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Ascension of Larks Paperback – June 20, 2017
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'This is a heartfelt, tender story with a strong, intelligent and independent heroine at its center.' (RT Book Reviews, 4 stars)
“Linden’s debut novel is a bittersweet tale of enduring friendship, family ties, and the complexities of love that will engage readers of thoughtful women’s fiction.” (Library Journal, STARRED Review, Debut of the Month)
“. . .there is a beautiful redemptive strand running through the story.” (CBA Market)
“Winsome kids and family friends add depth and warmth to the well-developed cast of characters. Readers will eagerly await future offerings from this promising new author.” (Publishers Weekly, STARRED review)
About the Author
Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University. Rachel lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and two children. She enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. Visit her website at RachelLinden.com and Facebook: AuthorRachelLinden
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I read through this book fast. It is a fascinating read. The suspense of what the outcome would be has kept me reading. THere is little mention of God and none of Christ. This book cannot really be described as Christian fiction as it does not point readers to Jesus. I have not seen that at any point in my reading. But this is a wholesome novel. Through its characters and the lessons of its leading characters, it lifts up family values. Through its plots and subplots, ASCENSION OF LARKS lifts up the values of self-sacrifice, commitment, unselfishness, and courage. All of us need to learn these lessons or our lives, relationships, and relationships will fall apart. I found the end of this novel more of a teaser than a happy ending. The author kept me in suspense almost to the end. We need more novels like this.
I recommend this book for anyone. It is for anyone who enjoys reading novels but who are offended by the trashy and trie novels that are so often sold. But it is not a Christian novel in the strict sense as there is no mention of Christ and little of God. And I think that any book that advertises as a CHristian book should point its readers to Jesus.
I have received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLookBloggers.com, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review of this book.
Although a plot summary is never my purpose in a review, I believe it is important in this case to focus the recurring theme of the conflict between driving ambition (or career focus) and the requirements of love, loyalty and caring which are involved here. Although there was powerful emotional attraction between Marco and Maggie, it is clear that their life-paths would never have been compatible. Marco’s field was architecture, while Maggie is a rising star as a feature photographic journalist. Maggie’s best friend and college roommate Lena, on the other hand, was more than willing to give up a potential career as a concert pianist to become Marco’s wife and the mother of his three children. Despite initial feelings of jealousy and rejection that Marco chose the “domesticity” of a relationship with Lena over the fireworks of a partnership with her, after her own mother’s death Maggie was eventually drawn into the heart of the family created by Marco and Lena. It is this family relationship that leads to the crisis of love and loyalty versus career for Maggie that follows Marco's death and Lena's subsequent incapacity.
Besides the delightful interweaving of the spiritual insight represented by the quote from Julian of Norwich, there are other intriguing sidelines. For instance, we learn that a major dynamic in Magdalena’s worldview is the fact that much of her drive to succeed and prove herself is rooted in the rejection by “traditionalist” Catholic priests of her own status as the child of an unwed mother. Indeed, one such misguided and cruel clergyman had the utter gall to erroneously inform the child Maggie that her name was from Mary Magdalene, a “harlot”. Later, Father Griffin, the Episcopal priest who is very supportive and caring for Lena after Marco’s death, points out that Mary Magdalene was indeed one of the most important women in the Gospel. Far from being a woman of ill repute, she was a close disciple of Jesus, and extremely important in the early church. However, these spiritual aspects, while they enrich the story, do not overwhelm the reader with moralistic assertions.
Linden’s writing is vividly descriptive, smooth-flowing, and very engaging. The characterizations are completely authentic and extremely appealing; indeed, Lena’s children Jonah, Luca and Gabby are fully developed personalities. In my experience it is rare that an “adult” novel gives such excellent attention to the younger characters. This book is indeed one I would not hesitate to recommend to discerning readers of any age.