Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Clean, Christian Family Secrets Novel Compelling ... Enough

(Image from Barnes & Noble) 

Despite the raging success of her debut novel, 29-year-old Tenley Roth finds herself paralyzed with fear.  Fear that she's a one-hit wonder who can't produce a second book.  Fear that her first has only gained notoriety because of her notable literary pedigree.  Fear that she's just not good enough to deserve anyone's attention.  She knows a lot of her insecurity comes from being abandoned by her mother as a young child.  So, when Blanche Albright begs Tenley to nurse her through a summer of chemotherapy treatments, Tenley can't say no.  The novelist hopes spending a few months in sunny Florida will help her break through a crippling bout of writer's block while allowing her to make peace with her sick, estranged mother.  

Between playing nursemaid and trying to write something—anything—to satisfy a looming deadline from her publisher, Tenley can't afford any distractions.  Especially one as appealing as handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan.  Then, there's Blanche's dusty writing desk, a piece full of old mysteries and tantalizing whispers from the past.

Just as Tenley suspects, the antique does hide a remarkable story.  One that begins with a beautiful young heiress trapped in a gilded cage, frantic for freedom and longing for love.  Desperate to change the world through the stories she pens in secret, Birdie Shehorn will do anything, risk everything, to achieve her dream of becoming a published writer.  

Witness to it all, the writing desk has kept Birdie's secrets for more than a century.  What will happen when they're finally set free?  For Tenley, it will change everything ...

I'm always up for a juicy family secrets novel told in a dual-timeline format.  Naturally, then, my interest was piqued by the premise of The Writing Desk, the newest offering from romance writer Rachel Hauck.  It sounded like a right-up-my-alley read, especially with its clean, Christian bent.  As I often find with past/present plot lines, the former captured me much more than the latter.  Birdie is a million times more sympathetic and likable than Tenley, who comes off as a spoiled, self-centered brat.  Birdie's story has more meat to it, which made it the more compelling tale for me.  While I never did warm to Tenley, I did end up enjoying The Writing Desk overall.  It's not overly original or spectacularly well-written, but it is engrossing.  It kept my attention for 400+ pages and that's no small feat.  I appreciate that it's clean, uplifting, and engaging enough.  Will I pick up another book by Hauck?  Probably not.  Still, I'm not sorry I read this one.  
(Readalikes: Although this novel reminded me of plenty others I've read, a specific title is not coming to mind.  Help?)

Grade:
If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for very mild sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Writing Desk from the generous folks at Zondervan (an imprint of HarperCollins) via those at TLC Book Tours. Thank you!

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For more opinions on The Writing Desk, follow the book's blog tour:
Monday, July 24th: A. Holland Reads
www.tlcbooktours.comWednesday, July 26th: Fiction Aficionado
Friday, July 28th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, August 1st: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, August 2nd: Just One More Chapter
Friday, August 4th: Cafinated Reads
Monday, August 7th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, August 9th: The Overweight Bookshelf
Friday, August 11th: By the Book
Monday, August 14th: Reviews from the Heart
Tuesday, August 15th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, August 16th: A Night’s Dream of Books
Thursday, August 17th: Just Commonly
Monday, August 21st: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 22nd: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Wednesday, August 23rdCheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, August 24thReading is My SuperPower
Friday, August 25thDiary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, August 28thSteph the Bookworm

4 comments:

  1. You almost had me with this one...until you mentioned the dual timeline format and the 400+ pages. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha. I like dual timelines! And I don't mind long books as long as they are engaging :)

      Delete
  2. Well now how do I decide to read this one? You liked it and it held your attention but you wouldn't bother with another book by the author? Hmmm, maybe I'll skip it. If it's only mediocre. There's much better family dramas told in duality form.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'd stick with authors who do it better -- Kate Morton, for instance.

      Delete

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