s perspective. As a teenager who has dealt with more than she should’ve with an alcoholic mother, Gracie has issues of her own. But her inner dialogue helps all of us see that what one shows on the exterior doesn’t always reflect all of the inner turmoil occurring.

The first two pages drew me in with such emotion and powerful writing about miscarriages. We are thrust right into Carmen’s conflicts. Then, over the next several chapters, we learn more about Carmen, Ben, Gracie, Elias, Ingrid, and more. Gracie’s story kept me whispering to myself “one more chapter” often in the first half of the book. Then, as Carmen and Gracie’s stories intertwined more and more, I was so involved in the world that I was thinking about it even when the book wasn’t in my hands.

Katie weaves intriguing analogies throughout her story, including Gracie’s love for random facts and knowledge of the common emotional associations of different colors. Carmen often thinks on Mary Poppins references, which Katie writes so realistically that it just makes sense to include as we learn about Carmen’s character.

I love when books ask real questions about faith, as this book does often, including on page 151:

“…how do you know it’s God talking and not just your conscience?” (Gracie)

“Who’s to say our conscience isn’t one of the ways He talks to us?” (Elias)

How many of us have thought this same question? Multiple Bible studies exist focusing on this topic, so it’s obviously one of need.

This book considers trust, love (between sisters, friends, and more), the work a relationship requires, entropy, dementia, miscarriages, school culture, teenage growth, navigating friendships, relying on others, filling our holes with Truth, and more. While that seems like a lot for one book, this is one of the things Katie does so well: she writes about real life in a real way. (Bonus: the book doesn’t wrap every single conflict up in a perfect conclusion…because whose life does?)

quote from The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

I read The Art of Losing Yourself in less than 48 hours, but I’ll be thinking about it much, much longer than that. I also highly recommend mothers (or older sisters) and teenage daughters reading this together because of the two distinct perspectives represented here.

Check out The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert at your local bookstore, favorite online retailer, or library. Also stop by Katie’s website for behind-the-scenes information on the book and characters and more. (I love how Katie compiles these fun facts for all her books!)

For more about Katie and her books:

  • Read my review of Katie’s first novel, Wildflowers from Winter, here.
  • Read my review of Katie’s second novel, Wishing on Willows, here.
  • Read my review of Katie’s third novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, here.
  • Read a fun interview I did with Katie two years ago here.
  • Visit Katie’s website.

Which of the themes in this novel do you think you would relate to the most?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House, 2015)

Different Kinds of Dreamers {Book Review – Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden}

In Elizabeth Camden’s newest novel, Beyond All Dreams (Bethany House, 2015), Anna O’Brien works one of only eight women librarians in the Library of Congress in 1897. She prefers to keep to the predictable environment of her map room, but, as a stickler for correct details, happens upon a 15-year-old navy report that seems filled with errors. As she looks into the details, she continues to be blocked from action by naval officials. Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House, 2015)

At the same time, she is assigned as a research librarian to the charming, but seemingly over-privileged congressman, Luke Callahan. As the two work together, they help each other more and more, and find out their opposing personalities mesh well in unexpected ways. They find out they even among their obvious differences, they (and most others around them) are still dreamers.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and this novel is filled with intriguing details about the late 19th century, libraries, cultural aspects for single men and women, working life for young women, politics, and more. These characters are (thankfully) realistic. They all have endearing attributes, but also have faults and must overcome broken pasts. The side characters and subplots of this book add wonderful depth and interest, including discussions about art, literature, marriage, special needs (and learning who a person really is), and breaking societal/economic stereotypes. All of the plot lines were captivating and unique in some way.

The main characters talk about faith at times throughout their conversations in a plot-appropriate and non-preachy way. The main faith themes covered include trust, forgiveness, breaking beyond broken pasts, and seeing beauty among the brokenness.

Some of the components of the ending seemed to tie up a little too nicely or completely, but the ending is mostly realistic and quite satisfying. The developed characters, historical elements, and compelling plots kept me turning pages and reasoning to read “just one more chapter” multiple times over.

I hadn’t read anything that actually made me interested in politics. What is a book you’ve read that interested you into a new time period or component of history/culture?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

 

From Brokenness {Five Minute Friday}

We have an overgrown planter on the deck with bulb stems not yet blooming, dried leaves and broken roots from years past—and neglect after the growing season. An English ivy still grows from this planter left by the owners before us. Green, waxy leaves with white trim splitting into the edges of green.

You could easily look at this planter and think broken, forgotten, pushed aside. We haven’t done as much in the yard as we like and had hoped.

I think about the broken parts of me. I don’t see this planter often, so I don’t focus on its state. But, me. I’m right in front of myself. And my brokenness is all too evident. So evident I usually stumble, stutter, and shame myself rather than forgive.

But, then…there it was. A bloom. Purple, vibrant, eye-catching. Beautiful blooms all over these ivy, blooms we’ve never seen before. From Brokenness via Under God's Mighty Hand

And I see again—this growth that can come from even the broken places. It’s beautiful.

Could the growth from my brokenness catch others’ attention, too? Can I praise, shout, share the life that grows from death?

That’s what Easter does. Life coming from death. Growth from brokenness. Redemption. Beautiful grace.

From Brokenness via Under God's Mighty Hand

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I’ve joined Five Minute Friday over at Lisa-Jo’s place. A place to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. The above writing is unedited (eep!) and free-flowing (and a bit scrambled this week). This week’s topic is “Broken
Join in on the Five Minute fun!

How has God redeemed your brokenness? Share your story in the comments.