Mary Lynn has anything she could ever want ~ at least material things. When she joins a ladies' Bible study, she realizes that something is missing from her life. As she finds joy in her relationship with the Lord, she discovers that material wealth isn't everything and that nothing can fill the void in your heart except for God. Her husband is resistant to this change. Will she have to give up everything she has to be faithful to God?
I have always been enchanted with stories that take place in the South. I was born in Charleston and love to visit, so I was especially interested in reading "Sunrise on the Battery," which is set in Charleston, SC. While I enjoyed the story, it had a slow start and I had difficulty maintaining interest in the beginning. However, once I got into it, I liked it very much. It was an entertaining read and I enjoyed reading about happenings around landmarks with which I am familiar. This book really stops to make you think about what is important in your own life and how material possessions aren't everything.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze) in exchange for a quality review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I did not guarantee a positive review.
First off let me say I loved this book. Ms. Hart has a way of writing that makes each character easy to relate to. Even when their actions are not always what you think they should be and their desires are opposite to each other I found myself pulling for them. Ms. Hart gives you a view of what radical faith would look like today and how a society based on social status and appearance would respond to it, while also asking readers to consider where faith fits into their life. It's an absorbing story of a family whose desire to fit in almost costs them everything they value most. The story will have you inspecting your motivations for what you do and what you want in life. What do you pray for and what happens when your prayers are answered in ways you are not expecting? The story was developed nicely and the imagery is strong. The characters are complex and believable. Their emotions and actions are authentic. The relationships and dialogue were genuine. Sunrise on the Battery is a novel with strong characters and a well-written plot. This is a great read about a realistic family. I would highly recommend it!
She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.
An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t. After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all.
And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.
When a surprise encounter leads her to newfound faith, Mary Lynn longs to share it with her husband. But Jackson wrote God off long ago.
Mary Lynn prays for him on Christmas Eve . . . and her husband undergoes a life-altering Damascus Road experience. As Jackson begins to take the implications of the Gospel literally, Mary Lynn feels increasingly isolated from her husband . . . and betrayed by God. She only wanted Jackson beside her at church on Sunday mornings, not some Jesus freak who evangelizes prostitutes and invites the homeless to tea.
While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of.
Read an excerpt from the book here
Having grown up in a large family with no social standing other than my father was a blue collar worker, I could kind of understand why Lynn and her husband Jackson wanted the best for their children. I too wanted the best for my child. So I worked hard, taught her the value of the dollar, the difference between right and wrong, moral values... well you get the picture.
Lynn and Jackson wanted the lives to their children to be more than better. They wanted them to have the best education, be musically talented, have the best social standing, shop in the best stores, whatever it would take to not just propel them into the uppercrust of Charleston, South Carolina, but become members of the elite.
Lynn remembered the heartache and heart break of not being accepted and Jackson never forgot how hard he had to work to obtain the current position he had in Charleston's society.
In Sunrise on the Battery, I found myself drawn to their oldest daughter, Catherine. The pressure to not just succeed but excel in everything was incredible. How her parents failed to notice there was something wrong with her was incredible sad. She almost..... oops.... I almost told you what happened!
When Lynn prayed for her husband to know Jesus.... she just didn't anticipate what would become of her life, the lives of her children or Jackson, himself.
I can see where the author, Beth Webb Hart, was influenced by David Platt's Radical.
I did enjoy the book, though to me it seemed a little like a fairy tale in some places. (Maybe it's because I've never had the pleasure of hobnobbing with the uppercrust folk.) I found Beth Webb Hart's style of writing relaxing and warm. A bit like sipping a nice ice cold glass of sweet tea on a warm afternoon. (I have done that!)
So, if you are looking for a refreshing glass of ice tea.... I mean, a warm and lovely story about love, grace, compassion and life changes, then this is a great book for you.
Beth Webb Hart, a South Carolina native, holds a B.A. in English Literature from Hollins College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.
Her first novel, Grace at Low Tide, was one of three finalists for the 2006 Christy Awards in the general/contemporary/fiction category. Her second novel, Adelaide Piper, was selected for Books-a-Million's book club and for their national book of the month for December, 2006. Both titles were included in the "Top 10 Christian Novels of 2006" by Booklist, the American Library Association's review journal. Hart's third novel, The Wedding Machine, became an ECPA best-seller in July of 2008.
Beth Webb lectures on a variety of topics and has taught creative writing on the college and high school level where she received two national awards from Scholastic, Inc. She lives with her husband, composer Edward Hart, and their children in Charleston, South Carolina where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Ashley Hall.
This is her website: http://bethwebbhart.com/sunrise/
This book was provided by The B&B Media Group, Inc. for the sole purpose of reviewing. I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
The author mentions David Platt's "Radical." In my review of Platt's book, I refer to it as "the second most influential book I ever read." When I realized it had inspired Webb, I felt bad that I couldn't give "Sunrise..." a more enthusiastic review.
I do believe, when we come to Christ, we become new creatures. However, I have yet to meet a new Christian who got everything right from the get-go.
And while I believe wholeheartedly that God answers prayer, He doesn't always fix things so quickly and completely.
Even before Jackson's conversion, the parent/child relationships seemed too sugary sweet to me. The daughters' rebellious actions and coping mechanisms never seemed to authentically jeopardize the family relationships or their academic success.
While Mary Lynn, the mom, considered a drastic response to her husband's conversion, all the changes it meant for the girls didn't seem to ruffle their feathers in the least.
When I was in high school, I wrote a short story of a teen's conversion. Everything got better immediately between her and her mom, and one of my classmates referred to it as a fairy tale. "Sunrise..." reminded me of that short story.
In this world we will have tribulations. Jesus came to divide families, demanding we serve Him even when our family resents it and rebels. I'm concerned that "Sunrise..." gives an unrealistic view of what it means to come to faith.
Sunrise on the Battery, by Beth Webb Hart, was a wonderful story. The story is set in Charleston, South Carolina, a city rich in history and long genealogies, where the Scovilles are attempting to climb the social ladder of success.
Mary Lynn and her husband, Jackson, began life in a small town and have worked hard to reach the financial and social status that they have finally achieved. Their three daughters are laden with pressures from the many activities and lessons their father insists upon to ensure their acceptance in society. But life begins to change when Mary Lynn commences attending Bible study with a friend and asks them to pray for Jackson. When he finally becomes a Christian, he is so overzealous that she finds herself torn apart and left in the dust. She must decide whether or not to stay married to him.
I found the characters in the book very believable. Their problems and issues were true to real life, and I’m sure that many people could relate to them. I do wish that Jackson had accepted Christ earlier in the story, so we could have more detail about how the family dealt with his changes. However, the book was well-written and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own
Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart is an amazing look at the question of what would life look like if we really, really loved each other, and were eager to tell everyone we love how much we loved them and wanted them to know how great a life Christian Life is? Would it change the way we look at life, and what we do? Sunrise on the Battery is written from numerous perspectives, which might make it confusing for the reader except for the fact that the names of the person from whose perspective each chapter is told is mentioned at the being of the chapter as a sort of chapter title. Mary Lynn, her husband Jackson and their oldest daughter Catherine (a teenager) tell their stories, with the lives of the two youngest daughters entwined. All use the third person point of view which is effective in bringing the story out. A thought provoking novel, there were a few scenes I thought were rather radical, but soon realized that I was not the only one who thought so, and this made a bold statement. Family life both as a family striving after social achievements and as dedicated Christians was very realistically portrayed. I really liked this book, and will be looking for more of Beth Hart books. Not a suspense, with twisty surprises, just a nice deep-thinking novel.
Jackson and Mary Lynn both grew up in small town South Carolina. Their families were poor and both have regrets about the things that they missed out on growing up. When they married, they determined that their children would not want for anything. Their three daughters are in nearly every extra-curricular activity known to man, and Jackson and Mary Lynn have finally broken into high society in Charleston with invitations pending to join some of the most prestigious social clubs. However, Mary Lynn feels like there must be something more. When Jackson begins reading The Message Bible and questions everything about his beliefs of God, the family's world is turned upside down. Nothing is off the table.
Beth Webb Hart is a gifted writer who easily and quickly pulled me into the story. She wrote this story from three different perspectives (Jackson's, Mary Lynn's, and Catherine's - their oldest daughter) which allowed me to fully understand the thoughts and feelings of all parties. The level of detail that she put into the story gave me such a great picture of Charleston . . . almost as if I'd been there. I can definitely imagine the streets and neighborhood where the family lived.
It seems that the majority of novels I've read recently center around a conflict between two individuals - mostly a man and a woman who will eventually overcome their problems and fall in love. In Sunrise on the Battery, however, the conflict was really between the family (mainly Jackson) and God. It was unlike anything I'd read before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also loved how the author portrayed a couple who had been married for nearly twenty years but were still in love with each other. They had everything they could have ever wanted . . . except God. Again, this is so different than a lot of what I've read. I loved the picture of a healthy, loving marriage relationship.
I will say that there were a couple of things that I wish had been more clear in the story. First, it was never really made clear if Mary Lynn was a Christian. She prayed for her husband, she attended a women's prayer group at church, and she went to church on Christmas Eve. But I wish that there would have been a greater emphasis on Mary Lynn's relationship with the Lord . . . whatever that was. Also, I wish the author would have laid out a clear, concise explanation of what the gospel is. There is much mention of sharing the gospel, and parts of the gospel are discussed, but it could be easily misunderstood if a reader didn't already know what the gospel was. I think people could (mistakenly) walk away thinking that warm fuzzies, baptism, making grand gestures, or logically evaluating the Bible are what results in a person's salvation. The author did not directly state any of these things, but the lack of a full explanation of the gospel could lead to these misunderstandings.
Beth Webb Hart also mentions that she got the idea for the premise of this book after reading Radical by David Platt. I think she wrote a great book . . . however, (for me) she didn't really address a lot of the issues raised in Radical. I think she got the family started on the right path, but didn't really carry the story out as far as it could have (should have?) gone. Perhaps if Jackson had discovered faith earlier in the book, it would have allowed more time to really flesh out these ideas.
Overall, though, I really did enjoy this book. Jackson's his zeal and enthusiasm for going "all in" once he became a Christian was challenging. There were times that I shook my head at the way he went about things, but the author left me feeling like the family was really working to figure out what this new Christian life was supposed to look like.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and The B&B Media Group in exchange for my fair and honest review.
I was worried that the book would not stand by itself since I hadn't read the others in the series but I finished this book in one night so I would say that it held my attention! The Scoville's have moved from a small southern town to Charleston. Their family mission statement is basically to become the best educated and socially acceptable family around in order for their children to have the education and social success that they didn't when they were young. But, is it really the family mission or the father's mission. One Christmas, after a miraculous leg muscle healing by her priest, MaryLynn prays that her husband will accept God and join her at church. But God doesn't always do things the way we think they should be done. Mary Lynn just wants her husband and family to join her at church and nothing more, she certainly doesn't want her social endeavours to be sideswiped and destroyed. This is an excellent story of how God can totally change a person and a family. Great read.
Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville were finally being accepted in Charleston. After ten years, Mary Lynn had finally been invited to be in the Charlestowne Garden Club and Jackson in the Carolina Yacht Club. There three daughters would get the education and cultivation the city offered. If Jackson handled their investments right, they'd be set for life. Recently Mary Lynn has been going to church...alone. Catherine, the oldest of the Scoville girls, hadn't scored high enough on the SAT to suit her father so she was on leave from the cross country and track team. Jackson quizzes her with impromptu SAT questions. He is determined to have their girls in the best of colleges. The family goes to England for their traditional after Christmas vacation. On the intercontinental flight, Jackson realizes he has left his reading material on the first airplane. He fidgets so much that Mary Lynn gives him her copy of The Message New Testament to read. He devours it and in England buys a compete Bible. Upon their return he immediately meets with the rector. Jackson gets saved and before long Mary Lynn's social life falls into ruin. Jackson commits social suicide, bringing a smelly homeless person into the house during Mary Lynn's luncheon she's been planning for all year. He uses the microphone at an informational school meeting to share the gospel. The invitation to the debutante club, gone. The reputation she had worked so hard to secure, ruined. When Mark, an old flame, asks her to leave Jackson, take the girls and marry him, Mary Lynn is tempted. Will Mary Lynn's deep need for social acceptance destroy their family? Is Jackson crazy or is he just in love with God? Mary Lynn has many questions to face.
Having been born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, the social circle Mary Lynn aspired to enter just seemed crazy to me. But, the author is a South Carolina native and I have to assume she has portrayed life as it is in the south. I found the first half of the book rather tedious. But when Jackson started reading the Bible and talking to their pastor, the book got exciting. So make it through the first part and you will be rewarded. (Unless you're from the south – then you might find the first part exciting too.)
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Sunrise on the Battery, by Beth Hart is the story of redemption for a family soaked in the culture of trying to "beat the Jones" and making sure their children have a better life than they did, no matter the cost. Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville pulled themselves out of a country life and are striving to live a city life with all the social connections they can make. But Mary Lynn's heart is still sad, and missing something. She attends a Bible study and church occasionally, and one day asks for prayer for her husband. God reaches down and answers that prayer in a big, inconvenient way. Is she really willing to have her husband lead their family spiritually, even when it doesn't fit into their grand plan for the future?
I have read many Christian fiction books where the plan of salvation and grace seems forced into the story. But this story line is completely built around the salvation of this family, so the whole book is a wonderful testimony of God's miraculous changing power. It was also a great reminder to me of the trap the world sets for us of looking good on the outside, even when we are struggling on the inside. I would recommend this book and am interested in reading other books by Beth Hart.
I was given this book for free by Booksneeze for an unbiased review.
This story is about the Scoville family. Mary Lynn and Jackson, and their three daughters Catherine, Lilla, and Casey have financially made it. They are all over achievers and need to be the best at what ever they do, or they keep doing it until they have it perfected. When Mary Ellen receives a miracle after she is injured while jogging, she wants to give back to God. She goes to Christmas Eve Services and prays for Jackson to receive the Holy Spirit. This is so enjoyable on how God answers prayers! Things go missing, and books keep moving, speaking out of turn, and street people showing up! Loved it! When He answers prayers, it is not how we always want it to be answered. Mary Ellen did grow up with a lot of hurts and was picked on for not having a Dad, she wants to be accepted by the Charleston Society. Jackson goes about his everyday life making more and more money, and never ending college classes and learning. You will love how God puts them in their place! A must read of Love and understanding.
I received this book from the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart is the sequel to Love, Charleston and follows the story of the Scoville family. Mary Lynn and Jackson were high school sweethearts who married right out of school with a shared dream: to raise their children with the opportunities they were denied growing up poor in a small town. After living for a decade in Charleston and carefully working their way up in society, they are finally about to reap the rewards of full acceptance. But Mary Lynn is starting to question the dream because of her attendance at the local church and a prayer group has opened up her heart to more than just status. Their three daughters each deal with the stresses of a life in private school with constant lessons and parental expectations in different ways. Catherine, the eldest, is beginning to turn to drugs to help her cope with the constant pressure, especially when her father takes away her greatest joy: running track, to make her focus on raising her SATs. Mary Lynn asks her prayer group to pray for Jackson to find God, but when he does, the repercussions will shake her and the entire family to its core as they are forced to redefine who they are as people. Hart has a way of writing that makes each character completely relatable and sympathetic. I found myself rooting for every character, even when their actions weren't necessarily right and when their desires were at polar opposites with each other. Hart gives readers a view of what radical faith would look like today and how a society based on status and appearance would respond to it, while also asking readers to consider where faith fits into their life. That she manages to do so without being preachy is quite an accomplishment, but Hart keeps the reader so focused on the Scoville family that even Jackson's wildest actions and biggest speeches don't come across as proselytizing. It's an absorbing story of a family whose desire to fit in almost costs them everything they value most.
Mary Lynn Scoville seems to have it all, and is on the verge of being invited into the last club that polite Charleston society has to offer. But when Mary Lynn experiences a miracle on Christmas Eve, she prays that her husband and three daughters will experience God’s touch as well. But when her prayer is answered in a way she never expected can Mary Lynn every truly be happy and what will her happiness cost? And will Charleston, South Carolina ever be the same?
Sunrise on the Battery looks at life and what is important. Are accolades of human achievement all important in living a fulfilling life? Is it possible to heal old wounds by climbing the social ladder? The Scoville family is about to find out what is truly important. The pinnacles of society, the homeless on the street who will have the biggest impact?
Sunrise on the Battery also touches on teen substance abuse – drinking and pharming.
Sunrise on the Battery looks at friendship and what true friendship really is. Is it tied to your checkbook? Your address? Who your parents are? Or is it a giving of oneself just because with no strings attached?
Sunrise on the Battery is an enjoyable read that has a lesson to teach.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Beth Webb Hart's newest book, Sunrise on the Battery looked a really intriguing read. Like her previous book, it takes place in Charleston, South Carolina in modern times.
The book synopsis seems to promise a novel about a couple who have given everything for a place in high society. The wife, Mary, comes to know God and prays for her husband to come to know him as well. When he does get saved, he becomes an overenthusiastic Christian, threatening their status in society.
I expected the book to be about Mary's struggles with her husband's spiritual awakening and subsequent activity. For those of us who have been Christians for a while, this dilemma is familiar. If not with our family members, we've seen this in friends and acquaintances. What do you do when someone sees overzealous?
In this sense, Hart's book is disappointing. Jackson doesn't convert until page 183 out of 277 pages. The next 95 pages do detail his overzealous activities, and Mary does have a difficult time coming to terms with the vast change in her husband. However, Hart fails to give a Christian perspective on how to confront the situation. One of the main characters fails into sinful thoughts and others are just confused. Everything seems to be miraculously resolved in the last chapter.
Mary and her husband have three children with very different personalities. In the first two-thirds of the book, they add to the nuance of this story. However, after Jackson's conversion, they seem to fall by the wayside.
All in all, I enjoyed this book more than Hart's previous book Love, Charleston. However, it seems more disappointing than inspiring. It seems so realistic that there is no clear take home message from the book. I leave the book just as confused about this issue as before I began.
(I received a review copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review.)
If you love the historical Charleston SC then you will love this book. I live in SC and know everywhere the author talks about except Meggett, SC where Mary Lynn had grown up as an illegitimate child as was always talked about and made fun of in her school.
Mary Lynn met and married a very handsome young man whom had not had an easy life himself. They had three daughter and wanted more for them than they had grown up with. Jackson get in with a young man that he knew and begin to learn how to make and invest money. They bought an old Victorian home in Charleston, SC near the Battery. They wanted to get into all the society that they could and Jackson was very strict with their daughters. He pushed they very hard and wanted them to learn the things that he wanted them to learn and not what they really wanted. Mary Lynn was a Christian and went to some church and some of the ladies prayer meeting, but Jackson wanted nothing to do with God and didn't want his daughters to either.
When God really got into all of their lives after the marriage was almost destroyed they found out that they really didn't need to be in with the society groups but they all needed God more. They sold their fancy house and the family found out what love really was, they knew they did not need all the things the world has to offer.
Thanks so much to B and B Media for sending me this book and I chose to review it.
I was excited to read this book after having read Love, Charleston. I was hoping that I would feel like I was walking along the Battery or something, just like I felt I was walking through Charleston on my own mini-vacation. I was excited that I truly did feel like I was back in Charleston!
This book is based on the viewpoints of three main characters: Jackson, Mary Lynn, and Catherine. Mary Lynn and Jackson are married and Catherine is one of their three daughters. This family tries hard to fit into the social circles that are within Charleston. They do the things that people who are well-off do. Despite how hard they try to enjoy this lifestyle and to make friends with all of the people who are in their social groups, Mary Lynn finds that nothing is cutting it. She feels so lonely and can't explain why. I mean, doesn't money equal happiness? Doesn't doing all of the "fancy" things mean contentment? Wrestling with these issues, she comes face to face with a decision she has to make about God. She prays hard for her husband to follow suit. Will God answer her prayers in the way that she thinks He should or can she be content if she never sees him accept Christ in his life? How will these decisions affect their marriage and their family?
______________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart takes place in Charlestown, South Carolina. The story revolves around the Scoville family – Jackson, Mary Lynn, Catherine, Lilla and Casey. Jackson and Mary Lynn both faced challenges during their childhoods and decided they wanted to provide a better life for their three daughters. They worked hard to fit into the Charlestown social circles. They pushed their daughters to be the best they could be. Although it looked like they had everything Mary Lynn still felt an emptiness that lead her to search for a relationship with God. While on her own search for God she prayed that her husband, Jackson, would find Him. Is Mary Lynn ready to receive the answer to her prayers?
This was the first book that I read by this author and I did like it. I must admit it took me some time to get into it as it is told from three different points of view. The story is told by Jackson, Mary Lynn and Catherine. At times I found it difficult to follow because there were so many characters and relationships to remember. In the end I really did like this book and would recommend it to others.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”