Mona VanderMolen faces permanent disability after her terrifying accident on the beach. And she struggles to make sense of her feelings for carpenter Adam Dean. The last thing she needs is for niece Hallie to reappear---with her mother in tow! Can Mona resolve her relationships, face the future, and help her family---simultaneously? 288 pages, softcover from Kregel.
Morningsong by Shelly Beach is the powerful follow-up to Hallie's Heart. You don't need to have read the previous book to love this one, but you will probably want to by the time you finish. Mona VanderMolen has been through a rough couple of years: two years ago her niece Stacie drowned in Lake Michigan and three months she herself was beaten by the waves onto rocks until she needed brain surgery and spent time in a coma. Recovery has been a difficult process that manifests in her scarred scalp peeking through her short spiky hair and her antagonism toward Miss Emily the cat. Miss Emily also walks off-kilter and her eyes don't seem to work right either. Throw into the mix an alcoholic sister, rebellious niece Hallie, and determined suitor, Adam. She tries to juggle everyone else's problems and ignore her own, but soon discovers that she can't manage any of it without God. I love how Beach gives every character an extra pinch of personality, even the police officer acts in unexpected ways without Beach telling us exactly why. Mona sums it up best when in her joy she says that her sister is perfect, Hallie is perfect, everyone is perfect and completely messed up at the same time. That's just how God sees us, and Beach makes his shine in this poignant novel.
The character of Mona is believable. At times, when she clung to her stubborn solitary views, I sighed in frustration; how I wish I could sit her down for a good talking-to! On the other hand, the character of Mona's sister, Ellen, is quite unbelievable. After a life-time of heavy drinking, to a point that she ends up in a coma, and all she needs is two weeks in a rehab center? When she returns home, she is too cleaned-up, too perfect, and even though there's a small relapse, it's obscure. The male characters are all flat. Adam, Harold, and even Joe Spencer, the police officer are all too-good-to-be-true characters.So I have a mixed review of this novel. This is the sequel to Christy Award-winning Hallie's Heart, and I'm sure the fans of that first novel will want to read this one. Read it and decide for yourself.
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Review 3 for Morningsong
Date:July 18, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this story! Mona, recovering from a serious brain injury is afraid of the routine MRI might say, so she avoids the doctor, figuring that will take care the problem and I related to that so well! She has people in her life that love and care about her, yet she seems to push them away so she can like a two year old almost do it herself. We can all relate to this as she tells others like her sister who is hospitalized for alcohol poisoning and her niece who survived a traumatic drowning that took her sister.If you want a read that will get you thinking about life and how to deal with your relatives who have issues, you will relate to this book! Check it out!I felt like it was something that we all can relate to, when we face hard things in life, sometimes we would rather push them away than deal with them or face them. It can be painful. It was a great book living in fictional story of how to deal with them, rather than run away.