March 2, 2011 · 9:17 am
Amaryllis in Blueberry: A Novel by Christina Meldrum (Gallery Books; $15.00; 365 pages)
“Life goes on? I don’t know the answer to this question. I don’t know if there’s room in this world. Because all other times each life feels unwieldy to me, all-powerful, all-consuming, just knowing how much the choices made by one person can affect others’ lives. In this respect, each of our lives seems huge…”
Christina Meldrum shares a mesmerizing story of love, faith, family and betrayal in her new novel, Amaryllis in Blueberry. Her story takes us through the calm, serene nature of the family’s Michigan cabin to the beauty and desolateness of their African mission.
Seena and her husband Dick Slepy have four beautiful but drastically different daughters, each of whom is in the midst of her own journey. Mary Grace, struggling with the impact of her own physical beauty; Mary Catherine, sacrificing everything to prove her faith; Mary Tessa, a precocious young girl trying to figure out her own place in the world; and Amaryllis, the daughter who has unexplainable gifts of sensing the truth, but does not seem to belong.
Following an encounter with his daughter Amaryllis who is the dark-haired, dark-skinned daughter amongst blond, fair-skinned girls and who believes she is not his biological daughter, Dick insists that the family move from their home in Michigan to do missionary work in Africa. Dick’s attempts to reestablish his own worth and run away from his aching, although unproven fear, that Amaryllis may be right, unravels a string of events that affects each of his children and ultimately his lovely but distant wife Seena.
Seena, a book-loving storyteller, reluctantly agrees to support the journey to Africa but is unable to let go of the memory of a former lover. This obsession takes on a life of its own. The characters in the story become real as they struggle with both the cultural shift of their move to Africa and the realities of their own personal downfalls and fears.
Meldrum unleashes a series of unpredictable events that will leave you wondering… how well can you truly know someone and how great is the impact of your own choices on the lives of those around you?
This review was written by Kelly Monson. A review copy was provided by the publisher.
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May 8, 2010 · 4:07 pm
This Hungry Spirit: Your Need for Basic Goodness by C. Clinton Sidle (Larson Publications)
C. Clinton Sidle is a recognized expert in consulting, leadership training, and human potential development. This Hungry Spirit is a departure from his previously published works that focused on strategic planning and achieving personal and organizational greatness. Instead, Sidle uses his personal journey through difficult times as the structure for sharing the skills needed to make it past the rough spots we all face. (The original subtitle of this book was Seeking Happiness in the Heart of Discontent.)
This book is well-organized. There are exercises within each chapter designed to engage the reader and bring to life the concepts being taught. Key phrases, pearls of wisdom, are highlighted in sidebars that accompany the text. Sidle draws from a wide variety of resources to make his pitch for mindfulness and introspection. His approach seems best suited to a reader who has not yet explored the concepts of meditation, keeping a journal and opening one’s heart.
It’s easy to picture the author leading workshops and drumming up enthusiasm for the topic at hand. He conveys a sense of importance and necessity when describing the steps that can lead the reader to a calmer, more fulfilling, life. However, Sidle’s writing is a bit labored. This reviewer sensed that he would rather conduct an interactive workshop than be restricted to mere words on a page. His message is bold and somewhat aggressive. The feeding of the hungry spirit becomes a mission with goals and objectives, not unlike the leadership skills and human potential topics he is known for in business and military circles.
A counterpoint to This Hungry Spirit can be found in The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Many of the concepts are quite similar; however, the tone and mood created in The Power of Now is highly suggestive rather than direct and blunt as is the case with This Hungry Spirit. It will fall to the reader to decide which approach is likely to be the most effective for his/her personal needs.
A review copy was received from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME).
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Tagged as AME, Author Marketing Experts, Basic Goodness, book review, books, Bruce Springsteen, business, C. Clinton Sidle, discontent, Eckhart Tolle, executive training, happiness, human potential, Hungry Heart, individual challenges, introspection, Joseph's Reviews, Larson Publications, leadership skills, leadership training, life's obstacles, meditation, military training, mindfulness, motivational, nonfiction, organizational goals, pearls of wisdom, personal goals, personal journeys, Ruta Arellano, seeking happiness, self improvement, self-esteem, self-examination, self-help, strategic planning, survey books, The Power of Now, This Hungry Spirit