20 June 2008

The Only Best Place, Carolyne Aarsen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Right from the get go. What I didn't realise when I picked it up off the library shelf is that it is Christian novel. The faith issue is wound through the story, and it never feels 'tacked on'.

Leslie, married a Dutch heritage farm boy, Dan. She's always lived in the city. Two kids and a couple of years later they run into money issues, and there's an opportunity for them to move back to Dan's family farm for a year. Obviously, a huge move for Leslie, who only agrees to the move because its only for a year.

The story follows Leslie struggle to adapt to the country (including some amusing panic attacks at all the open space); to not working (she's an emergency nurse); to having family living in her pocket all the time (she's from a broken and disfunctional family). It's amusing, it's touching, it's very real.

What I really loved about this novel is that people are people. The Christians have real flaws (and real strengths). Too often Christians are portrayed as wonderful, patient, smiling angels - that certainly ain't the reality of MY life! The 'baddies', particularly Dr John who tries to woo her away from husband and family, are actually really nice people. And I think that's what makes this book work - its full of real, believable people, in real, believable situations.

Aarsen has at least one other book - about Leslie's sister. And I will be looking for that on the library shelves!

I'd probably give this book a 10. If I owned it I could lend it to people going through similar struggles to Leslie.

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