This book starts with a heart-wrenching story of a short-lived marriage between Billy and Samantha Crawford until a bullet took Billy’s life. Eva has written with clarity the life Samantha was living as a recluse after her husband died. It’s heart-rending, deep and personal. You can easily put yourself in her shoes as she drowns herself in grief. No one being able to pull her out of herself.
Before his death, she was a daydreaming children’s book writer. Her mischievous ways followed her into her marriage with Billy. The scenes are hilarious and have you relishing the scenes. The romance is exquisite!
While rescuing a young child hit by a car, Eva subsequently renews her friendship with her old friend, Joe Bradford, from grade school. Though both were shunned in school, they had become fast friends. He was African-American and she was Caucasian. Eva brings Samantha back to life through the life of Joe in ways one would never expect. It’s heartwarming and delightful.
This book, Unconditional, is a powerful story of love triumphing over tragedy. God is ever close throughout the circumstances–only a prayer away!
I had the opportunity to pre-screen the movie, Unconditional, and I was excited to discover that there was a book, too. There are few instances where the book and movie meet or exceed expectations in conjunction with one another, but in this case, the rare combination of a book that was consistent with the movie, and in fact complemented it very well, was accomplished.
The book is great as a standalone piece. I enjoyed it very much, and it helped clarify some points in the movie that were a little vague, although not incomprehensible. The story itself is interesting; the characters are true to life (not entirely surprising since it was based on a true story). When Sam lost her husband, the depiction of grief and sorrow was heartfelt and sincere, and I definitely related to her coming to grips with events, even jumping to conclusions with her in some instances.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book to those who may or may not have seen the movie. Both are powerful conduits of a message of hope and reconciliation, and the fact that they are based on the life of a real person makes them even more poignant. That the application of love in a society that struggles to believe in unconditional anything could be greater than the cynicism that tries to stifle it is not surprising. That there are real life people that actually live that love out shouldn’t be. Christians are called to live that life; that we don’t or won’t is tragic. Christ gave himself that we should know real love, that we should be active in serving in our world. When we miss that, we miss a lot.
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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Along with the release of the movie with the same name, two books have been released, Unconditional, and a child’s book Firebird. Unconditional tells the story of a young woman who had the storybook life, happily married, living on a beautiful ranch, and a career she loved, writing and illustrating popular children’s books. That all came to a crashing halt one wet night, when her electrician husband responds to a service call in the poorer end of town, and is shot to death by an unknown assailant. The story picks up a year later, when Samantha’s life is still crashed around her, and she’s considering ending it all. Her trip takes her down to the same spot her husband died, and then life changes when a child is struck by a car in front of her, and she chooses to do what’s right. Through that choice, she ends up reconnecting with “Papa Joe,” a childhood friend, who is now working to change the lives of children in the projects. And as Papa Joe later tells her, “it’s not a dead end if it takes you somewhere you needed to go.”
It can’t be easy to write a book based on a movie that’s based on true events, because you have only the movie to draw from. Because of that, the setting of the book lacks the depth of description that would usually be a part of a novel, and the characters are revealed more quickly in dialog and reactions than in a slower story process that allows you to know them each on a deeper level. With those limitations, however, Unconditional tells a moving story of hope, and the novel conveys that story more than adequately. Firebird is the book that Samantha is finally able to finish when she realizes that God was there even when she didn’t see Him, and its theme mirrors Samantha’s new understanding.
I’m usually a person who prefers a book to a movie, and I enjoyed Unconditional, the novel. Because it tells such an inspirational story of a man and his ministry, I would be inclined to make this a movie I’ll watch. Firebird is unquestionably a very attractive children’s book to accompany the set, with beautiful illustrations by former Disney artists.
I received a free copy of these books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Christian Fiction Copyright September 2012 ISBN 978-1-4336-7946-9
I had been hearing buzz about the film for several months, so my curiosity was already piqued when I was asked if I had interest in reviewing the book. I have read several other books by Eva Marie Everson and knew I loved her style. I was not disappointed. Within the first paragraph, I was already drawn into the story and could not wait to find out what would happen next. I quickly learned to care about each of these characters and read the entire book that day.
The power of making the best use of your time and knowing God is with you each step of the way still awes me. I was also reminded of the quote I have seen in a variety of places: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain." (I have seen the quote attributed to several people). I don't want to give away anything in the book, but it is one of those that has numerous characters who strike a chord within me. It also one of the few I will give a top rating to simply because...several days later, I am still thinking about these people and comparing what changes I should make in my own life to live the life God wants me to live and make the best of the circumstances I am in.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
Samantha Crawford (Sam), creator of children's stories, has a gifted talent for art and the written word. When her husband dies tragically one night her world becomes compromised but she soon discovers that her greatest challenge lies ahead.
Joe Bradford appeared in recognizable form, a face and voice from the distant past that Sam was as drawn to then as she is now. Sam wondered where Joe's life has taken him since she had last seen him. She is about to find out.
In the cruelty of loss, memories can remain in the heart ready to burst forth with keen accuracy.
Unconditional is unforgettable! I absolutely loved and cherished this engaging read!! You will smile, cry and wrestle with raw emotions with a storyline that has honesty and faith woven throughout with absolutely no dull parts whatsoever. I sat on my comfy chair to read this book and before I knew it I was finished. The book cover first drew me in, I feel the cover accurately portrays how the characters might look themselves, and from the first chapter I was hooked literally, but that is the way it is with all of the author's books that I have read, I became so involved into the storyline the pages flew. Excellently creative character development (feels like they are friends), smooth flowing crisp and captivating plot and believably realistic scenery make this book stand out among others. Very well written and impossible to put down! Make this book your next read! I will highly recommend this book to others. Thanks to B&H Publishing Group and Netgalley for the ARC for my review.