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Archive for the tag “Old Order Mennonite”

Review: Inescapable (Road to Kingdom #1)

 Inescapable (Road to Kingdom #1) by Nancy Mehl, if you will recall, was part of my Mailbox Madness, an impulse purchase from Amazon after reading a review. According to Amazon:

“Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she’ll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown.

As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps.

When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time–to a Father whose love is inescapable.”

While I was reading Inescapable, and still after, I have mixed feelings about the book. While there is a great deal of Christian fiction centered on the Amish, this is the first I’ve read about Mennonites, and I think that was part of the draw for me.

I found myself more drawn in by the story itself than by the Mehl’s writing, or character development. The story in and of itself was interesting- Lizzie is practically run off from her job, is dealing with a stalker, and ends up returning to the town that rejected her. But what frustrated me was the weaknesses in the character development, and the loopholes the author left hanging open. Lizzie, the protaganist and for the most part, our narrator, was a bit one note. It felt like occasionally, the author slipped from first person to a  third person narrative, mainly to give us information to move the plot forward.

As for the loopholes in the plot, I found myself asking questions like, “Why did she just run from her problems at work? Why didn’t she confide in any of her friends there?” And “Did she leave her faith behind?”

Even with my criticisms, particularly with regards to character development, I still found myself connecting with Lizzie in an odd way. I understood her anger and the struggle she faced in regards to her relationship with her father. Mehl did a surprisingly good job of showing how anger, when it builds inside, can come flowing out in unexpected, and often painful ways. The antidote to that anger is forgiveness, but its not always as neat and clean as it was in this story. It’s a process, at times, a very messy process. But, as we see in the story, there is still hope.

I would give Inescapable two stars. I will probably not continue the series, but I am sorry I picked up the first one. If nothing else, it gave me food for thought.

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Mailbox Madness

With my new membership on Paperbackswap.com and two recent purchases on Amazon (something that is incredibly rare for me these days) I have found myself with a mailbox full of books which is, in my humble opinion, a happy problem. (Although I am not sure my roommates would agree, considering the incredibly large pile of books in our living room that are waiting for me to finish re-constructing my bookcase.)

In any case, I’ve had quite a few books come my way recently, and I thought I’d share. Here’s the madness:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

from Paperbackswap.com

I don’t remember exactly how I discovered Lisa See…but I think it was the suggestion of Shanghai Girls on Amazon that I subsequently purchased and then inhaled before buying the sequel Dreams of Joy. See is a fantastic writer, and reading those two made me want to work through a few more  all of her novels.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

from Paperbackswap.com

I honestly can’t explain my recent obsession with the Lost Generation writers. Maybe its my viewing of Midnight in Paris and the sheer number of literary references I missed. Maybe its my recent brush with World War I literature, and my interest in the way it subsequently shaped the thinking of those impacted by it. Either way, I found myself ordering a few of Hemingway’s novels, and that first that arrived was A Farewell to Arms. I also received a copy of The Sun Also Rises last week.

          Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

from Amazon.com

I read a review of Inescapable over at www.5minutesforbooks.com and found myself curious, however, it was not available at my local library, nor coming soon, so I took a risk and ordered a copy. The premise is interesting: the story is about Lizze Engel and her daughter Charity who return to Lizzie’s hometown of Kingdom after losing her job, hoping to escape a man stalking her. What awaits her in Kingdom is her incredibly strict father, an Old Order Mennonite resistant to change, and a flood of memories. In spite of Kingdom’s off the map status, Lizzie’s stalker manages to track her down.

I must confess: as soon I opened this one I knew I would end up reading it immediately, casting aside the six other books I am reading…and I did. So far, I feel sadly disappointed though. I am about a third of the way through, and it has not been nearly as gripping as I had hoped. I will continue on, however, and let you know what I think.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

from Paperbackswap.com

In case you didn’t believe me about my obsession with writers from the Lost Generation, I present to you further evidence in the form of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I would be a little bit of a liar, however, if I didn’t admit that part of my reason for reading The Great Gatesby which I somehow managed to avoid all the way through middle school and clear through high school, is in anticipation of the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  I am curious to see how it would be adapted on screen.

The Elusive Mr. McCoy by Brenda Baker

from Amazon.com

This is another book I just couldn’t help but purchase after I found out it would not be at my local library any time soon. I was fascinated by the double life presented, and by the idea that the “offender” as Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books refers to him, is decidedly absent from the story as it focuses on his families. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this one.

As always, I have so much to read and so little time. 🙂

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