Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The Widow of Saunders Creek - by Tracey Bateman
Corrie Saunders is The Widow of Saunders Creek. Her husband Jarrod lost is his life protecting Iraqui villagers from a 12-year-old strapped with a bomb. To Corrie, and to almost everyone who knew him, he was a hero. His cousin, Eli, however, remembers him differently. Eli remembers Jarrod as competitive and selfish, and most importantly, as the man responsible for his leg injury that kept Eli himself from serving his country. Corrie has inherited property in Saunders Creek that has belonged to the Saunders family for generations. She moves there to see if she can find Jarrod's memory, but she seems to find his presence itself in the house. Eli warns her that humans cannot return to the earth, and that she needs to be careful of letting this spirit into her life. Will she believe Eli, who is becoming a dear friend and possibly more, or will it be too hard to finally let go of Jarrod?
This book was so much more than I expected. I hesitated to request it, because I don't typically like books that deal with demons and spirits. However, the balance in this book made it such a great story. Eli believes definitively that there should be no contact with the spirit world, that the Bible condemns witches and mediums. Even so, there are self-confessed witches within his own family who consider their gift to be from God. He manages to love them without condoning their beliefs. Corrie, understandably, is somewhere in the middle. She believes that Eli is honest and caring and that his beliefs seem sound. But she is still grieving intensely, and would like nothing more than proof that Jarrod is still with her. The demonstration of how easy it is to let demons prey on our fears and hopes is very realistic and timely. Yet the author clearly shows that Jesus is the only spiritual Power and being that we should trust, and that His Name is the Name above all.
In addition to the supernatural aspects of the book, the characters within story made it so much richer and fuller than just a ghost story. The book alternates points of view between Corrie and Eli, giving us both sides of the story, and allowing each of them to interact with minor characters that serve to enrich their personalities even further. Even though some characters appear for only short scenes, they demonstrate the town's love for Eli, who has always felt inferior to Jarrod, and they give pictures of loving relationships and committed marriages.
I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed all of the characters, and felt that there was such a good balance of love and struggles that the book felt neither sappy nor depressing. The relationship between Corrie and Eli develops so slowly and naturally, that even though you know from the early pages that that's where it's going, you're happy when it gets there. I would definitely look to read more works from this author.
The author's website is HERE.
You can read an excerpt from Chapter 1 HERE.
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I received a copy of this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.