Divine Appointmentsby Charlene Baumbich
With the big 5-0 fast approaching, Josie Brooks begins to question her structured, picture-perfect (mid)life.
Josie Brooks, at the age of 47, thought she was leading an enviable single life. A successful consultant, she calls her own shots, goes where the money is, and never needs to compromise. But her precisely managed world begins to/b>
With the big 5-0 fast approaching, Josie Brooks begins to question her structured, picture-perfect (mid)life.
Josie Brooks, at the age of 47, thought she was leading an enviable single life. A successful consultant, she calls her own shots, goes where the money is, and never needs to compromise. But her precisely managed world begins to falter during a Chicago contract when an economic downturn, a bleeding heart boss, and the loyalty and kindness between endangered employees ding her coat of armor.
Throw in hot flashes, a dose of loneliness, a peculiar longing for intimacy, an unquenchable thirst—not to mention a mysterious snowglobe with a serene landscape, complete with a flowing river and lush greenery that seems to be beckoning her in—and Josie’s buttoned-up life is on the verge of coming completely undone. Maybe her solitary existence isn’t as fulfilling as she has convinced herself to believe.
It will take a few new friends, a mystical encounter, and an unexpected journey to set Josie on her own path to “right-sizing” and making the life changes that really matter. Filled with laugh-out loud moments and a gentle dash of inspiration, Divine Appointments is another heartwarming charmer from a master storyteller.
—Beth Hoffman, best-selling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Charlene Ann Baumbich’s Divine Appointments is a book that intrigued me from the first page. A delightful, unique heroine and a story well told with twists and turns and layers peeled back. Insightful. Don’t miss it.”
—Lyn Cote, author of Her Abundant Joy
“Corporate America seems to run on appointments. Divine Appointments, a character-driven page-turner, keeps the reader guessing who next will get kicked out of the corporate loop to meet their ultimate appointment. Baumbich knows how to make things happen in her wry mixture of humor and surprise. Above all, the characters—and readers—discover that life is to celebrate via appointments with God.”
—Eric Wiggin, author of The Hills of God and The Gift of Grandparenting
Read an Excerpt
Attempting to release the stifling heat from her body, Josie threw back the covers and heaved a sigh. Stuck in her languid, sweltering, hot-flashing body, she rolled out of bed, shucked off her damp pajamas, and dragged herself down the hall. Within a few moments, she stood in her kitchen, eyes closed, head stuck in her freezer.
Who would believe that at 2 a.m. on a below-freezing February morning in Chicago, I’d be standing here like this? Up until a minute ago, certainly not her. Hoping she was trapped in a nightmare, she willed herself to open her eyes. Wake up! But instead of pulling out of a deep slumber, she looked straight into the swirling curls of mist flowing over a low-cal frozen dinner four inches from her lips.
While waving freezer air toward her sweaty armpits, she surveyed the items before her. Healthy everything. See, I am sane. So what has led me to such a preposterous moment? But she knew. Same as always, her course of action was set as a result of last night’s Internet research.
Research: her instinctive course of action against the unknown.
In an attempt to find something—anything—short of hormone replacement therapy to help her through what she hoped was a brief perimenopausal stage, she’d clicked from one medical and holistic site to the next. One set of survey results reported that some women stuck their heads in the freezer for relief. Her initial reaction upon reading that finding had been, Not in a million years. But when this tsunami of a hot flash rolled into her forty-seven-year-old body, the idea rose to the forefront, and desperation led her straight to the kitchen. Much to her surprise, the bizarre procedure seemed to help. Or had the flash simply begun to subside already?
Always analyzing, Josie. Give it a rest. Who cares why? You feel better, and that’s the goal, she thought, her eyes landing on a small container of frozen yogurt tucked behind a bag of broccoli. But as she reached for it, a chill quaked her body. She closed the freezer door, crossed her arms over her bare chest, and quickly padded back toward her bedroom. Once the hot flash retreated, the reality of the cool temperature in her condo set in.
Even though she had no need to pinch pennies, she still tried to look after her dollars.The first thing she did when she moved into a new dwelling—an annual event—was swap out the thermostat for the latest and best energy-efficient model. During the winter, she programmed it to sixty-five during weekdays, then up to sixty-eight in the early evenings after she got home from work, and down to sixty-two at night. Summers, well… When the flashes began last July, she often found herself lowering the temperature a notch no matter what she’d programmed.
In the faint red glow of her bedside clock, she opened her dresser drawer and withdrew a powder blue cotton pajama set with three quarter-length sleeves. Counting the set of pajamas still on the floor, and in keeping with her lifelong motto to simplify, it was one of four identical sets, all pastel blue, all worn year round. Shivering, she scooped the soiled pj’s off the floor and scurried to the master bathroom. She turned on the light, ran warm water on a washcloth, and wiped her face and neck and then behind her ears. She gulped a glass of water, slipped on the clean pajamas, and smeared a dab of night cream over her cheeks, then laid the damp items over the top of the hamper to dry. “No sense risking mildew,” she heard her Grandmother Nancy say.
Grandmother Nancy had dealt with bountiful piles of laundry produced by seven children. “It doesn’t take long for damp things to sprout moldy wings,” she used to say in a singsongy voice. Josie smiled at the memory of one of her many sayings.
Once back in bed, she drew the flannel sheets up to her nose. “Freezer to flannel? Come on, body!” she chided, tired, yet now wide awake. Although occasional daytime hot flashes were annoying and embarrassing, the sleep deprivation these rampant night sweats caused was wearing her out. The last time she looked at the clock, it said 3:15 a.m.
Next thing she knew, her alarm was ringing. Five-thirty. Time to get up and work out.
To further boost her morning cardio workout and burn off the few M&M’s she’d nabbed from the small art deco bowl near her key hook, Josie walked down her building’s five flights of stairs. Anxious to gulp a blast of fresh air, she stepped out onto the sidewalk while tossing a “Good morning, Howard,” over her shoulder to the doorman. She sucked in her breath. The wind blustered, causing her to pull her scarf a little tighter around her neck.
When she’d contracted for the job in Chicago, she told the Realtor that proximity to her labor was primary. This move’s goal: as often as possible, leave the car behind. Despite the cold, she felt a renewed surge of gratefulness for that freedom. The last two years, both her Houston and Raleigh locations had kept her sitting in traffic too many hours a day. She needed exercise and more scenery than the exhaust pipe of the car in front of her. She set a brisk pace down the sidewalk, only slowing after she skidded on a small patch of ice and nearly lost her footing.
When Josie was growing up, her mother constantly asked her why she moved so quickly. “Where’s the fire? Walk like a lady, Josie.” She’d heard it a thousand times. But in all ways, Josie was a mover. She almost always walked a different route to work. Residing just under a mile from her current job, she’d explored nearly every city block between it and her condo—within the boundaries of reason and safety—by foot. But today after chugging only two blocks, and even though she’d pulled her scarf up twice, the tip of her nose was nearly numb. In these freezing conditions, she decided walking didn’t make sense, not with “L” stops only a short distance from both ends of her journey.
Before her virgin ride last summer, Josie had made sure to memorize and follow the “L” safety instructions posted on the Internet. She learned where to locate both radio and call buttons in the cars and on the platforms and programmed emergency numbers into her cell phone. She stayed alert, toted her handbag and briefcase cross-body style, and kept her transit card handy so she didn’t have to rummage for it.
Immediately after swiping her card, she tucked it back into the slot in her handbag she reserved solely for that purpose. She zipped the bag closed and settled comfortably into her seat. Riding the “L” was second nature now. Relaxing, really. So simple, she thought, as she leaned back and recalled her first “L” adventure. She’d studied the maps and made sense of the different color-coded lines, and she possessed a steel-trap memory. During that first ride, her every move was calculated to make it appear as if she’d been riding the elevated system for years.
A big man stood just a few feet from Josie—the type of guy that might inspire caution in “L” riders. Although she couldn’t see his face, he reminded her of one of the people she’d encountered at a previous job.
In Atlanta, Josie had been in charge of notifying the employees being laid off, not a task regularly included in her consulting work. The first employee to receive her dismissal notice was Roger Elmquist, a physically daunting bruiser of a man.
“Roger,” Josie said the day she let him go, “I need to see you in my office, please.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He was always polite. Large in stature but quiet in voice. Good at his job, but his position was being eliminated. Bottom line. End of story.
Once she closed the door and asked him to take a seat, she got right to the point. “Roger, I’m sure you are aware that your company is streamlining operations. Sometimes through no fault of an employee—and such is the case with you—a position with a company becomes obsolete. I’ve called you in here to let you know that, unfortunately, this is your last day on the job.”
Roger looked at her as if he did not understand English. Josie had heard rumors of his penchant for karaoke, but she couldn’t picture the man in front of her at the mike.
“Human Resources has arranged for you to receive job counseling. I’m sure they’ll help you find just the right match for your skill set.” She stood and held out her hand. “Good luck, sir.”
Roger remained seated, eyebrows knit together. He stared at her outstretched palm.
He blinked, then looked up at her.
“Roger, they’re waiting for you in HR. You’re a good worker, and management here is giving you a great recommendation. I’m sure you’ll land on your feet.”
After a very long pause, Roger stood. He appeared shorter, smaller, his shoulders slumped. Without saying a word, he left.
The next day, Roger’s itsy-bitsy wife stormed into the building, wanting to see Josie. Josie could hear her yelling clear through the glass in the reception area.
“What do you mean I can’t see her? She crushed my Roger! He can’t even lift his head off the pillow this morning. What kind of a monster—what kind of a company—doesn’t give notice, or warning, and just upends a man like that? Do any of you even care that six years ago he tried to take his own life, he was so despairing? Of course not! All you know is your own power and greed!”
When she threatened to storm the place if Josie did not have the common decency to look her in the face and explain exactly why her Roger was treated that way, Josie started toward her office door. Some people, she thought, need a strong word about simmering down.
“Is that her?” the woman yelled, noticing Josie through the door. “I swear, if my Roger slides back into depression, I am going to hold you personally accountable!”
Before Josie even reached for the handle, a security officer appeared. First he tried to reason with the woman, explain that she needed to calm down. She made the mistake of drawing back her arm as if she was going to strike him. He grabbed her wrist and said, “Come with me. It’s time you leave before you get yourself in real trouble here.”
“Any trouble, sir,” she said, speaking through clenched teeth, “has been brought about by this company’s lack of common decency.” At that, the fight seemed to drain out of her, and she began to cry. She cried so hard they nearly had to carry her out. “You’ve sapped the life out of my Roger,” she said, sniffing. “You have no idea how hard he worked to build himself back up as a man after he lost his last job. And now you’ve gone and robbed him of his dignity again.”
Decency. Dignity.The words twirled in Josie’s head as she scanned passengers in her car.
That older woman to her right…Hmm. Might be on her way to a cleaning job. Or maybe to visit a sick sister in the hospital. Yes, that’s it. She wore a tired sadness around her eyes. Likely a widow, which gave her something in common with Josie. Although Josie had never married, she understood the responsibilities and nuances of an oldish woman living alone. What they probably didn’t have in common was that Josie liked it that way.
Josie’s body jerked slightly to the left. She glanced at the floor as a stream of murky winter-boot water shifted in the opposite direction.
How quickly life ebbs and flows when you’re off to the next station.
Her eyes shifted to a stately man wearing a plaid neck scarf. He somewhat resembled Victor. Tall. Lean. Strong jaw. Powerful presence. She studied his shoes, his haircut, his fingernails. This guy was richer than Victor, she thought. Likely a CEO. They briefly made eye contact, which she had not meant to happen, and he nodded at her. She nodded back, then averted her eyes. She was glad when he stood to get off at the next stop. After he departed, she swiveled and watched him walk down the platform. He even moved like Victor. Erect, shoulders squared, chin tucked to chest, military cadence. She leaned back to see around a couple of heads, unable to take her eyes off him, wondering what Victor was up to lately. If one person on this earth moved faster than she did, it was Victor.
She recalled the day she’d finally caught Victor on the phone to ask his opinion about a high-paying corporate job dangling in front of her. She wasn’t surprised by his answer.
“Pick something that keeps you in the lifestyle to which you are accustomed: fluid. It’s a big, wonderful country we live in, Jo. You’re a strong woman. Make sure you can always call your own shots. Why be another corporate clone?”
Who wouldn’t heed the voice of such a powerful father? She’d called her father Victor for so long that sometimes it seemed easy to forget he was her father, not just Victor Brooks, military lifer, man of convictions with the power to influence.
She watched the stranger until he disappeared when the train took off again. Movin’ on. Within forty-eight hours of Victor’s call-your-own shots pep talk, she had begun the process of incorporating and setting up shop as an independent systems analyst and consultant. Two weeks into her well-planned flurry of self-promotion, her sterling résumé and focus on the world of corporate insurance landed her first major client. Interesting, how the course of a life can take shape during such short encounters, like how a passing stranger can jog such memories. It seemed so very long ago that she flew to Denver to seal the deal and sign a year’s lease on an apartment. One year was how long she estimated that first contracted job would last. In fact, she finished three months ahead of schedule, which gave her the opportunity to take a class and score another software certification.
You’ve come a long way, baby, she thought as she recalled the worn, uneven floorboards and the banging water pipes in that first apartment, which was the last dwelling place she rented. From that day forward, she bought.With every annual move, she upsized her income as well as the value of her condo or town home. Shrewd research and negotiating skills proved each real estate investment a more luxurious accommodation than the last. She smiled at the satisfying fruits of her diligence.
But as the elevated train car rounded the last bend before her stop, she watched the skyline change and wondered if her next move, due to take place in only four months, might be the end of that grand roll. Not long after she’d signed on here in Chicago, the housing market tanked. It would be interesting to see where she landed next and what kind of hit she’d have to take. Then again, in some areas, housing was selling so far below market value that she still might make out. Seemed lots of folks were already looking for 2009 to end, and they weren’t even six weeks in. But wouldn’t it be just like her to land on her feet in the midst of an economic downturn? Victor would be proud.
The train lurched to a stop. Josie stepped out of the car and was once again reminded why she’d ridden today. The wind howled down the raised “L” platform. She hiked up her briefcase strap and held a gloved hand over her nose. A man frantically ran up the stairs toward her, coat flapping open, as if he’d been sitting at the table and just noticed he was late. Could be on his way to a shareholders’ meeting. Likely runs late every day, a habit his wife finally gave up trying to change. When they passed each other, she got a whiff of his cologne. Cheap.Too strong. Maybe he’s having an affair, and they woke up late.
She trudged down the slushy sidewalk, trying to expel the remnants of that guy’s fragrance from her sensory memory. It brought to mind a VP in Augusta she’d once invited in for drinks after a dinner date. He’d scrutinized her surroundings over the top of his wine glass.
“A bit stark,” he’d said, shifting his eyes to hers. “Don’t you think? I bet you’ll be happy to settle down one day, finally personalize a place and make it your own. I can’t imagine moving every year. What we put up with to make a decent living, right?”
She’d replied with a flat no, and that was the end of him. How she’d made such an error in judgment, she could not imagine.
She entered her work building, pulled her scarf from around her neck, and hopped on the elevator, which had just landed. Moving on and up has definite advantages, she thought, even though as a military child, it had at first been difficult to keep moving away from new friendships. But she’d soon realized that all that moving also offered its perks, and she’d quickly learned how to take advantage of them. Endlessly able to start over, she’d reinvent herself, try on new personas. The more moves, the better she became at leaving her old self and longings behind. At one base, she played the shy child, while keeping her nose stuck in a book. At the next, she was the tireless sojourner, off exploring and blazing new trails. “Follow me!” she’d shout. But whatever persona she tried on, she made sure to keep an emotional distance from those brave enough to attempt to make friends with her. Funny thing to ruminate on now, she mused, since at the moment she was pressed against the back wall of the elevator while two more people squished their way inside.
Well, I was who I was, and I am who I am, she thought when she exited the elevator at her floor. She opened her coat and involuntarily shook like a dog trying to expel a spider off its back. She detested cramped elevator rides.
Hopefully, she thought as she removed her boots, swapping them for heels, the next place is warmer than Chicago.
Meet the Author
Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author, speaker, and award-winning journalist who is passionate about rejuvenating lives through humor. Her writing includes the best-selling Dearest Dorothy series and Stray Affections, the first Snowglobe Connections novel, and seven inspirational nonfiction books. Charlene lives with her husband in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
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Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich and I really enjoyed it. When I heard a second book had been published, I jumped for joy! Divine Appointments by Ms. Baumbich is the second in the Snowglobe Connections Novel series. Her style of writing is full of laughter, romance, sadness and well - life! The characters are believable and interact in a way you would hope to have in one's own life. Yes, the snow globe is a bit of magic throughout the story but it brightens and lightens the plot along the way. This book is full of romance and love, faith based on strong and clear biblical references. I give it four stars and highly recommend it for reading! Many thanks to Waterbrook Press for the opportunity to review this book.
Josie Victor Brooks is an independent woman with her own ideas of what makes a life complete. She is fulfilled by her work and the fact that she never needs anyone in her life to help her with anything, Josie is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. Until life throws her a curve ball. Divine Appointments is a book about the people we meet and how they can become intertwined in our lives in a way that we never thought possible. How little things become big things and how life has a way of dealing us blows, both good and bad, that we never expect. I really liked this book more than I expected to. It was not fast-paced, or necessarily a page turner that I felt I just couldn't put down, but the unexpected happened often at just the right time, urging me to keep reading. Overall a good book. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
This was an interesting novel. At first glance, it appears that it is going to be somewhat mystical and otherworldly. The story is engaging, however, and quickly draws you in. The characters are realistic and well-formed. The story provides a good message in a non-imposing format. It is definitely a book to lend to a friend.
I didn't buy that smart, self-sufficient, independent Josie needed to be fixed. I appreciated that unlike some women, she didn't mind being alone. The fantasy story that Marsha was writing was jarring whenever it appeared in the novel; it didn't add much to the plot. The snow globe reminded me of the main character on the old TV series, "Nanny and the Professor". There was always a guessing game about whether she had magic powers or not. I felt the same about the snow globe: magic or Josie's imagination? It wasn't clear. The side characters - Barb, Frank, Amelia, etc., were good. I especially liked Josie's father Victor, and the explanation that he was responsible for shaping who she was. It was also refreshing that the Christian characters were regular people, not fanatics who were up in everyone's face with their religious views. The novel is an easy, light read.
This book showcases the hardships placed on several different lives due to an economic downturn and a company's choice to down size and re-group. The main character in the story is Josie Brooks, an independent woman who moves from town to town working as a consultant hired on to large companies to help the companies work more efficiently. Our story picks up from there as we meet the characters who meet the ax due to Josie's recommendations as well as the ones that scrap by and keep their positions. The story was a slow read for me I just could not seem to wrap my mind around the plot line and really enjoy this book. I had a hard time understanding some of the links to a mysterious snowglobe and had the hardest time relating to Josie her thought process a whole lot different then my own. This was an interesting book but not one of my favorites and a bit of a chore for me to finish I give this book a 2 out 5 stars.
I think that it is important to understand what a divine appointment exactly is. A divine appointment is a meeting inspired and led by God. And that is precisely the overall theme of this book. Divine Appointments doesn't have one main character but FOUR main characters who each have an individual divine appointment. Josie a menopausal independent woman, Lyle the warm-hearted boss, Barb a encouraging God-loving woman and finally inspiring writer Marsha. I found it annoying that book bounced back and forth between Josie and her magical snow globe, Marsha's science fiction novel and small tidbits of the other characters. The only character I truly could relate to was Barb and I wish the story had revolved a little more around her. Overall, I had a very difficult time actually finishing this book.
I started reading this book after I got it, I thought it would be interesting since most of the Christian novels I've read lately were, but this one wasn't as good as I thought it would be from the description. And its another book where it didn't say it was in a novel series set, so unfortunately I missed alot of information that was in the first book. It starts off very slow, doesn't really explain alot of the main character's life the way most do (which is probably why its best to read the first book).
Divine Appointments written by Charlene Baumbich is an intriguing story of a woman in crisis. Quickly approaching the "big 50", Josie Brooks is realizing her once enviable lifestyle has left her friendless and lonely. As a cost-cutting consultant for many different companies, Josie moves from one job to another, from one busy city to the next and from one beautiful apartment to another at least once a year. She thinks she loves her single life and luxurious lifestyle and avoids relationships with others. Through a series of events, Josie realizes she is unhappy, lonely and searching for something or someone who will fill the great void she has in her life. She resists these emotions at first but is gradually pulled towards several people she meets and starts to build relationships with them. Josie's new found friends each have their own problems or joys to share in their own relationships. Divine Appointments is an enlightening look into a middle age woman's daily struggles and personal problems. Josie's quest to deal with these struggles will keep the reader turning the pages.
This book encompasses the events of today - recession, loneliness and relentless independance. Josie Brooks a well known employment and restructuring consultant who has led a life of indepenance causing intense loneliness and longing for friendship and intimacy. Taking her job seriously she "cleans up and slims down" Diamond Mutual Insurance with little emotion, portraying a cold heartless woman to the soon to be axed employees. When her life begins to crumble around her due to new management at Diamond Mutual, Josie finds herself alone. With new friends and a magical encounter with a snow globe, Josie finds herself on a path to self-healing and contentment. Divine Appointments is extremely well titled as each character finds themselves on a path that leads to Divine Appointments. This is an excellent story of encouragement, humility and the value of friendship.
This is the story of a 40 something business consultant named Josie who is going through menopause and starting to re-think her loner lifestyle. Josie is not the only main character. Several other people who work at the company Josie is helping to streamline during the hard economic times in 2009 are also featured prominently. Lyle is a Vice President who has left a career in non-profit work to work at Diamond Mutual, Barb is a department manager of 20 years and nearing retirement, and Marsha is one of Barb's department workers who is getting over a divorce by focusing her anger into writing a science fiction novel. I was disappointed at how little mention of anything Christian there was in the book. Barb is a Christian and prays for her co-workers who are loosing their jobs. She starts Encouragement Meetings for them to help them deal with being laid off and find new jobs. I would have loved to read more about these meetings and how she might have helped others find faith. Instead prayer is only mentioned briefly and too much space is taken up with selections from Marsha's bad science fiction book. I tried to read a few of these and ended up skimming or skipping them. Josie is always thirsty and has a magic snow globe that comes to life whenever she has done something in her life to quench her thirst for friends and family. This was just odd to have a fantasy taking place in one person's life while there is such a clear division between another character's real life and the fantasy she writes in her novel. The book starts out very slow with a lot of description about what people are doing and what they are thinking about. It picked up once the layoffs started and the Encouragement group was founded. Josie's life changes very quickly after this, almost too quickly. I never did warm to her character and enjoyed the stories of how the other Diamond Mutual workers dealt with being laid off more. To comply with regulations by the Federal Trade Commission, please note that Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich is a cute little story about a woman going through a mini mid life crisis. It's filled with wit, wisdom, and - of course - the wacky main character herself, Josie Brooks. Not only will it make you laugh, but it'll also make you think. However, I was a little concerned about the mystical encounter Josie has. I think the story could have been just as pleasing, even more so, if it hadn't included that part. Either it's Christian fiction or a fairy tale; it cannot be both. I was still able to enjoy the book, though, and I think you will too. It's light and fun...something to read when you need to escape to a place without too many hardships or too much drama. All in all, I give it three stars.
I just got done reading Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich. It was fair..middle of the road....something to pass the time. I would classify this as an easy read which left you wondering how the plot would continue but didn't necessarily make me stop putting the book down at night. The main characters have slightly extreme personalities but it is easy to think of someone in your own life with the same quirks. The story revolves around Josie and this snow globe...which is slightly mystical. I'm not really into mystical and didn't really like that portion of the book though it had a lot to do with the overall "lesson" of the book. It was not overtly religious despite the title...and actually only one main character was faith based. The book also delved into layoffs and unemployment which many people can relate to in this economy. There are themes which give you hope and make you think about your life style and how others perceive you. Overall I would rate this book as a 3.5/5. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".
Divine Appointments, is a delightful book to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you sip on a cup of tea or hot cocoa. Charlene Ann Baumbich has written a story, set in modern-day Chicago, with a characters who become real to the reader from the very first page. This is a book about faith, friendships and second chances. Second chances at relationships. Second chances with God. Pick up a copy and put on the tea kettle. You're in for a treat. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Charlene Baumbich is a well known author and speaker, giving her readers books that are heartwarming, humorous, and that have a great message. Divine Appointments is just such a book. Baumbich uses her unique point of view, melding both a Christian viewpoint and a little magic to create a great story that readers will love. Josie's life is just the way she wants it. She has a great job, she's happy in her single life and it doesn't seem as if it could get much better. But things are about to change. Josie is turning the big 5-0! The life that she thought was so fulfilling is suddenly lacking. Josie needs a change in several areas of her life. But is that possible at her age? Can she re-invent herself? And find out how to make the changes that really matter in her life? With a new crop of friends and very special snowglobe, Josie starts on a journey to rediscover herself, to remake herself to find what's missing... This is such a great book. Baumbich gives the reader not only a heartwarming tale about a woman who finds everything she's looking for, even though she didn't know she was searching for it, but also a book with strong characters and a great message. Josie is such a refreshing character. She's very relatable and readers will love her sense of humor and her great outlook on life. How many women have stood where Josie stood, not knowing what was next and just stood there. Josie took that first step and changed her life. I loved that great spirit she had about her. She was just a great character. Baumbich was able to give the reader a real sense of who Josie was and what she wanted out of life. She was able to convey that Josie had sort of hood-winked herself into believing that her life was perfect, when she was missing some very important pieces. Josie's journey really resonated with me. It seemed as if she learned so much about herself from the beginning of the book to the end. The author's character development was just wonderful. I felt like I knew this character, like she was a neighbor or a woman I'd met at church or something. Baumbich's style has a lot of simplicity that just carries the book in a very relaxed way. It gives the story a lot of clarity and helps the reader really get to the point of what's going on. They aren't left wondering half way through the book, how they got to that point. Every event in a story has a purpose. It doesn't seem to be filled with fluff or stuff that doesn't really advance the plot. This book is very inspiring. I felt like it really opened my eyes to what my life could be like if I took that first step... I would recommend this one to readers who enjoy a book with a great story and a deeper meaning. Christian Fiction lovers will really enjoy this one as will women who love strong character driven books.
osie Brooks thinks she has it all together. At 47 she has traveled the country and can call her own shots. She has a successful career as a consultant who recommends employees for dismissal to the downsizing companies she works for. Then the hot flashes start, making her aware just how quickly life is going by. Her current job at the latest in a long line of downsizing companies, leaves her questioning the hardness of character that she has had to develop. With a "bleeding heart" boss, Josie begins to see the results of her work a bit differently. With a surprise twist thrown in, readers will be drawn into the story even more. Divine Appointments gives us a glimpse of what it's like to think you have your life all figured out, only to realize late in the game that you really didn't know what living was! This novel is both inspiring and eye opening. It makes the readers stop and take a look at their own lives. Ms Baumbich spins a tale that keeps her readers interested.
I enjoyed this contemporary romance novel. Set in today's corporate world, the plot centers on a company in the midst of down-sizing with the protagonist, Josie, a hired "hatchet man" doing a fine job of thinning the ranks without feelings. At the opposite end of the spectrum is her boss, Lyle, a sensitive man with enough feelings for everyone. I am confused about the reason for the mystical snowglobe woven throughout the story; I feel that it could have easily been left out. In an otherwise plausible plot, it is a perplexing touch of fantasy. The novel is labeled a work of Christian fiction, but other than a few characters mentioning prayer and church attendance, I see little else Christian about it. This fact coupled with the snowglobe coming to life, had me scratching my head. Nevertheless, characters are well-rounded, believable, and dialogue is spot on. The plot flows, and I read with an occasional smile and/or tear. Most readers will like this one. Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and WaterBrook Press for my copy.
In Chicago forty-seven years old Josie "Dragon" Brooks loves her work as a successful business consultant at Diamond Mutual who also enjoys being single as she can do what she wants in her personal life. No one does downsizing better than Josie, who is no purring pussycat when it comes to her favorite part of her job; as she has no concern for what happens to employees she kicked to the curb; that is why her nickname as the bottom line profit is all that matters. She makes Scrooge before the ghostly visits seem altruistic. Out of nowhere, a snow globe shows up at her apartment. Suddenly her perfect cold life falls apart when people befriend her and one person even offers her love. As she examines her commitment phobia, Josie feels like Scrooge during the transformation. The second Snow Globe whimsical second chance at life fantasy (see Stray Affections) is an engaging pleasant contemporary fiction. The vast support characters enable the readers to see deep inside the frozen heart of the Dragon lady to what made her icier than the pre melting tundra. However, the key element to the potential transformation of a Scroogette is even the queen of mean has redeeming qualities. Harriet Klausner
In the beginning I was sure I was going to like the book. Josie came off hard and was given the nickname of "dragon" which she well deserved. As I read the book further Josie had to have this type of personality in order to be able to perform the job she was asked to do. With her giving recomendations on who kept their job and who was to be let go did not make her many friends. Although Barb was ultimately let go she started the Encourgement club to help the people who were let go. Barb kept up her relationships with Marsha & her former boss Lyle. I did not really care for Marsha's side book. To me it was overkill. After all the recommendations Josie had made through all the different companies she had the tables turned on her and she was one of the cuts. This made Josie more likeable to see how it feels to be to be ont he other side of the coin. I like that she made a friend and finally had someone she could talk to. I also like the additon of her dad and the background it mde Josie be more multi dimensional. Overall I like the book, and once I started had a hard time putting it down. I received this book free for my review from Walterbrook Multnomah
Book Title: <em>Divine Appointments </em>(Snow Globe Series) Author: Charlene Ann Baumbich Publisher: Waterbrook Press Pages: 320 Book Club Questions also included in my edition. <strong>Summary</strong>: Set in the windy city, <em>Divine Appointments</em> has a cast of characters all linked to investment company Diamond Mutual. Josie is a consultant there. It's her job to make recommendations on how to streamline the company. She also owns a mysterious snow globe with a brook inside of it. Lyle is a VP in charge of the day to day operations. He is a "bleedy heart" according to Josie, but loves to work with the people. Barb is the heart and soul of the IT department. Having been with Diamond for 20 years. She's an encourager in the office and in her personal life. Marsha is Barb's best friend at work. She is still recovering from a recent divorce and writing a story to help her work through her ex-husband's infidelities and other controversies. Diamond is on the verge of restructuring. Who will stay, and who will go? What will it mean for everyone? <strong>My Thoughts:</strong> I must say that I struggled tremendously with this book. It never quite grabbed my interest. The characters were well developed, but just didn't seem interesting. And trying to intertwine them in relationship with each and other characters just didn't create any anticipation of "what will happen". There's supposed to be a love story buried in here somewhere, but honestly I couldn't really see the attraction of the characters. As the second of the snow globe series, the actual snow globe detracted from the story more than added to it. The conflict of the lay offs that take place in the book almost seem watered down, and easily remedied. Even the loss of a major character hardly ruffled the story line. Much of the loose ends are neatly tied up at the end - even pulling minor characters forward to make the "bow" prettier. The book is obviously Christian Fiction. The characters pray, talk about church life and depend on God. And no one seems to be offended by this. While this component didn't bother me, it might be a consideration for other readers who are not interested in those types of characters. Overall, I did not like the book and gave it a two star rating. Note: I was provided a review copy of this book as part of the "Blog for Books" program. All opinions are my own.