Monday, July 12, 2010

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

Marnie didn’t know much about miracles.Mistakes maybe. Accidents. And monstrous mess-ups. She knew a lot about those.But miracles? Those were for other people.

Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned.

As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

My Thoughts:

“I also leaned that even if things don’t turn out like you want, sometimes it’s still not so bad.” (p. 49)

Things certainly didn’t turn out like Marnie Wittier or Taylor Cole wanted or planned for their lives. Heartache, trouble, misunderstanding, regret, shame…these two have had a lot of it. More than their share it seems. Yet neither of them made good choices at certain points in their lives, so a lot of what they faced were just consequences. Anyway, when Marnie’s sister dies and she is named as the one to gain custody of her fifteen-year-old nephew, well….things get complicated in a hurry.

Marlo Schalesky likes to write stories with endings that include a mystical touch. She likes things to end up well for her characters, and she attempts to create “miracles” in their lives through unexpected means. In this story, I think she should have opted for the logical conclusion. Emmit, her sister’s son, as he was originally written into the story was powerful. His flaws taught Marnie and Taylor a great deal. He should have remained as one constant in the story. He was enough. And the ending conclusions could have remained the same - and even more powerful in my opinion – had we not had the esoteric twist at the end. It did not fit the rest of the story. It did not fit the entire message of God’s sovereignty and His will to work all things for our good and His glory.

It was a great story up until the last chapter. And the ending…didn’t work for me. I really enjoyed the flawed characters, the way they learned from their mistakes, the way they learned to love others even through trial and hardships…the whole entire story was headed in a great direction. The author needs to learn when to let the real-life miracles speak for themselves. She didn’t need the twist at the end. It ruined the story for me.

Shades of Morning...check it out HERE.

About the Author:
MARLO SCHALESKY is the author of several acclaimed novels, including Christy Award winner Beyond the Night. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo also has a masters of theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. She’s a regular columnist for Power for Living and lives with her husband, Bryan, and five children in California.

1 comment:

Mocha with Linda said...

Excellent review and I totally agree about the ending.