Newly married, Marcus Sheffield is searching for his dream job as a mega-church pastor. But when a small-town church offers him a position, he and his wife make a risky compromise---and Amelia falls into a dark emotional place while Marcus discovers crushing news. Can their brand-new marriage withstand the weight of generations-old baggage? 320 pages, softcover from Cook.
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The ways in which we set ourselves up to be disappointed are endless. Sometimes we wade through a difficult patch and work ourselves into a fevered pitch to make things turn out better. Sometimes we hang our hats on our predetermined ideas of what comes next, certain that we know best. In the end, everything we encounter and go through is part of the plan God has for us, and as Christians our lives on earth are meant to give us opportunity to know him better, to grow closer to him as we prepare for an eternity together.
In this story, Amelia and Marcus are trying to come to terms with their distinctive callings, but neither is sure if they are meant to be successful together. They are married, but as things change and progress, they have many obstacles to overcome, physically, mentally, and spiritually. In many ways, they encounter many of the same things that any married couple does – whose life path is ordained by God, and which is not? Which career path should take precedence, his or hers? And how exactly do you figure that out and stay married?
I enjoyed the story, because I definitely understood the character’s perspectives. Marriage, ministry, the arts, and God’s will all converge in this story in a way that is relatable no matter where you are in your life journey. Understanding how it is that God makes Romans 8:28 a reality, even when nothing seems to be moving in the right direction is something that every believer can aspire to. This story gives a glimpse of what it looks like to try to figure that out in the midst of a life.
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
Amelia and Marcus have been married six months, living in L.A., working hard at two or three jobs to make ends meet, and waiting to realize their dreams - Marcus of becoming a pastor, and Amelia of becoming a professional pianist. When Amelia is offered her first job being paid to play piano for a theater group and Marcus is soon after offered a position as senior pastor of a church in Nebraska, their dreams collide. A decision to take three months to try out their new positions while temporarily living separately sparks a downward spiral in Amelia that she's unsure she'll recover from. Both Marcus and Amelia must face darkness from their past to wade through the present and discover if their marriage, and their faith, will survive.
Composing Amelia is the first book that I have ever read by Alison Strobel, and I was floored by her mastery of the English language, her ability to create complex and interesting characters, and her courage in tackling difficult issues, such as childhood neglect and mental illness. What I was most amazed about is that this novel deals with dark issues, descending into Amelia's heart and soul where we are greeted by Amelia's feelings of despair and hopelessness, and yet it still moves along at a good pace, such that I was entertained while left deep in thought. I did get impatient at one point in the second half, waiting for the moment when things would start turning around, but this is because I had grown to care about the characters and was anxious to see how the story would unfold.
Readers will be left enlightened about mental illness, while being stirred by the hope that comes by God's grace. I strongly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
An egalley of this novel was provided courtesy of the publisher via netgalley for the purposes of this unbiased review.
Alison Strobel keeps getting better and better. Composing Amelia is a novel I consider to be a lasting work of fiction. Within its pages, Strobel plumbs the depths of emotion in a subject fraught with prejudice and misinformation within the church. With characters your heart will embrace, it is a story of pride and depression without being depressive. From the first page until the last, I was caught up in Marcus and Amelia's world, unwilling to stop reading. A beautiful love story, you'll see God's grace through unconditional love. Alison Strobel is quickly proving she has what it takes to be a bestselling author, book after book. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. It is a 5-star must read. Bravo, Alison!
What a phenomenal story! I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe this novel. Strobel touches on so many aspects of real life.Composing Amelia gives readers a glimpse into varying emotional landscapes. It shows effective and ineffective communication, uncovers scars from dysfunctional families, exposes discord due to different marriage goals, shows how guilt and suppressed pain often leads to out-of-control depression, outlines couples searching for a balance between their needs and their dreams, exposes the agony of secrets, and explores the definition of genuine faith. Strobel is a master at exploring the inner workings of the heart. I love the way she writes her characters.