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Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Not fluff and stuff

Truth, truth and more (sometimes painful) truth. A must read for every woman wondering what happened, how'd she get here and how to make the rest of her life....different. Change is possible, God is faithful and tenaciously pursuing women to know their true value and ...
Truth, truth and more (sometimes painful) truth. A must read for every woman wondering what happened, how'd she get here and how to make the rest of her life....different. Change is possible, God is faithful and tenaciously pursuing women to know their true value and drop society's dictates and all its twisted lies. Not for those who want to 'feel good' without being willing to face some tough stuff in the mirror. John & Staci layer truth with concrete examples and bring years of counseling and research to back up this truth. Life changing (if applied) and something a lot of men could read to learn the heart of a woman and if read by both partners, could bring great depth and discusion to the relationship....and potentially healing.

posted by jennewren on March 12, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Soulful portrayal of a woman's heart

I really liked the first half of this book, but it got a little strange for me near the end. Not to mention repetitive. I do recommend this book because the first half is very strong. It often made me think, "yeah, that is how I feel but I would never have put it that w...
I really liked the first half of this book, but it got a little strange for me near the end. Not to mention repetitive. I do recommend this book because the first half is very strong. It often made me think, "yeah, that is how I feel but I would never have put it that way!" I think it's helpful for realizing that the things that make women who they are - emotions, relationships, etc - are perfectly normal and above all the way things are supposed to be! I think there is a lot of freedom in knowing that God created us this way and there is nothing wrong with us for being that way!

posted by Meags on May 6, 2009

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  • Posted May 6, 2009

    Soulful portrayal of a woman's heart

    I really liked the first half of this book, but it got a little strange for me near the end. Not to mention repetitive. I do recommend this book because the first half is very strong. It often made me think, "yeah, that is how I feel but I would never have put it that way!" I think it's helpful for realizing that the things that make women who they are - emotions, relationships, etc - are perfectly normal and above all the way things are supposed to be! I think there is a lot of freedom in knowing that God created us this way and there is nothing wrong with us for being that way!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2013

    This book was recommended to me by a friend. I would have never

    This book was recommended to me by a friend. I would have never picked it up otherwise. I would have never really come across it if it weren't for it being recommended to me since I don't venture into Christian nonfiction too much. With that being said, aside from a few reservations, this book was actually really pleasant and beautiful in many of its parts.

    I think you have to be a practicing Christian to really appreciate this book, more than I did anyway. I am a Christian, but I haven't considered myself a 'practicing Christian' in a long while now, even though I am a very spiritual person and I have my own personal relationship with God. In this sense, some of the scripture passages went over my head. Even so I was still able to realize what the authors were getting to in some parts of the book.

    One of the reservations I had when I started reading the book had to do with rhetoric. I was fond of some of the words being used, and some of the notions being talked about. Things like how women were Unseen, Unsought, Uncertain and they had to be Romanced and Rescued. Once you strip away some of the rhetoric in this book, you realize there are some meaningful and substantive fundamental concepts about us, women, and our femininity worth reading about.

    My next reservation was with the roughness of the concepts. I felt the book was stochatic in many ways. It didn't really flow easily from one part to another. It sort of jumped like a rabbit from one pasture to another... grazing on the surface of each one but not really getting to the nutritious depth of it all. I think even so I was still able to gain some insight into what the authors were trying to explain.

    So what did John and Stasi Eldredge accomplish with this book? What is the authors gain from reading this book? Well first and foremost, I believe they realized an image of a woman's feminity. How does our culture, society, and the rhythm of our daily lives tame and even at times destroy a woman's femininity, a woman's captivating soul? And how does a woman regain her sense of beauty, captivating soul, and a calm secure sense of self back?

    First, through a woman's beauty and mystery, both of which lie at the center of her captivating soul. This is what the authors say about these two. See for yourself. While on the surface, these statements might appear a bit mocking and sarcastic even, there's something of use in them, something deep down true about them.

    'A woman knows, down in her soul, that she longs to bring beauty to the world. She might be mistaken on how (something every woman struggles with) but she longs for a beauty to unveil. This is not just culture, or the need to 'get a man.' This is in her heart, part of her design.'



    'One of the deepest ways a woman bears the image of God is in her mystery. By 'mystery' we don't mean 'forever beyond your knowing,' but something to be explored.



    Not something to be solved but known with every-deepening pleasure and awe. Something to be enjoyed. Just like God, a woman is not a problem to be solved, but a vast wonder to be enjoyed... She years to be known and that takes time and intimacy. It requires an unveiling. As she is sought after, she reveals more of her beauty. As she unveils her beauty, she draws us to know her more deeply.



    Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty at its very essence."

    Secondly, I believe the authors touched on very real dynamics of a woman's soul (as well as a man's). Towards the end of the book they talk about what curses women and prevents them from acheiving their true captivating soul. That plague is 'loneliness' for women, and for men is futility.

    The book, though, is much more broad than what I have just mentioned here. If you are a woman with a curious mind on how Christianity sees women and if you want to see a fresh perspective placed against that, this is a good book to read. I am a woman and I have a curious mind, and I am glad I read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended - especially for newer Christians

    For those newer to book studies, or newer Christians, this is a good place to start. The book skims over the emotions women feel in relation to a multitude of life situations, and tries to examine reasons behind the actions and reactions of women. Following this book in a casual women's group, say over coffee on a weekend morning, is an ideal setting. More is gleaned from this book during discussion with others than reading it straight through alone. Having said that, the ideas become repetitive part way through the book after the main points have been sampled. Great as an introduction to studying the bible or small group settings, but not a challenging read for someone more accustomed to small group study sessions. Especially a good read for young adults.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    Worth wading through the rubbish to find the pearls

    "Captivating" is the companion book to "Wild at Heart", written specifically for women. It seeks to explain and restore godly femininity. From the blurb:

    "Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman are telling you of the life God created you to live. He offers to come now as the Hero of your story, to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating."

    It took me a long time to read this book; it was just so irritating. In the introduction, the authors say, "As a new Christian, the first book I (Stasi) picked up to read on godly feminity I threw across the room. I never picked it up again." Funny, that's how I felt about "Captivating". The authors claim, "There is no 'one size fits all' pattern for God's women," then proceed to build a book based on a one size fits all description of femininity. They never explain it, they just assume that you have the same views they do. I found the generalisations really irritating. Things such as, "[Men] are the less complicated of the two genders. Both men and women know this to be true", or, "Whatever else we know about women, we know they are relational creatures to their cores. While little boys are killing one another in mock battles on the playground, little girls are negotiating relationships. This is so second nature, so assumed among women that it goes unnoticed by them. They care more about relationships that just about anything else." If you hold these same beliefs, you won't have a problem with them, but I found it difficult to stomach such bold-faced generalisations that seem to be accepted as fact.

    In a word, this book was "American". There are more references to movies than to the bible. The authors seem to assume that all their readers will come from the same cultural background as they do. As someone who doesn't, I found many of the references and assumptions incomprehensible.
    I know I am giving the impression that I didn't like this book, but once you get through all the annoying sexism and purple prose, there are actually some gems to be found. It's actually worth reading, but be prepared to wade through a lot of rubbish.

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  • Posted May 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    More like a devotional to me

    Captivating almost reminds me of a devotional in a way. I liked the book and it did make me think of myself in some areas. But I did feel like this book was really meant for someone who has been wounded or hurt in some way. It made me think of someone that is not confident in themselves. I do recommend the book because everyone can use a little boost knowing God really does love us no matter what, and as women we are very important, and beautiful inside and out. I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers (booksneeze.com) as part of their book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's Guidelines.

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