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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Review of Dogwood by Chris Fabry and BONUS giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy of Dogwood by Chris Fabry. It's a powerful story, and if you read my review and tell me what intrigues you about this book, I'll put your name in for the giveaway. I'll pick a winner on Wednesday. Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you if you win. And if all you say is "sounds great, enter me" that isn't enough to get you into the contest so think before you respond. :)

About the book:

In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and "do life" the best she can.

Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved--only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin's past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn't survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart.

The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.

My review:

What an amazing story! While there were several different characters and viewpoints, for the most part they were distinct enough where I could keep track of them. At any rate, this story was a page turner. I loved how the author dropped little clues on a trail which led to the culmination of the story. While not perfect or super-spiritual, the ending was still gratifying despite the tragic undertones. For the majority of the story, you aren't quite sure what the whole issue is with Karin, but begin to suspect a little bit more as the story moves along. It's so bittersweet, yet surprising. And beautiful.

This story left me wanting to mull over the the details even after I finished it. Kind of like I did with the movie "Summersby" starring Jodi Foster and Richard Gear. Yet Dogwood didn't leave me with a "bummer" feeling like some novels have. In fact, I grew more fond of Will as the story progressed, despite what had allegedly occurred before he went to prison. And kind of like in the movie "Dead Man Walking," I wanted to obsess over what could have happened differently to prevent the incident in the first place. My heart ached for him.

Then as the truth slowly came out, a tragic sense of loss hit me deep inside, but it mingled with rejoicing as things were revealed. There were some intense moments in the story when I thought for sure it was over for Will. The suspense was killing me as was his unrequited love and longing for Karin. The scenes that went back to that tragic year were particularly powerful. The emotion was totally gripping, and it was so precious to get to know Will's heart so much that he felt like a real person to me.

I can see this movie becoming a Hollywood feature film. In fact, it was so well done I felt like I was living in Dogwood as I read the story. Rarely does a novel strike such a deep chord in me like this one had. This story is not only well worth reading, but sharing with friends, too. It would make a fabulous book club selection because it was so thought-provoking and edgy. And I SO love edgy because I love anything that makes me think and feel things on a deeper level.

Dogwood was published by Tyndale and released in August 2008


Alessandra said...

This must really be a powerful book. Your review makes it sound very interesting: love, pain, mystery, and anger all in one. I think I would enjoy this book. Please enter me in the giveaway!


Theresa N. said...

You've written a wonderful review of this book. The references to Summersby and Dead Man Walk combined with the synopsis have left me wanted to read a book I would normaly pass over.
Theresa N

Just.Me said...

I love reading books where you not only bond with the characters, but can actually feel like you know them. You've unwittingly became part of the book without even knowing it! That speaks volumes about the power of words. I would love the opportunity to read this book.

Jeff said...

I am a fan of the author's radio program. I heard his recent program about dreams, and this book is one of his dreams coming true. I am interested in the setting and characters. If you think it could become a Hollywood feature film, it must be good. Please enter me in your contest. Thanks, Jeff (

Jewelz said...

I want to find out what happened that was so lifechanging!!
Your review is very compelling!
Please enter me :)
joyfuljewelz (at)

squiresj said...

Your comments about this book make it sound so intriguing. I know what it is to be married to a faithful man but feel so all alone while raising my children. They are now grown. I also know what it is to be angry with God. So I can relate to those things. I would be willing to write reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and The Celebrity Cafe about it and get it noticed. Also once I've read it, I will allow others to borrow it and read it.
Jane Squries -

luv2read said...

I want to read it because it is a pageturner. spowell01(at)bellsouth(dot)net

John said...

Mmmm, a book with believable characters, such that you feel as if you KNOW them when the cover is closed, a book that might cause my heart to ache over a tragic occcurance; and a book that is edgy enough to be made into a movie--that's my kind of book!


windycindy said...

Happy Monday! I like when you say that the tragic undertones are balanced with rejoicing. I can handle a book with that speaks of the bad times, but I need the positive aspects, also! The best part is that you said you felt like your were living in "Dogwood!" The number of eclectic characters interest me. Please enter me in your book drawing. I always appreciate it.....Thanks, Cindi

Pamela J said...

You've made so many comments that I just love in a good book. The deep undertones are some of what I like besides when they are deep like that, it DOES make me think about and mull over the story long after I finish reading. I love a book that gives so many emotions as I read through it. I thrive on clues dropped along the way, it keeps my mind thinking and trying to work through it all before the 'secrets' are let out. The fact that the end is gratifying helps me want to read it too. I don't like a book that leaves me totally sad. I'm also glad you asked for specifics on your review, I don't do my own blog site but am sad when the comments only say 'sounds good, enter me' or something like that. It is much more fun to read comments that are gleaned from the reviews or interviews.

I tried adding my email to your subscribe but it wouldn't go. I'm interested in getting to know when your book is going to be reviewed or you interviewed and where so I'll try some more.

I would have checked the send me follow up comments, but that box isn't visible. Now what do I do? Is there a way you can check a box like that for me on your end?

Please enter me for this book, Dogwood, by Chris Fabry. Thanks.

Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

a gratifing ending, a page turner, not to spritual.... all good things, a bitter sweet love story... ahhh sounds like a good fast enjoyable read with a box of tissues. Percy, you know how to reach me ;)

Tara said...

I love love LOVE this book... I just read it a couple weeks ago and I think it was one of the best books I've read in a while.

Chris Fabry said...

What a great review, Michelle. You really caught the spirit of the novel. I couldn't help checking in and seeing what others say about it. Keep up the good work!
Chris Fabry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your wonderful review and feelings about this novel. When I read a novel that resounds with me it becomes important and meaningful and I remember the characters and the entire story for a long time. With realistic characters and a great plot, plus exceptional writing no doubt this story will linger and become emotionally gratifying.

ruth said...

When a book grips me from the onset I know that it will be memorable and an incredible novel. This novel has all the necessary ingredients for that to happen. A unique story with characters that are unforgettable and a storyline that keeps me interested and focused. Your review gave me a glimpse which is a great start. Thanks for this lovely giveaway.

Anonymous said...

A novel that involvs me within the individuals lives and seems almost real. I can picture them and hope that their dreams come true. This story has emotions that would stir my heart and soul. I enjoy prfound stories with depth and hope. Thanks for the great review.

Smilingsal said...

I made a mistake! My husband's profile was up when I commented. However, the comment is mine.

Mmmm, a book with believable characters, such that you feel as if you KNOW them when the cover is closed, a book that might cause my heart to ache over a tragic occcurance; and a book that is edgy enough to be made into a movie--that's my kind of book!


Carole said...

First of all, I am drawn to this book by the cover and description alone. I really like "people" books with character depth and emotion.

From the description, I doubt there's any way this book could have a traditional "happy" ending for Will and Karin. But you said the ending was "gratifying despite the tragic undertones" and I like that. And you also used the terms "bittersweet, yet surprising, and beautiful."

I appreciate a book that makes me think and be glad that I read it. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy, Michelle.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Michelle Sutton said...

And the winner is...


How cool is that, Jeff, that you are a guy and so is the author. :) You had some stiff competition there.

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