Friday, June 29, 2012
Travelers Rest - A Book Review
Travelers Rest by Ann Tatlock is my first review for Bethany House. Before I do the review, though, I have to say a few words about Bethany House and their excellent customer service and compassion.
I signed up to start doing reviews for them back in November 2011 and shortly before I got shipped my first two books to review, my mother-in-law died. The books came and I thought I would have a chance to get them read, but then a month later my father-in-law died so it was a very difficult time, plus Christmas, plus son was going to be moving back home at the end of January. I realized the middle part of January that there was no way I was going to get the books read and a review written within Bethany House's suggestions of having it done within 3-4 weeks of getting the books. I emailed them and explained the situation, said I would send the books back.
They responded totally gracious, said they understood. Said to keep the books or give them to someone else who might be interested about them, just not to sell them. I sent the books to Lynda who is a librarian for her church. I was just impressed with how understanding Bethany House was and how compassionate they were. Now months later when things have settled down a bit, I am honored to have a chance to review Travelers Rest from Bethany House.
Now on to the review.
Travelers Rest by Ann Tatlock is her ninth novel, but the first one I have read. As part of reviewing it for Bethany House and putting a review of it on my blog and a major consumer site, I was provided a free copy of the book.
The story fascinated me when I read a synopsis of it on the Bethany House web site. Jane, one of the three main characters in the book, is engaged to Seth, another main character, who was a carpenter before he went to Iraq to serve his tour of duty. Unfortunately, he doesn't return physically the same way he left for Iraq and has a life altering injury. The story starts with Jane going to visit Seth in the VA hospital he is at shortly after he returns stateside after the injury. She is willing to continue the relationship and plans to get married, but due to the extent of his injuries, he does not want her to feel obligated to do so and basically did not want her to come to see him.
Over the course of the book, she comes to meet other people that are involved at the VA Hospital, including Truman, a veteran who lives at the facility there, who is haunted from an event that happened years ago in the town called Travelers Rest involving the woman he was engaged to and Jon-Paul, a blind lawyer with a talent to play the piano, whose sister works at the VA Hospital, who comes to play the piano at times before he has lunch with his sister.
We come to find the story behind the event that has haunted Truman for so many years and Jane realizes her family has a connection with the family of the woman Truman had been engaged to. Through a series of events, he is finally able to get closure years later. Meanwhile, Jane is still very unsure about what to do with her relationship with Seth and is trying to figure out what to do. She prays, waiting for God to answer it.
On a trip to Travelers Rest, where Jane is taking Truman years later to confront his past, the answer to Jane's dilemma about what to do about Seth is given in a way she did not quite expect. The book ends with an epilogue a few years later that wraps up what happened after that particular situation and ties up all loose ends.
My thoughts. It was a great story, a good plot. Well written and easy to read. The words flowed and it kept my interest. I was so curious to read the last few pages of the book to see how it all ended but resisted doing so, wondering what would happen. It did end a bit predictable.
I have to say though and this is going to be hard to write without giving too much away about the story. An event in one of the last few chapters of the book had me stop and question it. The book does not over talk faith. It is implied that the main characters, especially Seth and Truman, do have a faith and that Jane is still searching for one. There are not lots of scriptures quoted, in fact hardly any. But Jane has a dream one night after she is talking to Truman about love and in that dream they are reenacting a bit of communion like one would do at church with the breaking of bread representing Jesus' body and wine representing his blood. Though I know why that particular chapter was written in regards to the story, it doesn't really tie in completely with anything else in the story and one reading it who does not have a faith or does not know the significance of communion, it would be confusing as it was not clearly written or explained and merely implied. I felt it should have either been left out of the story or gone into more of a detail.
Other than that, I would definitely recommend the book and believe the rest of the story is a plausible one and would make one understand the struggle a couple would have if faced with such a dilemma like they had after Seth's service to our country.