Hello Readers! Life didn’t line up for me to post yesterday, so today I’m sharing a very short review of a novelette I read last week! This touching little book is by independent author and blogger Laura Danner. I got to share the book cover last fall, and I have been looking forward to reading Leaning on the Everlasting Arms ever since. The combination of historical fiction and incorporating a hymn is one of my favorites; I’m so glad I got to read this!
About the Book
Author: Laura Danner
Genre: Historical Fiction – 1800s?
Publication Date: October 2019
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Follow along as Meg Sonnenfeld is orphaned, come with her as she goes to live with a large family a few hours away, learn why Lissie, one of the girls she goes to live with, is so bitter, and see what happens when cholera strikes—again. Will Meg’s sister die? Why has all this happened? Will Meg learn to “Lean On the Everlasting Arms”?
Where I Got My Copy: Amazon/Kindle
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
For a young, first-time, self-published author, this book is very good! By broader standards however, it’s only okay. It isn’t going to find a place among my favorites, but it is engaging and interesting enough. I connected with the protagonist, Meg, quickly. It’s easy to sympathize with her dual drives to responsibility and sorrow. I wish we got to see more struggle in her, but what we do see it good. There are a large host of other characters as well, most of whom have at least one identifying characteristic. Because of the short length of the book we really don’t learn much about many of them.
This story hinges on tragedy. It is surprising, then, that there is not much grief in the book. Bitterness, yes, and some pain, but not much thorough grieving. You can imagine it between the lines if you try, but I would have liked more of an admission from the characters about what they feel. Although Meg (and her fellow characters) struggle emotionally from time to time, there is always a quick answer. We don’t sit in the tension of pain and hope, longing for the answer…it’s always just given fairly quickly. (Spoiler alert for the next paragraph – if you don’t want to know a major part of what happens in the end, skip the next paragraph!)
This is especially true with the conclusion. By the time I got there, it kind of felt like we were rushing from one plot point to the next. There was character growth, but it wasn’t earned. I love the idea of the story, but I wish it had been fleshed out more thoroughly. Still, it is a novelette, which doesn’t give much time for explanation.
Recommended for avid young adult historical fiction readers, particularly those who want to see strong elements of faith and Christianity. I hope I haven’t sounded too harsh; this is a good story, it just has room to be so much better! I’m giving it three stars.
I hope you have a good weekend, Readers! May it be filled with sunshine and peace.
Until the next chapter,