Monday, February 15, 2010
The Carousel Painter
Title: The Carousel Painter
Author: Judith Miller
From the back cover:
When Carrington Brouwer receives the enviable job of painting carousel horses for a factory in Ohio, she believes her future is secure. But after an expensive necklace disappears from the home where she's been staying, she's caught up in a search for the truth that puts her entire livelihood--and her developing relationship with the factory manager-- at risk. Can she lead police to the real culprit before she loses everything?
You know, God has a way of weaving every aspect of our lives together in ways we would never expect. I just had a long conversation about about how people read these romances in order to escape the every day troubles they face and yet... let me be transparent with you once again... this book captured me in a way I had never thought possible.
It's not the first time it's happened. I think Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss was the first one that spoke to me where I was at and encouraged me to move forward ~ in the fictional realm. I still like to read it every so often.
What Judith Miller has done in this book is create a character, Carrington (Carrie), who isn't without faith but doubts why God would put good people through such hard trials and not rescue them. She doubts her strength to endure those trials and wonders why her prayers to change both her circumstances and her person have not been answered.
As someone who battles chronic pain, whose husband was laid off through no fault of his own, and who sees so many of her friends and family going through the same thing... I have to admit some of the same questions have come to my mind. What Carrie learns is that just as God loves us unconditionally, we can't base our love for Him on what He does or doesn't do. His plans may not always seem to be what we would pick and things may look pretty grim. Even their worst punishment - death - is really a reward for those who love God. We get to be with Him. We just need to keep trusting, keep believing, and not let them steal that one thing from us that really matters ~ our faith.
Despite my mini-sermon, this is a nice romance with interesting characters. This author also does a wonderful job of not painting them as perfect cut outs with no dimension. As I noted, Carrie struggles with her faith and is prone to giggles when nervous. Our hero, Josef, has a temper problem ~ and a very cute German accent. He is touchy about it though. lol Carrie's best friend, Augusta, can't stand up to her mother and is prone to judging people by their social status. Then you've got the woman running a boarding house who can't cook.
In the middle of all of this there is a small mystery to be solved about missing jewelry. The romance and development of Carrie's character are the most important parts of this story though (in my opinion). It was an entertaining story with a wonderful message and a very touching romance. I also think that the story can offer a lot to people who are struggling with all that's going on right now ~ in a fun, non-threatening way.
Are there any stories that have touched your life at a particular time? Any books that helped make something clear that had been harder for you to understand or that you had resisted? Do you think books with outright Scriptures and messages or more subtle themes are better for outreach to unbelievers/hurting Christians?
Posted by Margaret Metz at 1:24 AM