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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm giving away After the Leaves Fall, and my review of this awesome book!

After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart

To win a copy of this amazing novel simply read my review, then enter a comment at the end of this post telling me what I said in my review that made you want to read this book. Thanks, and best wishes.


About the Book:

Her childhood marked by rejection and loss, Julia Bakker longs for life to finally begin. Determined to escape her conservative Christian hometown, she chooses college for a radical reinvention. But following a momentous mistake, the self-defeated Julia returns to her loving grandmother's farm. Will she learn to hope in a God who makes all things new?

My review:

The following section in italics contains one of the most beautiful concepts I've read in a Christian novel.

It seemed like a strange thing to say, but with every repetition she drove a tiny seed of hope further into my heart. I almost didn't want it there--hope is not a promise, merely a wish, a yearning for something that may never materialize--but it sank down deep where I could not extract it and began, even in that moment, to put down fragile roots.

It was the hope that scared me most of all, and only when I had felt it tremble inside me did I begin to cry.


That section of the story spoke most deeply to my heart. It's what we all need when the world seems to be caving in on us. We need hope. We need someone to gift us with it so we will see things from a different perspective. We don't need judgment or condemnation. This fallen world dishes out plenty of that, and what the world doesn't dump on us we heap on ourselves. After the Leaves Fall is about hope.

There were so many beautiful and profound discoveries that Julia made about herself in the story, which is more like a coming-of-age journey, that I don't know where to begin. I don't want to spoil any of the precious treasures the reader will discover along with Julia. My heart broke for her and yet it also understood her. There is a little piece of Julia in all of us. Children need affirmation from a mother, and without it they spend their lives second-guessing themselves. This came out in so many of her internal thoughts and her impulsive decisions. Often as she contemplated her life I found myself doing the same.

After the Leaves Fall is so impressively introspective with it's gorgeous prose that words are inadequate to describe it. And on some deep level, every wounded child wants to do what their parent did, but do it right this time. No one wants to duplicate mistakes, but the deep need to be loved often drives our behavior. It's truly amazing how that works, but it's how God created us...to need love. Anyway, this is one of the most emotional and wonderful books I've ever read and it has impacted my heart deeply. I can't recommend it highly enough. If all authors were as gifted as this debut author, I would never get anything done.

After the Leaves Fall was published by Tyndale and released in October 2007.

24 comments:

Ron Miller said...

you mentioned "...by a gifted author", I don't have time to read anything else...

Debra said...

This book sounds like it's right up my alley. It's so true that we all need a dose of hope in this life. So many times we get criticized, judged, and condemned by Christians. Not all, but some. What encouraged me to want to read this book was of course the need for hope, and that you said it was an emotional book that impacted your life. I love to read books that hit the very core of my being. I want to laugh, cry, get angry etc. I want the whole gamut of emotions. And it sounds like this book has it along with a most-needed dose of hope.
Thanks Michelle!
Your forever friend,
Debra Ullrick

Kim said...

I REALLY, REALLY hope I win this drawing!!

Kim
berlysue.blogspot.com

Kim said...

Ok, I can't read directions. Let me try again. Your chosen highlighted passage in the review blew me away! I've been reading a lot about this book, and your review pretty much makes this a MUST READ! Please enter me in the drawing.

Kim
berlysue.blogspot.com

Nicole Baart said...

Thank you so much for your kind words and heartfelt encouragement, Michelle. It means the world to me. I hope you like the sequel, "Summer Snow," as much!

May you be blessed in all that you do.

Warmly,
Nicole

Anonymous said...

When I read this review, I realized how close to home it was for me. My need for love has impacted my decisions for my whole life, and sometimes not in the best way. The passage you quoted brought tears to my eyes, and I know I MUST read this book. Please enter me in the drawing!


Debra Brown
midniterose58@triad.rr.com

Julia said...

Well, I would love to read this book, because first of all, the main character has my name:D And also, up until recently I believed I wasn't pretty, and was constantly seeking for affirmation from my friends. I guess that because you said Julia was second-guessing herself made me want to read it because that's what I've been going through.
Please enter me.
itsmyemail (at) bigpond.com

Aparna said...

What did you say in your review that made me want to read this book?

Well, to begin with, the main character comes across as a subdued woman whose efforts to know herself, the world, to get out of her present circumstances and evolve and flourish, more often than not resemble the futility of clawing against a wall with your bare fingers.

I've spent 25 years knowing and living with that feeling, and mostly thought it's only me who sees the world upside down as most ppl around me seem to be pretty contended with their lives and world views.

Anyway, the clincher for me in the review were your lines: "...the deep need to be loved often drives our behavior. It's truly amazing how that works, but it's how God created us...to need love."

That's beautifully put, and once again, it struck home...

Lela Fox said...

please enter me in contest

bubbysgammaw@peoplepc.com

thanks

Anonymous said...

Your mention of a gifted debut author. I am always on a search for new authors.
Becky
gooch@fyi.net

ChristyJan said...

"Children need affirmation from a mother, and without it they spend their lives second-guessing themselves." I think I've spent my life looking for affirmation from my Mother, and this sentence made me wonder if I am giving enough affirmation to my own children. I'd love to read this book.

hawkes AT citlink.net

windycindy said...

Hello, Please enter me in your book drawing. The way you talk about "hope" inspires me to want to read the book. Also, a person has to love oneself in order to love anyone else. Thanks very much.....Cindi
jchoppes@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

you said we need hope... boy do l need hope!!! Percy

Cherie J said...

I love the part of your review where you talk about needing hope. It touched my heart. This book sounds heartwrenching. Would love to be in the drawing.

cherierjatyahoo.com

Lesha said...

Count me in :)

Renae said...

Children need affirmation from a mother, and without it they spend their lives second-guessing themselves. This is SO true! You've got to guide your children in the right direction all the while allowing them to learn from their mistakes. Thanks for the giveaway and count me in!

renae18[at]gmail[dot]com

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

Count me in Michelle!
blogged ya: http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2007/11/thursday-edition-of-contests-galore_15.html

Anonymous said...

Your review has so much encouragement that I would want to read this book. Your twist on 'hope' leads me to want to expand my desire in knowing revelation of the heart. Thank-you!

Puddintane! said...

your talk about hope when its bad... we all need this and i am just discoving the world of christian authors and what they can give me.. i would love to win this book.

Julie Lessman said...

Your comment "if all authors were as gifted as this debut author, I would never get anything done" entices me to want to read this novel. Not only for the emotional cleansing it apparently provides, but because I LOVE good literature, especially from the pen of a debut author!

Gina Conroy said...

Have you picked a winner yet?

Miriam said...

Actually, I have read the book, but want to give a copy to my teenage daughter who I also think would connect well with the character, and perhaps in her own formative years think about Julia and make choices accordingly.

Michelle said...

And the winner is...

Lela Fox!

cherryblossommj said...

i had read your review of this on goodreads and had added it to my to-read list on the spot. I would love to be entered to win!!!

http://cherryblossommj.blogspot.com

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