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Saturday, February 10, 2007

My review of The Longing Season by Christine Schaub...

From the Publisher:

In the 1740s, British culture allows few options for the son of a merchant ship captain. And in a time of war, a man with John Newton’s experience must serve the king. But Newton, a man who quotes Virgil and curses God with equal fervor, is interested in serving only himself.

Mary Catlett simply cannot believe her childhood friend sailed away on a British warship and vanished in Africa. In desperation, she takes a step that will change her life and call her lost love home. But will he arrive in time?

Newton’s odyssey takes him from the West Africa gold coast to the banks of Newfoundland to the heart of the Atlantic before he finds what he’s spent his entire life longing for: deliverance. In an account that challenges popular myth, Schaub continues the Music of the Heart series with one of the greatest redemption stories of all time...the story of Amazing Grace.

My review:

Bottom line...I enjoyed this book. However, after getting to know Mary Catlett so well and then not seeing their relationship develop (because the book was essentially over by then) was a bit of a bummer. I understand the focus of the book was on "longing," but come on, us romance lovers want to see what happens when they finally get the person they've been longing for!

On the other hand, I was impressed with how well the author showed John Newton's life while he was still living as an infidel. Sometimes the content was PG rated (but I liked that point because it gave me--the reader--a better sense of the character's view of the world) so I wouldn't want a bit of that content changed. John Newton was truly wretched and I think the author was very effective in communicating that point. The scene where he was in the midst of that horrible storm and he started to remember what people told him about God...and how he thought he was going to die, was very effective.

But then he FINALLY sees Mary after all that time, and that's it! I wanted to scream "wahhhh" over that point. I really liked Mary and actually hoped she'd end up with the Viscount Alexander Todd because he was such a fabulous man who loved the Lord. It made me sad when the Viscount finally realized she would never love him until her affections toward the missing sailor John Newton resolved. I wonder if Mary would've married the Viscount if she'd known what John had been doing in the Ivory Coast prior to returning to England. I wish the story would have either left out Mary altogether, or showed at least one chapter of their reunion after he returned to England. That would've made it a five star story, but since that didn't happen, I'm ranking it lower. It was an excellent read otherwise.

The Longing Season was published by Bethany House and released in July 2006.

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