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The Ambition: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 289 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
I work at a book store and have watch Lee Strobel’s non-fiction books fly off the shelf. I listened to his testimony on a CD called The Invitation. It made me want to read his debut novel, Ambition.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy every minute of this suspenseful, gritty, true to life tale. It’s a fascinating novel that naturally deals with evangelical issues of prayer, miracles, healing, relationships etc. It’s also filled with intrigue ambition, power, deception, mystery, faith, mistakes and more.
It’s has surprising plot twits and characters that grate on your nerves. Although this is written from a faith based point of view this author. His evangelical voice is never too strong. He shows us characters we can identify with and some we might meet at church. He shows that Christians are human with faults. We are all a work in progress. God says he died for us when we “yet” sinners.
I liked the fact that this author didn’t try to force the reader to accept a particular worldview; instead he asks the reader to consider all the facts and issues for themselves. It’s what he did in his book Case for Christ. I liked that.
I also liked the fact that even though there were people murdered and some gritty situations they were not described on a gory or gross manner. There were no steamy romance scenes. I like how he tastefully dealt with love and relationships in this book too.
Lee Strobel is a great and gifted story teller. His novel is relevant in today’s world and reveals a frightening but yet hopeful view of political ambitions and mega churches in general.
This is a real slice of life in the fast lane. I highly recommend this intricate, suspenseful thriller with its riveting conclusion that will make your heart race, leave you satisfied and wanting more. You’ll be thinking about this book long after you’ve read the past page. Its a worthwhile read. There is so much in this book it would make a great book club pick. The discussion questions in the back of the book would make for an interesting discussion.
I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that answers the question, “What does it mean when someone says; God has healed me from the inside out? How can I let God touch the hurts in my heart and be healed?”
Denise says, “You can only live with your heart shut down for so long. Eventually you will fight for your healing or you will die… Some even find God when their lives fall apart!....Sometimes a person has to die in order to really live. ..Hungry for something real?.. (tired of just going through the motions of life and feeling numb inside?) Want to feel alive? Seek whatever helps you rediscover that carefree childlike heart I know is in there somewhere – that is what you should be doing to Feel Alive!”
This is a walk Denise’s characters have gone on and/or just started down the path. I enjoyed this cast so much, they are fun, bold and each have been knocked around by life. Each has a different result and story to tell.
Scarlett Jo is a Pastor’s wife that’s fun and doesn’t care what people think about her. Denise writes, “Scarlett Jo hadn’t simply survived her life. She had learned how to live in spite of it- and not to worry too much about the perceptions of others.”
Scarlett Jo is fun loving, free spirited and an inspirational person! I loved her voice and her outlook on life she says, “Oh, child do you not know about couponing?...I’m feeding a pack of wolves at my house. If I didn’t know how to coupon, my children would have had to eat me by now. But if you ever want to learn how to do it, you just let me know. It is crazy girl! I can go to a store and leave and they’ve paid me money.” (I want to learn – teach me! Teach Me! Grin!)
The characters in this novel welcome you in as family. They’re situations will tug at your heart. What I love about Denise’s books are this, you’ll be having a good time reading then all of a sudden she cleverly interweaves spiritual truths that pierce your heart, make you stop and think. Denise will help you “See lies you believe.” You’ll laugh out loud and get teary eyed in parts of this story, a winning combination.
I really liked Scarlett Jo’s husband too he says, “I watch people. I take in people. And to be honest, I learn a great deal about them by what they don’t say.”
I highly recommend this novel and the non-fiction companion book called Reclaiming your Heart! It’s a win win combination. A book you’ll want to put on your summer reading list. Did I mention I just love the cover of this book too! It’s a keeper!
Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”
Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com
Admittedly, I am not a fan of the crime story genre but I am a fan of Strobel and have very much enjoyed his Case for... books. Like others, I was surprised--and skeptical-- to see that Strobel had stepped out of his non-fiction niche to venture into the realm of fiction. Nevertheless, I decided to give THE AMBITION a try.
Strobel relies upon his days as a Chicago Trib reporter to build his novel, and, in some cases, "crime stories", whether real or fictional, often involve a parade of characters and convoluted story lines.
As a relative "newbie" to the genre, I found the sheer number of characters to be a bit daunting for one novel--but again, maybe it's just me. I also found that most of the characters were rather two-dimensional making it difficult to identify with anyone. Even at the close of the novel, I still did not feel much sympathy with any of the characters: the bad guys were bad and the good guys less than heroic and more like warm milk.
Strobel does demonstrate a good amount of skill in crafting a plot of rising tension and climax, rising tension and climax, rising tension and climax, and incorporates enough surprises and twists to pique curiosity. The downside is that there are times when the plot seems contrived leaving the reader with the impression that Stobel wrote himself into a corner and could find no way out adding to this reader's feeling of dissatisfaction: SPOILER ALERT: The bad guy commits suicide to save himself from disgrace; suicide is hardly a creative or interesting way to rid the world of the bad guys. It just doesn't seem justice has been done.
By the end of the novel, there is a feeling of an impending sequel rather than closure because at least three story lines are never resolved. And that is ok--I would buy the sequel.
What I most enjoyed about the novel is Strobel's ear for dialog as he intersperses reporter's "transcripts" and "interviews" throughout the novel as well as in long passages of character interchange while limiting the dialog tags and author commentary ("He said with a tone of disgust...") Instead, he lets the characters speak fluidly without interruption. At such times in the novel, the action moves with a great deal of speed, grace and elegance. What Strobel lacks in narrative voice and character development, he more than makes up for in dialog that in itself tells much of the story.
Though I had a few short reading sessions before I finally got into the novel, I read the last half of the book in a few hours in one sitting. Had THE AMBITION been without any merit at all, I would have deleted it from my Kindle. But it is still there.
I don't think readers will be surprised that THE AMBITION is Christian fiction (a genre of which I am a fan)but they may be surprised to find that Strobel does not write in a heavy handed preachy evangelical tone given his personal history (atheist to Christian) or the success of his THE CASE for... books. Strobel's own personal journey was long and his conversion came about because of some very gentle people who helped guide Strobel. The same could be said for the novel. There is no heavy handedness to it but rather a gentle leading. Strobel was not coerced to change his world view. Neither does the novel coerce the reader to accept a particular worldview but asks the reader to consider and to weigh the issues.
If THE AMBITION is the first in a series with recurring characters, there can be little doubt that Strobel will continue the dialog of ideas in the next and subsequent novels. Believers will be entertained; seekers will be enlightened.
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