Trade paperback, pages
Samantha Bravencourt lives a quiet life near Washington D.C. working at her mother's clothing boutique. She gave up her teaching after she returned from teaching in a refugee camp in the Philippines because her mother fell sick with breast cancer. Samantha visits her aunt in North Carolina and ends up meeting Carson Brylie, a fellow teacher who she met and fell in love with in the Philippines but who did not reciprocate her love. They end up working together to help one of their former Vietnamese students, a young refugee woman now living in America, but Samantha fears having her heart broken again.
I was expecting a lot of excitement from this book, I guess from reading the synopsis, but it turned out to be just a lukewarm story for me. The first-person narration alternates between the present and the past, seven years previous, when Samantha and Carson were teachers in the Philippines. I enjoyed the scenes from the refugee camps from where the author draws from her own personal experiences. However, it seemed that I was always waiting for the story to get exciting and it just didn't. It was also slow and the plot was predictable.
I didn't feel connected to the characters either, although I did like Dovie, Samantha's aunt who took in quirky women and gave them a home and a place to belong. Samantha was juvenile to me and I didn't always quite understand her behaviour with Carson. Both she and Carson were static characters, they didn't grow as people although seven years had passed since they last saw each other. There was no palpable tension between them and I think that if the plot vis-a-vis the Vietnamese refugees had been better explored and this connection between them exploited rather than Samantha's lamentations, I would have been more engaged.
The themes of forgiveness and letting go of the past are good ones in the story, even if the romance is lacking. It's a clean Christian read and will appeal to readers who are looking for a light story with a feel-good ending.
Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: A -Z Book Challenge, TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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