12 June 2012

Review: The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen

Title: The Guest Book
Author: Marybeth Whalen
Publisher: Zondervan
Pub. Date: July 1, 2012
Acquired: Netgalley
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When Macy Dillon was five years old her father encouraged her to draw a picture in the guestbook of a Carolina beach house. The next year, Macy returned to discover a drawing by an unidentified little boy on the facing page. Over the next eleven years the children continue to exchange drawings … until tragedy ends visits to the beach house altogether. During her final trip to Sunset, Macy asks her anonymous friend to draw her one last picture and tells him where to hide the guest book in hopes that one day she will return to find it—and him. Twenty-five years after that first picture, Macy is back at Sunset Beach—this time toting a broken family and a hurting heart. One night, alone by the ocean, Macy asks God to help her find the boy she never forgot, the one whose beautiful pictures touched something deep inside of her. Will she ever find him? And if she does, will the guestbook unite them or merely be the relic of a lost childhood?

Twenty-six-year-old Macy Dillon is a single mother of one. She doesn't love her job, she isn't sure if she should take back her daughter's father (that left them when Emma was born), and she just has a general feeling of being unsettled. Add on to that a brother that she has to bail out of jail quite frequently and a mother who can't get over Macy's father, that died ten years ago, and you've got a family that needs some healing.

So they decide to head back to the family vacation spot that they stopped frequenting after Macy's dad died. Time In a Bottle, a beach house that has many bittersweet memories for the Dillon family.

But, Macy also wants to go there because a part of her has never gotten over the boy that she's been corresponding with through pictures in a guest book since she was five. Macy has hopes of finding this man that she's never actually met, and tries to keep her heart open when she arrives at the beach house. Just hoping that he hasn't forgotten about her.

We're given three possibilities of who the mysterious artist could be from very early on in the book. Also, it could, quite possibly, not be any of them. I find all three of the men that Macy meets to be likeable and I was switching back-and-forth through the book as to who I wanted to artist to be.

I also enjoyed seeing Macy's mom and brother on their own journeys to healing. You can see that all of them have a large amount of pain to get over before they move on with their lives. But, Time In a Bottle, promises to bring each of them a little bit of joy to erase some of their heartache.

I absolutely loved this book. When I got to the end and the "big reveal", I was honestly surprised. But, extrememly please with how Ms. Whalen chose to go. I also loved the message that if you just depend on God to take care of you and realize that He'll never forget you or leave you alone, you can find your way home.

My Rating:

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