Book Review: Cathy Wilson’s Presumptions

Flossy Achana is very strong-willed. She is married to Kingsley Billah who is a deacon of the church. A few weeks after celebrating their seventh marriage anniversary, Flossy bumps into her former boyfriend, Mike Kabore. Both were shocked but ended up having a little chit-chat, where apologies were rendered for the unfortunate break-up and current contacts, exchanged for follow-up. The two begin to meet till their ‘encounters’ sparked curiosity and gossip among people especially Flossy’s boss, Mr. Blankson.

After the epic reunion, a spiral of drama also begins to emanate from the homes of all the married couples not excluding that of Reverend Yendi and his wife, Lady Jessie’s.

As a reader who has been married for a couple of years now, I did not comprehend how and why Mike and Flossy would go through all of this act of pretense just to spite the ‘busybodies.’ Anyway, that formed the main plot of the story and even when both couples were suffering from this decision they had taken, Flossy was unwilling to give up on the charade. That aspect of the story really baffled me.

Cathy Wilson’s Presumptions raised several pertinent issues that we (modern Christians) may have swept under the carpet, for instance, the question of what constitutes a lottery. Rev. Yendi’s wife won a car by participating in a ‘game of chance.’ To her, coming out as the ultimate winner was an answer to her prayer but her husband would not take any of that even though the ‘jalopy’ he drove needed to be replaced. This scenario could serve as a good topic for discussion in a bible study or book club.

Another issue for further discussion is when to compromise as a couple. I had the sense that the men in the book took their roles as ‘the heads’ a little too seriously. Even in a mere relationship, Mike had wanted Flossy to read Sociology or English instead of Advertising and her refusal served as one of the basis for their breakup. Also, when Kingsley refused to go bring his wife after he had learnt the truth that she was truly innocent. Even when he was suffering, he still refused to bend.

Like the same sentiments I shared after reading Karen Kingsbury’s The Chance, how do we (Christians) use the scriptures after we read and meditate on them? The characters in Presumptions towed the same line of quoting scripture to suit their current situation, prove points and subtly ‘insult’ each other. It almost felt like I was witnessing a Bible sword drill.

I did somehow fall in love with General Achana (Flossy’s dad) and Eunice (Flossy’s sister). They added a little humour to the tension that brewed from the other characters.  

The author could have, however, added footnotes explaining local terms like ‘TZ’ ‘Alefu’ ‘Agbada’ ‘Anago’ to the non-Ghanaian reader.

From sentences like:

‘the duo bumped into each other at a spot called ‘DESTINY.’ Yes, that is the name of the spot…’

‘Two gentlemen in a beautiful garden.’

‘This is General Achana’s residence.’

It was very obvious the story was written from the perspective of a narrator. I haven’t seen this style of writing in a while.

Like most Christian novels, the ending of the story was quite expected. In all, the 145-page romantic novel, which was further broken into 16 chapters, was very simple to read. I am also glad to announce that it was authored by a Ghanaian, making the setting and the issues raised very relatable. To reiterate, it could serve as a good material for any book discussion.

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Book Review: Karen Kingsbury’s ‘The Chance’

I acquired Karen Kingsbury’s book, The Chance, because I really needed to read a Christian novel from another author that I am not familiar with. Well, The Chance was a good diversion from Francine Rivers (my current favourite) and I hope to read more of her to make a better judgement of her writings.

The Chance describes Nolan Cook and Ellie Tucker who were childhood friends but broke apart when they were 15 years old. This was because of a ‘scandal’ involving Ellie’s mother who had had an extra marital affair with a music star resulting in a pregnancy. Ellie’s dad, in anger moved with her to another State (San Diego) and in the process, making her break communication with her childhood friend/sweetheart and her pregnant mother. Before Ellie and her dad moved, she and Nolan wrote letters to each other, buried the letters and made the promise of returning in 11 years to read the letters they had written. A lot happened within the 11 years with Nolan following his ultimate dream of being a basketball star and Ellie becoming a single mum and a hair stylist (a little different from her childhood ambitions). To find out what happened to their childhood promise, I think you need to get a copy of this book 🤣🤣

The theme of this book centered strongly on forgiveness and reconciliation. Alan Tucker (Ellie’s dad) believed he was more ‘Christian’ than any one else, thus, judging the people he loved harshly and in his actions, he tore his family into shreds. Before he realised what he had done, a lot of harm had been caused to the people he cherished the most. How are you using God’s word? Are you correcting people with it or pushing them further into sin?

Like Francine Rivers’ books, the characters did pray simple prayers, emphasizing on the point of prayer being a regular communication with God. Prayer doesn’t have to always be at a designated time and space but an act of speaking regularly to God concerning all issues throughout one’s day.

The 315-page novel was quite easy to read. The story line was somehow enthralling with the characters and their actions being described fairly vividly. There were portions in the book that moved me to tears (Nolan was quite an emotional character). Other portions made me feel I was watching a soap opera because it kept dragging and literally had me rolling my eyes (Especially, with Ellie. One of such instance was when she took to her heels because Nolan had finally found her after 11 years. Who does that?). I also think this book will make a good movie for teenagers.

I don’t know whether I fell so much in love with any of the characters like the way I loved (and still love) Roman Velasco in Francine River’s The Masterpiece but it was a pretty good book. I will wait till I read another Karen’s Kingsbury before I compare her books to Francine Rivers.

I will rate this book 3.5 out of 5 and will recommend it to any lover of both Christian and non Christian novels.

NB: I apologise for my long absence from blogging. I hope and pray to be more regular now. I would also love to use this opportunity to say thank you to all new followers of the blog. Even in my long absence, I kept receiving notifications of new followers and likes for existing posts on the blog.

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Book Review: Francine Rivers’ ‘The Masterpiece’

The Masterpiece was the huge book I got for myself last Christmas. With a more busy schedule currently, I wondered when and how I was going to read the almost 500-page Christian romance novel but surprisingly, I took two days to read the entire book. Uh-huh! That shows how gripping the story line was.

As usual, Francine Rivers did not disappoint with this novel. The two main characters – Roman Velasco (aka the Bird) was the rich, handsome, famous and accomplished (in the eyes of everyone) artist and Grace Moore – the rather simple, mother of one and a divorcee, who came to seek employment as Velasco’s assistant. Their story gently develops into a simmering romance which none of them was willing to admit to until later in the story. Hell broke loose when Velasco finally proposed in the manner that he was familiar with but sending Grace packing out of his life in the process. Did she come back? If yes, how did it happen? That is why you need to read this book for yourself. 😂

After reading several of Francine Rivers’ books – And the Shofar Blew, The Atonement Child and Scarlet Thread, I’ll definitely vote Velasco as my favourite character. He was affected by experiences from his childhood and that defined who he became as an adult. Even in his ‘raw state,’ I could sense some innocence in his actions. I actually found him very masculine and charming and wouldn’t mind meeting him if he was real. You can say I fell in love with the character. 🙈🙈🙈😏😏😏

Anyway, Francine Rivers always has strong underlying themes in her stories and even though they are entertaining and could be full of suspense, they teach loads of lessons. For instance, the two main characters both had disturbing pasts but were influenced differently by them. This raises the issue of the amount of power we give to past events/experiences and its influences. How do you know whether you are giving the ghosts and shadows from your pasts too much space in your life? This book provides the reader with some insight into this subject.

There are several other lessons that can be taken out of the book including dealing with disappointments, learning to walk away from the people you love for God/the Holy Spirit to work on them, childhood trauma, among others.

The Masterpiece is a beautiful and well-researched story. I like how the past lives of the two main characters were intricately interwoven into the main plot. The reader gets the opportunity to appreciate the life of those in the creative arts, particularly, graffiti artists. The ending, like many Christian novels and the typical Francine Rivers’ style, was very much expected and a little predictable but that did not take away the niceness out of the story. I like it but not as much as I enjoyed And the Shofar Blew.

I will rate it 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it over and over again to anyone looking to read a book full of lessons or just for leisure.

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Book Review: And the Shofar Blew

Francine Rivers, again, did an amazing job of telling the stories of several characters which made it so hard to put the book down without wondering how it was going to end. And the Shofar Blew was full of suspense and dealt with several topics including the challenges of managing a church, being a pastor’s wife and its difficulties, being a pastor’s kid and its associated challenges, ageing, death, divorce, alcoholism, among others. 

Even though the story had several characters weaving together the plot, And the Shofar Blew centered more on a young pastor, Paul Hudson, and his wife, Eunice and child. The excitement in the story began when Paul Hudson accepted the call to manage an old church that had its traditions and an ageing congregation. Pastor Hudson did bring some life into the church but they were mainly influences of his childhood and the relationship he had had with his father. Throughout the over 450-page book, the story gradually unfolds and the young pastor becomes over-ambitious and crude in his dealings and, the consequence could not have been devastating enough.

After I put the book down, my mind has been on a journey of wondering what goes on behind the scenes in our churches.  My thoughts have been on pastors and teachers who probably may have heeded to God’s call but due to increase in the numbers of their congregation, their church’s financial obligations and popularity may be twisting His words to suit the people. How many men of God are preaching God’s unadulterated word that has the ability to cut hearts and save souls? 

This may not be a challenge for pastors alone but for those of us who are Christian blogging or singing or ministering in all forms. Since you saw an increase in the number of followers, have you been preaching God’s word or are massaging the truth in order to gain more followers? Do you present the message as it is or you are afraid of stepping on toes and losing your followers?

I have really been spending my week praying for pastors and everyone who has the responsibility of shepherding. It is my prayer that we keep spending time with God to know what He has given us to tell His people. There may be financial obligations but the sheep need to know God’s word. Let’s not massage God’s word for popularity sake.

The truth is Jesus Christ came to die for our sins and He is the way, the truth and the light. No one goes through the Father, except through Him. – John 14:6.

What message are you presenting to your followers?

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Book Review: The Scarlet Thread

Set apart in different centuries, Francine Rivers tells a story of two women who were related but had never met, yet, shared a similar experience. Both women, during certain periods of their marriages, had difficulties accepting the dreams/directions of their husbands. The author must be commended for doing an awesome job of weaving the two different stories in an engaging way, leaving the reader with no choice than to keep at the almost 500-page novel.

Immediately I picked the book, I could sense how the story was going to turn out. I somehow knew Sierra’s relationship with her husband wasn’t the best. What husband accepts a new role in another organisation, in a different State without discussing it thoroughly with the wife and children? Just imagine yourself waking up to the news of your husband or close relative selling your house, in the neighbourhood you’ve lived in all your life and resettling the entire family to another side of the planet because of his new job. No prepping or orientation was conducted but that same person requires you to jump with excitement to the unexpected news with the excuse that he’s mentioned this subject once. (Really? Alex. Really?Unamused Face on Samsung Experience 9.5 )Right then, I could smell a self-centred husband considering his needs, dreams, and ambitions as paramount to everyone’s. Whatever happened to proper communication in a marriage? I guess these weren’t in Alex’s thoughts since he saw Sierra as a mere housewife who had no ambition. Person Shrugging on Google Android 9.0

But Sierra gradually became a strong force later in the story and I rooted for her when she decided to pick her life up, reject monies from her husband and welcomed her independence. I loved how she transformed from the lady who always blurted out her opinion on issues to someone who paused, thought through her words and the likely implications they may have before she uttered them. To me, the husband deserved more than what was meted out to him by Sierra, in the closing pages. How the story ended was somehow expected, maybe something more tragic or dramatic would have made the book more thrilling and different but in all, it was a good book.

I felt there were some pertinent lessons in there for every Christian, particularly, for those who are married and those seeking to get married. It makes you realise the importance of the God-factor in every marriage and lays emphasis on the role of communication in every relationship. Have you or your family taken a drastic decision which has had a seemingly terrible toll on your life? Then you need to read Francine Rivers’ Scarlet Thread. It will help lessen the burden and make the change bearable.

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If you read my post last week, you’d notice I mentioned The Scarlet Thread was my first Christian novel, therefore, if you’ve read any books in this genre or you know of other great authors I should look out for, please drop the titles in the comment box. Thanks!  Grinning Face With Big Eyes on Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update

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