Delivered With Love Paperback – May 23, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
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About the Author
Sherry Kyle is a graduate of Biola University with a degree in Communications. She is a freelance writer and a small group leader for her church. Her book for tween girls titled The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style released from Legacy Press in 2009. Her debut fiction novel, Delivered with Love was released by Abingdon Press in 2011. Sherry maintains an active membership in the Christian Writers Fellowship International, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Adoption Writers. She is also a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.Sherry has four children, three homegrown and one by adoption, between the ages of 9 and 15. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys jazz concerts with her husband, Douglas, watching movies, and spending time with her family in central California. Visit her at www.sherrykyle.com.
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What I liked: The story is cute. I started out really liking the book and not wanting to put it down because the premise held some mystery. I connected with the heartache of the main character over losing her mother and having no where to go next. It's contemporary and addresses relevant issues for today.
What I didn't like: The story has too many coincidences to be believable. At the beginning, main character, Claire has just lost her mother and she's trying to figure out what to do with her life. She's spent the last year or two wrapped up in caregiving when others her age might have been in college. She discovers an old love letter in the glove box of her mom's Volkswagen and begins to obsess about it. For some reason, she just has to know who it came from.
Fast forward do the one-year anniversary of her mom's death and Claire loses her job because she's too dreamy, apparently because of the letter. Don't worry, I'm not giving away any spoilers. This is all in the first couple of chapters.
Claire's tired of living with her sister and her alcoholic brother-in-law, so she decides to leave L.A. and venture north to Capitola, California in search of the writer of this love letter from 35 years ago. On the way, she has one coincidental encounter after another. Now, she chalks it all up to God's providence, but few readers are going to find it believable. So many people from her past, just happen to have connections with people in the very same place she's headed.
I thought the dialogue was stiff in places and just too mundane to really engage me. I didn't feel like I connected with any of the characters, except maybe the grandmother, Geraldine. She was spunky for her age. And I really liked Claire at first, until she made a string of immature decisions. Seemed like she'd bring that letter out in some of the most awkward situations to try to get answers. The way the gospel is presented in the book isn't as compelling as it ought to be. Claire, abruptly realized her need to "ask Jesus into her heart", and it was a little cliche in how it happened.
I also had a difficult time with how trusting Claire was. Along the way, she encountered several very kind people, but she seemed to develop instant attachments with strangers. She accepted the offer to stay in an RV with a couple she accidentally rear-ended with her VW. And then she went home with a tow truck man when her car couldn't be fixed late at night. The fact that he had a wife, didn't lessen my concern over her trust. Claire bonded too quickly with a single male neighbor and there was just too much flirty innuendo for my taste.He was a nice Christian guy, but I didn't need some of Claire's comments that bordered on lust. And then, she referred to one young woman as a "good friend" when she'd only met her once for a few hours at a campground.
Wow! It's so tough being so negative, but like I said, I really wanted to love this author's debut novel. It's so rare that I have this many objections to a book. Sometimes being objective is just painful.
Claire James is fired from her job after finding a mysterious letter in her mom's car, written to her mom from an unknown lover many years ago. Claire's mom lost her battle with cancer a year before, and Claire has been living with her sister and her drunk of a brother-in-law. Since she can no longer pay rent, the brother-in-law kicks her out of the house. This gives Claire a perfect opportunity to pursue finding the unknown author of the letter with the address of Capitola. Her journey takes her into the path of a Christian older couple living out their retirement in a RV traveling. A Christian family at a camping site with a daughter who ends up being a best friend. A truck driver and his wife who were Christians and a Christian police, and finally the mysterious writer of the letter. During that time, she finds a job, strangle taking care of Michael's spunky mother that lived in the apartment building her mom lived it back home. Plus living with Michael's mother in the house that just happens to be the address the letter came from. She becomes like a daughter to the truck driver and his wife, and falls for the police officer.
And she meets who she thinks is the letter writer, but he denies it. Whew! She sure has a lot going on!
Will Claire finally find out for sure who the letter writer was? Will she stay in Capitola, even though her sister wants her to move back home? Does she continue to get along with the trucker family Michael's mom? And what about the Police officer Blake, will he charm his way into her life? I know I don't like reading reviews that give away enough of the plot to give the good stuff away, so I won't do that. I though this book was a very enjoyable light read. And as for it being to coincidental as I've read in several reviews, well God can and will direct our paths to the exact people we need in our lives at a pacific moment. Our God is a great God, He can do anything, and though it doesn't seem natural to us for things happening like what happened to Claire, it does happen, and God can make it happen. I feel it shows God's divine power, and shows just what He can do in the lives of people.
As for the characters, I loved the attitude of the camper couple, and families, the way they took Claire in to help her, even though they didn't know her. Michael's mom was spunky independent and adorable, and though Michael started out being kind of a jerk, he did finally come through and acted like a decent person. And then Blake, he was just a sweetheart, and was always there to help anyone, and especially Claire. And of course Michael's mom adored him too! I recommend this book to anyone who just like a fun, light enjoyable read.
Thank you to Abingdon Press for the generous copy of this book. I was in no obligation to write a positive review. The opinion in this review are mine only.
While Delivered With Love is Sherry Kyle's first novel, her tween-age non-fiction title, The Christian Girl's Guide to Style is one of my daughter's favorite books and the librarian at our Christian school recently mentioned that it has been such a highly requested book that she's ordering additional copies. With such amazing writing talent and versatility, I look forward to seeing more of Sherry Kyle's books on our shelves in years to come.
Top international reviews
I do agree with Mum of 3 Rachel though .. I would prefer to have the choice to read Christian influenced books but glad I read this one .. nice easy read.
A light hearted story of a young woman trying to trace a lover of her deceased mother. Not really a true or very full picture of grief and mourning, but a passable one.
For free this is a good read, and probably wouldn't have bought it or read it otherwise.