Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel
B&H Publishing Group (April 30, 2013)
Melody Carlson


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.


With high hopes, Dorothy Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dot passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Dorothy, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Dorothy only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dot’s cats.

And if Dorothy thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dot's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

My Thoughts:
“No one has a guarantee of what tomorrow will bring – you only have today.  Why not live it to the fullest?” (p. 65)

Daphne Ballinger receives this bit of advice soon after she receives the news of some very peculiar circumstances set forth in her aunt’s (and namesake’s) will.  From the start she feels a bit hopeless and defeated.  She has settled for much less that what she set out to pursue and achieve in her lifetime.  When she is offered the opportunity to return to her hometown, it’s no wonder she is less than enthusiastic.

Until she considers the chance to live in a comfortable home at no cost as an opportunity seldom offered in a busy life – a chance to slow down and consider options, opportunities and a change of direction.  The only thing that keeps her from enjoying the freedom this opportunity offers is the fact that if she fails to marry at the end of the year, she forfeits the home and the security it offers.  Daphne does what I think most people would do in her situation, she tries to meet the requirements of her aunt’s will in order to continue to enjoy the security of the town she has come to call home.

Already, Daphne is faced with some pretty disgruntled relatives, and as the summer progresses, she faces and ever increasing and unbelievable relationship.  It’s pretty hard to believe anyone’s claim of affection can be genuine if her aunt’s will comes into consideration.  Daphne must learn to trust herself and her heart – and the heart of her Heavenly Father – before she will be able to enjoy life as her aunt intended.  It is a path filled with obstacles and challenges – some of them painful – but what is gained by the end of the book is beyond price.

Melody Carlson’s books are to be savored and thoughtfully considered.  Lock Stock, and Over a Barrel is no exception.  She mines truth out of some very unlikely places!  Enjoy the journey!!  

If you would liketo read the first chapter of Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel, go HERE.

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