Thursday, March 14, 2013

{Review} The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen


The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen

Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Zondervan
Author Twitter - Author GoodReads

My Rating:
Three Stars

Summary: When Macy Dillon was five years old her father encouraged her to draw a picture in the guestbook of a Carolina beach house. The next year, Macy returned to discover a drawing by an unidentified little boy on the facing page. Over the next eleven years the children continue to exchange drawings ... until tragedy ends visits to the beach house altogether. During her final trip to Sunset, Macy asks her anonymous friend to draw her one last picture and tells him where to hide the guest book in hopes that one day she will return to find it---and him. Twenty-five years after that first picture, Macy is back at Sunset Beach---this time toting a broken family and a hurting heart. One night, alone by the ocean, Macy asks God to help her find the boy she never forgot, the one whose beautiful pictures touched something deep inside of her. Will she ever find him? And if she does, will the guestbook unite them or merely be the relic of a lost childhood? (SOURCE)
I don't usually read books with a religious undertone. And every time I say that I roll my eyes at myself because I seem to read them randomly -- even though they are on my "don't read" list. Yeah, it makes no sense. The summary of The Guest Book was enough to catch my attention and I decided to give it a try anyway. Part of me is glad I did. I'll explain why.

I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason. Whether it's a conversation you are having making you realize something, or even reading a book that makes you realize things won't always be tough. However, I don't like for religion to be the forefront of anything I read or listen to. Mostly because there is such a fine line between sharing your views and pushing your opinion on people to try and make them believe it too. TGB straddled that line for me.

It started out without any mention of religion and I thought maybe the other reviews I'd read were just flat our wrong. Then about half way through it seemed to just pop up...followed by it being mentioned what sometimes felt like every other page. It was borderline too much. That aside, I really did enjoy the book. [Don't look at me like that! I'm a woman and I have every right to like something even when it is full of things I don't connect with.]

There was a lot of repetitiveness. I felt like "the artist" was being drilled into my head every page or two. But it was a neat idea for a story. I just didn't feel like it was solid enough to grab me and not let me go. There was something that I didn't connect with. Possibly because I haven't gone through the major things that Macy had? I don't know. I can't say for sure.

I'd have liked to have learned more about certain characters. I enjoyed Macy's daughter, mother and brother .Really curious about him by the end of the book. Enough so that I'd be willing to read a book about him probably, even though I felt like his life was being groomed into something religious.

At the risk of spoiling it, Macy does meet three men, all very different, and all being set up for romance. I found myself unable to decide who to "root" for when it came to them. Usually I have a pretty solid idea of who I want the heroine to end up with in a romance based novel. Not so with this one. I kind of enjoyed that! All three men were sweet and caring at the core, which was a huge bonus. No jerks with ulterior motives in-sight. Phew! That was a breath of fresh air since some romance novels lean on that a lot. I definitely enjoyed that the people Macy meets come into her life for a reason. Some stay for longer than others, but they all helped her grow and see what she wanted out of life.

Ms. Whalen's writing style and voice was nice and I'm curious enough to check out other books by her. I think The Guest Book would be a great beach read, if you're planning on stocking up on books for summer vacation!

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. My review is honest [if not a little rambly]. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.


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