Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review
In every life, there are mountains to be crossed.  For some, those mountains are physical.  In other cases, the challenges are emotional or relational.  For Ashley and Ben, in The Mountain Between Us, those mountains come in all three forms.  On the surface, their story appears to be one of wilderness survival, but as we delve deeper, we will see that it is really about crossing over into your own truth after braving the storms of life.

As the story begins, Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, and Ben Payne, a surgeon, are about to be stranded in Salt Lake City as all flights are being shut down by a massive storm system.  Ashley is desperate to get home for her wedding, while Ben has surgeries to perform.  Given the situation, the only option left to them is to charter a private flight around the line of growing storms.  The plan is to fly to Denver while there is still the possibility of making it home.

Mid-flight to Denver, their pilot has a heart attack and makes a crash landing in one of the most remote and rugged areas of the country (the High Uintas Wilderness of Utah).  To make matters worse, a flight plan was not required, so no one knows the whereabouts of these three passengers (or even that Ashley and Ben got on that plane).

Now, with their pilot dead, and Ashley seriously injured, Ben must figure out a way to keep both of them alive.  Stranded at a very high elevation in the midst of winter storms, without food or other necessary provisions, the odds are not good for them to make it.  Without hope of a search and rescue operation, their bleak situation will cause both Ashley and Ben to reflect on the things that matter most in life.  During their odyssey of searching for a way to survive, both will discover what it means to truly live and love.

There are many things I liked about this book.  First, I must admit that I am really into wilderness survival stories.  There is just something about rising up above your circumstances, no matter how bleak, that speaks to me.  Nobody survives a devastating accident without being changed in critical ways.  It is the story of that transformation that greatly appeals to me.  I think, too, that it is impossible not to insert yourself into the situation to reflect on how you would handle things, or be changed by such life-altering circumstances.  One of the things I enjoyed most about the story is how Ben uses the few things available to him in a MacGyver fashion.  It was interesting to see how he came up with creative solutions to daunting challenges.  In a life-or-death situation, I would want Ben Payne by my side.

I appreciate how author Charles Martin tells a story.  He makes me care about his characters and they become real to me.  Though this book has been newly released as a movie, I'm glad I chose to read the book first.  The reviews for The Mountain Between Us, in book form, are much better than those for the movie.  It seems that many moviegoers felt a disconnect between the two leading actors.  That is so different from what you will experience about the connection between Ashley and Ben in the book.  The two become very bonded, though neither character violates any promises made to spouse or fiance during their time together in the wilderness.

This is a good book to read during the holiday season.  It reminds us that love conquers all and that we can each climb and cross any mountain that rises up in our lives.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review of Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot

Imagine having to leave the city where you had happiness,  loving parents, wealth, and social standing, to become a mail order bride on a Texas ranch in 1856. It was a long way for Sarah Dobbs to go with her little sister Thea from Philadelphia to San Antonio. Why would she do such a thing?

Her wealthy father’s investments had disintegrated into nothing and he had shot his wife and then himself. All the old friends abandoned Sarah after this disgraceful thing had happened.  The house was gone, the money was gone, and she had no family left except her very young sister Thea, whom she felt responsible to protect and care for.

Review of Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot
Sarah herself was considered not worthy of a good husband because she had fallen off a horse and the fall had mangled her leg. She walked with a limp. Her leg was deformed. When Austin Canfield of the Bar C Ranch in Ladreville, Texas began courting Sarah through his letters, she fell in love with him. Even though she realized the marriage was more of a business arrangement, she knew she loved him. But here she was now, waiting at the station in San Antonio for him to arrive, and he was nowhere to be found. Had he deserted her, too?

When she had about given up hope, she was finally met not by Austin, but by someone else, who turned out to be his brother, Clay. It was Clay’s horrible task to tell Sarah her husband-to-be had just been murdered. His intent was to take Sarah back to the ranch so that she and Thea could recover from their trip, and be ready to make the return trip back home in a week.  As you can probably guess, it didn’t turn out that way.

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot would be classified as inspirational fiction with a bit of romance. Both Sarah and Clay are dealing with anger over what has happened to their families and a feeling that God didn’t care or he would have prevented it. Austin’s one purpose was to find his brother’s killer, see that he paid, and then go back to his medical practice in Boston.

Sarah’s purpose was to protect Thea from the kind of ostracism she herself had suffered because of her father’s actions. She felt that could best be accomplished in a new setting where no one knew her. She wanted to stay in Texas. She was determined to find a way to make a living to support her and Thea.

Clay allows her to continue living on  the ranch until she can support herself. He is kind to both her and Thea. He had lost his own wife who was pregnant with their first child, and he has not recovered from that. She had died of food poisoning from eating tainted fish chowder, or so everyone had thought.

Thea insists on calling Clay “Papa,” much to his dismay, even though both Sarah and Clay have repeatedly set her straight. But he is very kind to Thea and even teaches her to ride a horse – over the protests of her mother, who was still terrified of horses.

Besides the theme of revenge, there is also the theme of the rivalry between the French and German immigrants in the town who hate each other. There is a thief who has been cutting fences and because no one knows who he is, the thefts and fence cuttings cause the people to blame anyone they don’t like so that the French and Germans hate each other even more.

Sarah is finally hired to work in the mercantile owned by  a French family, Isabelle and her brother, Leon. Neither could speak German, but half the town spoke only German. Sarah could speak German and had demonstrated her usefulness by translating for German customers on her first visit to the store the day Clay brought her to town to get some things she needed. After hiring Sarah, the store’s sales increased, and Isabelle, who was a devout Christian,  became Sarah’s close friend.

That’s all I will tell you. You may be able to guess the end from here, but not all the twists and turns that take you there as both Sarah and Clay try to find Austin’s killer, Sarah tries to unite the town and start a school, Sarah tries to help Clay’s father walk again, and God begins to heal old wounds to the spirits of all involved.

If you enjoy Christian fiction, I recommend Paper Roses. It’s worth the read. I turned out to be right about the murderer. The book’s title comes from the letters Sarah received from Austin during their courtship. She called them paper roses.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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