01 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

The Gift of Joy by Valerie Maarten

I noticed this book earlier this year, but – and I’ll be honest there – the cover was just uninspired and uninteresting. It wasn’t until I saw the description somewhere that I realized that it was totally something I would read. I purchased it early last month and earlier this month the author contacted me asking for a review. I took that as a sign and told her I’d already purchased it on my own and would read it – figured I’m supposed to read it since it kept catching my eye…

Wow. This is such a well written book. As a child that grew up in a family with domestic abuse, it’s almost cathartic at times, as strange that may sound. At times, though, the authors make me cringe. It’s obvious they either have never experience what they are writing or haven’t done their homework. This author hit it on the head. The feelings that Joy exhibits at a child are right on. Happy that her mom is letting her “get away” with something and guilt when they get caught. Her actions as an adult further show this author’s homework was well done – the trust issues, the forced isolation, the burning need to help others in the same situation, etc. I think this was the stand out for me for this book. How true it felt. I kept reminding myself that it was NOT a memoir. It was fiction.

The story is sweet, but very very predictable. This isn’t a mystery and the author pretty much guides you where she’s going. In some ways I kind of was hoping for some sort of shift there so that it didn’t go how it was obviously heading, you know?

I saw a few grammar/spelling errors, but nothing too awful terrible. If there were others, I was entirely too wrapped up in the story to care – which I suppose is the whole point anyway.

The author handles the subject of domestic abuse well, nothing is too graphic, but it’s graphic enough to feel real and make you follow the storyline. None of it is gratuitous and the vast majority of the story takes place once the main character is an adult and revolves around her life today. And, yes, it’s a romance.

It’s really sad that this book has this cover – I’m not sure what it should have been, but this one makes it fade into the background of other books – it really deserves something that reaches out and grabs the reader. Let’s face it, we all pretty much judge books by their cover.

I would highly recommend this book to those that enjoy women’s fiction with a warning that it does have some tough subject matter, but is mostly an uplifting (yet not religious) story of hope — and of joy.

When Joy Tate was just a naïve, little girl that still believed in dreams and wishes, she had only one wish for Santa Claus. It was a selfish hope that caused her to lose the most important person in her life. Now all she wishes for is…THE GIFT OF REDEMPTION

Gabriel Hawthorne spent his entire childhood ignoring the sad, lonely girl from across the street, but could never fully keep her from his thoughts. But after reuniting with her, he’s impressed with the strong, fierce advocate she’s become. And when he’s with her, she gives him the greatest gift of all…


Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2011: 32

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