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The Guest Book

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    At our little cabin in the northwoods we have a cabin journal in

    At our little cabin in the northwoods we have a cabin journal in which we capture the special moments of each trip. We encourage others who visit the cabin to write in the journal, too, even the little ones. Sometimes they draw pictures. Throughout the entries there is a kind of back and forth communication, even a little campfire cooking rivalry. If someone else has been at the cabin since we were there last, both my husband and I will check the cabin journal right away after we unpack to read the latest news (which is very silly because we've usually talked to those people directly and already know the important stuff).

    In The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen, young Macy had that same eager anticipation to check the guest book of the beach cottage she and her family rented for their annual vacation. It all started the summer she was five and she, encouraged by her father, drew a picture of some shells in the guest book. The next summer she found another picture had been added by a boy who also left behind a photograph, but not his name. Over the next ten summers drawings went back and forth and a secret friendship was forged. Then when a teenager, Macy received a note that she should go to a particular pier at a certain time and they would finally meet. Instead Macy convinced her mother to leave the beach house early and that they should not return next summer.

    Why didn't Macy meet her secret friend? How can an innocent childhood game still affect the now 26 year old woman? The answers to those questions are the heart of Whalen's contemporary novel. For now I will say that Macy, her mother, and her older brother all are emotionally stalled because of the father's death which happened that year when she was 15. Life has gone on, Macy has become a single mother, brother Max has "settled" into a life of partying and destructive behavior, and mom has built a shrine of memories to insulate her. A crack of change appears when mom suggests that once again the whole family travel to the same beach house for two weeks.

    Then the first night at the beach, Macy, who has simply buried God with her father, prays a single prayer - that God will finally reveal who the childhood artist is. Seemingly like miracles, three possibilities appear, each interested in the adult Macy, and she in him. But a larger lesson comes with the possibility that none of them is the childhood friend -- the lesson that we all have an Artist to our lives. Do we recognize the strokes of His brush, the shape of His clay? Are we willing to accept his creation within us?

    With the side stories of brother Max and mom, this is a book that offers something to more than just young romance readers (although that is still the target audience). This book was published in July and I was given an e-copy for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Secular publishers always seem to have a list of "beach reads" for the summer months. For Christian fiction readers, this title would be a good vacation read. Since it is now Labor Day weekend, I can only hope that maybe you have some late, late summer vacation time for some light, but meaningful reading. If not, perhaps you'll want to read this in the depths of January/February when you can only dream of sand beaches.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2012

    Twenty-six-year-old Macy Dillon is a single mother of one. She d

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2013

    Loved this sweet story. Took a number of twists and turns. Would recommend highly!

    Loved this sweet story. Took a number of unexpected turns. Would highly recommend.

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  • Posted July 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A GREAT SUMMER READ FULL OF SECOND CHANCES AND HEALING~ THE GU

    A GREAT SUMMER READ FULL OF SECOND CHANCES AND HEALING~

    THE GUEST BOOK by Mary Beth Whalen is a christian fiction set in Sunset Beach,North Carolina. Follow Macy Dillion to Sunset Beach, North Carolina.Go with Macy with her struggles,grief,healing,regrets, a mysterious guest book,love,second chances, a few twists and turns. A great summer read! Of course, being from Eastern North Carolina myself,and knowing the area only made it seem more real. "The Guest Book" is a complex,compelling,story of childhood memories and God's neverending love. Macy gets her answered prayers with a flood of men. Follow Macy on her journey of discovery and find that dreams do come true after all. A very special book that Guest book turns out to be. Anyone who enjoys Christian reading,a great summer read,love,and God's healing powers.Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at Zondervan,the author's website and My Book Addiction and More.

    RATING: 4

    HEAT RATING: SWEET

    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More

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