Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: Rachel's Contrition

About the Book:
Rachel Winters had nothing, won it all, and then lost everything

After the death of her daughter, grief-spawned delusions cause Rachel to lose her husband, her home, and custody of her son.

Help arrives from two unlikely sources: a young teen, Lilly, battling her own demons, and a tattered holy card depicting Saint Therese of Lisieux. 

As Rachel grows closer to Lilly and comes to know Saint Therese, unbidden memories from her edgy past reveal fearful mysteries of seduction, madness, and murder . . . and a truth that will haunt her forever.

My Comments:
It has all too often been my experience that what is published today as "Catholic fiction" are books praising big families and touting the benefits of Natural Family Planning.   I'm pleased to say that Rachel's Contrition doesn't mention Natural Family Planning or birth control one time.  It is the story of a mentally ill woman coming to grips with the death of an infant daughter who was left in a car.  It is also the story of a horribly dysfunctional family whose apartment she rents.  In the end, that part of the story just struck me as bizarre, it was just too unrealistic to ring true.  However, I did like Rachel's story.

Rachel grew up as the child of a single mom, a mom who went from man to man, using them and never really loving them.  She was from the wrong side of the tracks. In college she reinvented herself, got in with the right crowd and met and married a doctor.  However, she always felt like she was acting, like she was playing a role rather than being herself.  That insecurity, the death of the baby, and probably some post-partum depression caused her to have a breakdown.  Part of what helped her find her way back was St. Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul.  Though she was not Catholic she found herself in a Catholic church talking to a priest.  Still, it doesn't come across as preachy, but more along the lines of "you've tried other stuff, and it hasn't worked, how about trying this?".  It is one of those books where finding Jesus leads to healing in this life.  

Michelle Buckman is a good writer, a real wordsmith.  Though published by a small Catholic press, this is not an amateur production.   It is available both in  paperback and e-book.  I definitely recommend it.  I was thinking of giving it an "A" but the whole unrealistic resolution of the subplot about the other family makes me mark it down to a B+.  

I purchased this book with Amazon reward points and can say what I want about it (but as you know I say what I want about anything I read).

1 comment:

  1. What I liked about the book also was that it dealt with marital healing and how children are deeply affected by what our parents go through...good or bad.

    Michele definitely has the knack. I have her Death Panels and am frankly a bit nervous to read it since my husband and I are in the midst of the sandwich generation with aging and ill parents.... Michele is THAT good a writer.

    I am so glad you reached out to me about this book...I'm off to write my own review for her!



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