Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Review of Within My Heart

Here's a description of the book from Bethany House:

"Sometimes the greatest step of faith is taken neck-deep in fear.

Determined to fulfill her late husband's dream, Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat with the help of her two young sons. But some days it feels as though her every effort is sabotaged. When faced with a loss she cannot afford, she's forced to trust Rand Brookston, the one man in Timber Ridge she wishes to avoid. And with good reason. He's a physician, just like her father, which tells her everything she needs to know about him. Or so she thinks....

Dr. Rand Brookston ventured west with the dream of bringing modern medicine to the wilds of the Colorado Rockies, but the townspeople have been slow to trust him. Just as slow in coming is Rand's dream to build the town a proper clinic. When a patient's life is threatened, Rand makes a choice—one that sends ripples through the town of Timber Ridge. And through Rachel Boyd's stubborn heart.

From the beloved, bestselling author of From a Distance and Beyond This Moment comes an unforgettable story about faith in the face of fear, about tarnished hopes and second chances, and ultimately about the resilient courage and tenacity of hearts broken——and mended——by love."

My Rating: Summer

My Review:

It was with tears and bittersweet emotions that I finished this book. Alexander has an amazing God-given talent for writing with depth, using gorgeous imagery and dialogue to describe God's creation and to explore the workings of God in our lives.

To be honest, this particular book took me a long time to read. It wasn't like the first in this series (From a Distance), where I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning desperate to know what would happen and reveling in the sweet romance. I received this book several months ago, and yet even when I started reading it, I often set it aside. The writing was lovely, but this book was hard to read because of the heaviness of its themes. I was intrigued with the plot but not engrossed by it. Not until over halfway through.

Once I got near the end, the tears began to flow. It was one emotional blow after another, and yet I wasn't in despair. I was completely blessed and moved by the impact of Alexander's insight--insights (I later learned from her note at the end of the book) that came from her own personal experience. I had heard some about what Alexander had been going through in the past year or so and why this last book in the "Timber Ridge Reflections" series was delayed in its release. But actually reading this book and seeing how her own journey impacted her writing--I was blown away and touched by what was within HER heart.

This book is not an easy one to read. There were times when it was almost painful. But I can guarantee you that this is very much a worthwhile read. The lessons about love, forgiveness, and courage are profound. And the honesty with which the characters face death and the hope that all those who believe in the Lord can have is heart-breakingly beautiful. This is a definite must-read!

*With thanks to Jim Hart and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. My sincerest apologies to the publisher for my delay in reviewing this book.*

12 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

O wow. I love when a book moves me like this. Thank you for your beautiful heartfelt review.

Tamera Alexander said...

I'm so touched by your review, Amber. This book was a painful, yet ultimately joyful, journey for me. Thank you for walking it with me. Much love...

Kav said...

Wow -- I haven't read this one yet but I'm going to get it...soon! Powerful review!!! You have completely intrigued me.

Julia M. Reffner said...

What a great review, Amber. I have the Fountain Creek Chronicles and am hoping to read those soon.

I saw you have one of the "Ludy's" books in your queue. We are reading Wrestling Prayer and we've been listening to Eric's audio archive lately and been blessed by it. Hope you are blessed by them as much as I have been.

Amber S. said...

Juju,

This book is definitely moving! Thank you for your kind words about my review!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Tamera,

Thank you so much for letting us join you on that journey! Your book is so powerful, and your writing is beautiful. :)

Thank you for stopping by, and I can't wait to read more of your work! I somewhat recently bought the 3-in-1 Fountain Creek Chronicles series, and I'm very eager to read it!

God bless!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Kav,

This is a powerful book and one I highly recommend! In fact, I've read this whole series and The Inheritance, and I would recommend them all. :)

I'm so glad you liked my review, and I hope you get to read the book soon!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julia,

Thank you! I have that series, as well (I think we bought it around the same time, right?), and I can't wait to read it!

And yes, I've actually started Authentic Beauty, but I kind of got sidetracked with other things. I listened to a recording by Eric Ludy that Amanda sent me, and I think that this couple really are both encouraging and convicting! :)

~Amber

Julia M. Reffner said...

Exactly! I think Amanda said it best with the phrase "blessedly convicted."

And I definitely know about sidetracked...it seems to have gotten worse for me since I've had kids :)

Amber S. said...

Julia,

Amanda always words things so well! :D I agree!

And glad to know I'm not the only one... ;)

~Amber

Amanda said...

Awwwww :)

First, Amber, I know I said it on Goodreads, but I just love your review!! And, HOW CUTE, Tamera stopped by and commented on it :D She is so sweet and truly has a depth to her writing that makes you forget you're reading fiction! I know you and Julia are gonna LOVE her Fountain Creek Chronicles!!

And, speaking of you and Julia :) thank you for the sweet mention and kind words! It is so wonderful to be able to find authors like the Ludy's (their depth and zeal for the Lord are so rare and so inspiring, truly) and encourage your friends to read them so they, too, can be "blessedly convicted" ;)

Amber, I totally understand about being sidetracked, LOL! But, when you finally have the time to read Authentic Beauty, I know you will be very, very blessed :)

And, Julia, I'm halfway through Wrestling Prayer, and it gets better and better with each page! You and Chris are in for a treat :)

Blessings, girls!
Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

Thank you, my friend! It was definitely sweet that Tamera stopped by, and I can't wait to read her first series!!! :D

I remember when I started reading Authentic Beauty that it certainly was "blessedly convicting," so I know I need to get back to it sometime! ;)

Thank you for your comment, and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

~Amber