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“Each of Marlo Schalesky’s inspirationally unique stories are “like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get” and Shades of Morning is no exception. From the first page, I fell for the beautifully drawn and flawed characters, and by the end, I wanted to hug them, especially Emmit. What an angel.”
— Tamara Leigh, author of Nowhere, Carolina and Leaving Carolina
“Shades of Morning is a gripping story of grace and forgiveness in the face of years of secrets, half-truths, and running. Yet it is so much more. Marnie and Tyler became people I cared about from the opening pages, yet I wondered how the tangled web of their past could ever unravel to show the promise of a future. And the image of God revealed in the prose speaks to me even now after I’ve reached the end.”
— Cara C. Putman, author of Cornhusker Dreams and Stars in the Night
“Poignant. Heartfelt. Compelling. This latest novel by Marlo Schalesky is a touching testament to the power of love, forgiveness, and second chances. Shades of Morning is an unusual love story with a twist--and what a twist! You'll love it. But be sure to have a box of tissues close at hand. This would make a great movie! (Are you listening, Hollywood?)”
— Laura Jensen Walker, author of Becca by the Book and Turning the Paige
“Marlo wrote an engrossing story told with her signature richness and beauty. Her characters lived and breathed -- I connected with them immediately -- even as they displayed the messiness of real life. Shades of Morning will touch your heart and remind you of God's enduring hope, love and redemption. It's a treasure!”
— Cindy Martinusen Coloma, author of best-selling novel Orchid House and Beautiful
Posted July 3, 2010
Marnie owns Books and Brew bookstore-coffee shop in Pacific Grove, California. Sixteen years ago she lived across the country in Clam Unction, where she fell in love with a visiting lawyer named Taylor Cole from New York, but the relationship did not work out. She ended up leaving her drama filled lifestyle with her family, as well as her estranged sister Rose, in hopes of finding joy and happiness in America. Then a voice from her past Taylor Cole has found her and calls to inform Marnie that her sister died, and her sister Rose has named Marnie as guardian to her fifteen year old son Emmit. Arriving at the airport Marnie is shocked to find her nephew has Downs Syndrome. Amongst all of her struggles to raise Emmit, as her and Taylor end up falling in love. With the ending finally bringing the readers out of suspense to with a shocking ending, they will find that Marlo Schalesky has written another great novel. This book was provided to me for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2012
I got halfway through this novel before deciding to skip to the end, I just did not want to invest any more of my life with this mess. Marnie, the heroine, is a thoughtless, self doubting woman who runs away from the slightest difficulty. Her rudness towards her sister is grating. She wears clompy boots to her sister's elegant dinner party just to show her that she is her own person and causes a disaster. It goes so badly,she does it again. The author subjects us to every tiny thought that goes through Marnie's and Taylor's minds. It seems like an endless repetition of the same "poor me" thoughts. But what really got to me is the bizarre ending which included buried secrets that just couldn't or wouldn't ever happen. I felt, as a Christian, this ending was almost super natural and totally inappropriate coming from a Christian author. At 325 pages, this novel was about 200 pages too long.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 22, 2012
Posted July 23, 2010
In following the present story of Marnie Wittier, it would also take us to the past of a young love she believed to have died with Taylor Cole. The story is based between what happened then, and how it shaped who she is today, a young lady with many regrets as to how the past has ultimatly shaped what she has become. However, a young boy with Downs Syndrome teaches her how to love, and let the past be in the past and that the Son can take it all, and erase our sins, and make them white as snow. Emmit, (the young boy) teaches her how to love, and to let her past go, and in turn can find true love in her present, and future.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2010
"Some people were meant to love. Others only watched from the outside..because once, a long time ago, she had a single chance to love. One glimmering impossible opportunity. And she'd blown it. Big time."
Today Marnie meets her sisters' child for the first time. He's fifteen and has Downs's syndrome. How could her sister Rose, keep a secret like this? Taylor, the executor of her sister's will and former friend was asking the impossible; she couldn't raise Rose's son, Emmit. Marnie was single and had a coffee shop to run, people depended on her. Her life was full, and no room for anything else. But the longer Emmit stayed and the more she learned about him, a surprising thing happened. Marnie realizes she needs him. "Emmit was showing her the way home. He was showing her how to trust," in people and in God again.
Taylor realizes he has his own struggles with God and Marnie.."God, who wanted him to let go. God, who had never stopped pursuing him. God, who wanted the past for Himself." Why couldn't he let go? What was he afraid of?
I'm so glad I received a review copy of this amazing, powerful, heartfelt story. Marlo has a talent to captivate you from the start and immediately draw on your heart strings, because her characters are believable and they deal with circumstances beyond themselves. I felt for Emmit's situation as he was forced to live with an Aunt he'd never met.
This author captures the endearing qualities of Emmit and the real issues he struggles with being a Down's syndrome teenager, but at the same time you'll see the simple way he views life and knows what's important. He hopes Marnie realizes it before it's too late. I was absolutely taken in by Emmit praising God in church, how he loved life and I laughed at his obsession with doughnuts!
When you meet Emmit and get to know him, you won't look at another Downs' syndrome child the same. I highly recommend this novel. The story and its characters will stay with you long after the last page is read.
Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Posted July 16, 2010
This gripping novel was well-written and I loved the plot twists. It was a page-turner, especially towards the end. I truly enjoyed that Marnie and Taylor had a love story in this novel yet were in different cities for all but one scene! That created a mystery and suspense for me, the reader. Marlo answered a question in each chapter then asked another one, creating a heightened sense of curiosity to keep me reading. I was intrigued by this style and loved it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2010
Sometimes in our lives, we make terrible mistakes. Or the paths of our lives take turns that leave us completely bewildered. We question God. We falter in our trust of Him. We wonder if we can ever be forgiven - or how we ever came to be where we are.
And yet there isn't a cloud or a shadow that crosses our path that is not sent by our loving Heavenly Father. We may not understand the darkness. We may not see the Light within. And we certainly can't see beyond our present circumstances. We must trust. We must let God work. And we will see the joy that is to come in the morning.
Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky is a beautifully written story about past mistakes, dark presents, and joyful futures. It is a story of God's love for His children, His redemption, and their need to trust Him through everything. For He is working on each of us - for His own wonderful glory.
Posted July 14, 2010
This is a book that most of us will be able to relate to. Who doesn't have their regrets that they would rather forget (and wishes everyone else would, too)? Marnie thinks she has total control over her life but then she is thrown a curve ball. Her nephew, Emmit, teaches her what is important and brings her into a relationship with God. The ending was wonderful and it was a great summer reading book. Lovely and gentle and encouraging. You'll love this book - I did.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2010
Just when you think you've got things figured out, and things are going well - life throws you a curve ball and suddenly your peaceful, quiet existence is turned upside down.
This is what happened to Marnie Wittier. Escaping a painful childhood growing up in foster care, Marnie had fled her hometown in Maine, cut off communication with her older sister Rose, and recreated a life for herself in Pacific Grove, California.
Fifteen years had past, and Marnie was now the owner of Books and Brew, a combo coffeeshop/bookstore where friends were like family and she was relatively happy.
Then she receives a letter from Taylor Cole, an old flame from her past, which began -
"Dear Miss Wittier - We regret to inform you that your sister has passed away."
And in a flash, Marnie's life was changed. The letter from Taylor, who was now an attorney representing her sister's estate, goes on to inform her that she had been made guardian of her sister's son, Emmitt, a child Marnie had no idea existed, and that Taylor was sending Emmitt to live with her.
With her emotions in turmoil, Marnie is swept back to the past as memories of her difficult sister Rose and her sudden illness, being with Taylor as he helped her track down their birth mother, and the painful events that caused her to run come rushing back. And when fifteen year old Emmitt arrives, Marnie is shocked to find out that the boy has Down Syndrome, and while a charming child, he is quite a handful for Marnie to deal with.
Marnie accepts her new responsibilities and as she begins to get to know Emmitt, she comes to love his inconsistent but happy ways as he manages to wiggle into her heart. And letters back and forth with Taylor, who had been a part of Emmitt's life since his birth, are slowly healing her heartache over their breakup. Letting go of regrets and finding forgiveness seem to be within Marnie's grasp.
But just as things are beginning to even out, a secret from the past threatens to shake up the fragile foundations of family that have begun, and Marnie's new life as a single mom may be altered forever.
In Marlo Schalesky's novel, "Shades of Morning," life and love are thrown into a twist as a painful past and the tenuous future collide in the present, changing lives and hearts forever. A Christy Award winning author, Schalesky adeptly draws her readers into the heartwarming story that features romance, heartache, sorrow and happiness. Her characters are realistic, and her conscientious treatment of the Down Syndrome storyline is lovingly and well portrayed.
The moral lesson of forgiveness and redemption found within the story of "Shades of Morning" are gentle reminders to be open to what God sends your way. This charming story is full of love and joy, and is sure to be a blessing to those who read it.
Posted July 12, 2010
This book was very interesting. At first, I thought it was going to be a very easy read but then it had un-expecting twists and turns. It is NOT what I was expecting and I was honestly glad. It provoked questions in my mind and heart that most days are not never on my radar as a stay at home mom.
I appreciate the honesty through out the book dealing with downs syndrome not making it an easy road like some television shows. It was in part humorous but so very lifelike.
I also appreciated the walks of faith suggested of the characters in the story and how real it seemed. This could easily be the story of our neighbors and friends.
This book would be quickly recommend as a great read to take on a plane or a long road trip. I would not recommend this book to younger readers due to the mature material described and suggested.
This book was provided to me by WaterBrook Multnomah.
Note: I was sent complimentary copy for review purposes only. This review has not been monetarily compensated. The review was my honest opinion and views and not influenced by the sponsor in any way.
Posted July 13, 2010
She knew a lot about those.
But miracles? Those were for other people.
Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that's nobody else's business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church - they all think she's the very model of compassion and kindness.
Then Marnie's past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old don - a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome - and that she's woefully unprepared to care for him. What's worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister's attorney, a man Marnie once loved - and abandoned.
As Emmit and Taylor work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the pieces of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again? (excerpt back cover).
My Review: THE BEST BOOK I've read to date! Yes, it really is that great and outstanding. If you ever wanted to purchase an award winning book, THIS IS IT! Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky is one of the top picks in my opinion.
The story of Marnie Wittier and her sister Rose is so heartwarming. They both find themselves in the foster care system and have for once settled with a lady named Doris who raises them up as best as she can. Meanwhile, Marnie has always desired to know who her real mom was and if she is still living. Rose knows but won't tell Marnie, until one day Rose has a heart condition and the doctors need to know her medical history. Will Rose finally tell?
Later in the story we learn how Marnie has spent the last 15 years trying to forget the life and love she has left behind. Until she learns that Rose has died tragically and has left her only son, Emmit to Marnie. Now Marnie will have to learn how to deal with a boy she has never known and who has Down syndrome as well. He is prone to outbursts when she least expects it, whines until he gets he way, and can make the biggest messes she's ever seen. Oh how can she be expected to care for a boy when she can barely take care of herself?
I absolutely loved how this book turned out in the end, nothing like I would have guessed or expected. Even now, trust me if you think you can figure it out, you won't. I would rate this book an 11 because it steps outside the rating scale as over the top, GREAT! This book is part of my permanent library for anyone looking for a great feel good book. I received this book compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah for my honest review.
For more information on the book, the author and where to get your copy, click on the link below:
Posted July 11, 2010
I am so glad that I was allowed to review this book. Marnie has had so many problems in her past that are now affecting her future. She has never really felt worthy of love. That comes out all through this book. How many times do we feel like we don't deserve to be happy, or loved? At an early age Marnie runs away and ends up owning a coffee/book store. She has broken all ties with those in her past, including her only sister. Marnie's past comes back to haunt her when she receives a letter from the man she loves but ran away from. She is informed that she is to become the guardian of Emmit her sister's son after her sister was killed in an accident. Taylor the lawyer has grown to love Emmit and it tears him up to send Emmit out to Marnie. It means they both must face their past. Marnie has dealt with her past by keeping reminders of her mistakes in a box. When Emmit, a downs-syndrome boy arrives he finds the box. As he slowly picks the pieces out he teaches Marnie to face her past and learn to love. The great thing about this book was just when you thought you had it all figured out there is another boy thrown in the mix. Who is the real Emmit and why has all of this happened. I loved this book and can't wait to recommend it to all of my friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 11, 2010
Every once in awhile, I come across a book that is haunting, poignant, beautiful. One that moves my very heart and soul.
A book that makes the me feel so glad that I read it, even while I'm mopping the tears that are streaming down my face. (Stock up on those tissues...you're gonna need them!)
A book that I know I will cherish time and time again. In a nut shell, this book is fantastic!
Many thanks to Kelly Blewett and Waterbrook Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book.
Posted July 12, 2010
I really enjoyed the book, but the ending took me by surprise and I had some difficulty understanding it. The book was very inspirational, there were a lot of twists in the storyline and it was a quick read. The readers guide helped me understand the ending better. I have never read any of the author's novels before and I look forward to reading her next novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2010
Marnie Helen Wittier was a 20-year-old wild biker with long, dark hair when she first met Taylor Dole, an attorney she talked into helping her find her mother. She and her sister, Rose, had been abandoned ten years earlier and had lived in foster homes. Because Rose wouldn't disclose the whereabouts of their mother, Marnie moved from Maine to California once she found her mother. She opened up a bookstore/coffee shop called Books and Brew. Life was as good as it could be considering her life, until Taylor found her.
Sixteen years after she'd moved, wearing short, spiked hair, estranged from her sister, Marnie finds out through Taylor's letter that Rose has died and was survived by her 15-year-old son, Emmit. Taylor had written her that Rose's will stipulated that Emmit was to be put in her charge-a young man she didn't know even existed. When he arrived, she found that he had Down syndrome, and was totally unprepared to care for him.
Having had a brother-in-law with Down syndrome, Marlo pegged Emmit's behaviors to a 't.' Warm and loving, stubborn and determined. She brought such loving memories back to my mind. Emmit will endear himself into your heart.
The character of Marnie and Taylor, entwined by their past, is drawn out by the events of Rose's death and Emmit's guardianship. Tough, yet broken, Marnie learns how to love. Taylor, alone and lonely, doesn't want to lose Emmit. Marlo weaves a story of love and family loyalty throughout the tough circumstances. This is a very touching and moving story. The only problem I had was with Emmit's true character in the end. That aside, your heartstrings will be tugged by all involved!
This book was provided for free by Kelly Blewett, Publicist, KBK Public Relations, in exchange for my honest review. It was a heart-warming experience.
Posted June 24, 2010
I struggle when I need to be honest and give a negative review as is the case with this book.
I think this review will be easier if I break it down:
Storyline: The storyline is that a 15 year old boy with Down's Syndrome has just lost his mother and is being sent to live with his aunt. The aunt left town 15 years ago and left her sister and boyfriend (who had left town and she didn't know if he was coming back). The boy arrives and throws the sister's life into chaos, but she adjusts and learns a lot about life and herself in the process.
Writing: The writing is good and easy to read. Pretty descriptive on some things. You can tell that the main character has a hard shell and some parts are very sad and heartbreaking to read.
Plot: The plot is where my concerns about this book lie. There is a twist at the end that doesn't work. It's crucial to the plot, too. I looked back and reread the beginning to see if I had misread something into the story, but I hadn't. There are some details at the end that are implausible and very unrealistic as well. The twist at the end made me feel deceived and manipulated. That's the best way I can put it. You know when someone convinces you of something only to tell you that it's not true? That's how it felt. I don't like that feeling. It makes me feel manipulated. The twist at the end could also be very disheartening to a reader if you or someone you know has Down's Sydrome. The message could be that life is easier or more valuable or better if one does not have Down's Sydrome or that your child does not.
It is very difficult for me to know how to write about this book because at the end, the author writes a thank you to her editor for helping "make this book more of what God envisioned it to be." (from the Acknowledgements). I even like the Reader's Guide at the end.
So, am I writing negatively about something that God inspired? Is this a great book and I'm missing it? Should a Christian Inspirational Fiction book be held to the same standards as any other book? Should all elements of the plot work together and be believable?
I do know that God encouraged me through this book, yet I still wouldn't recommend it. I do think that the plot of a Christian book should be plausible. For a book to be great, I think you need both wonderful writing and a wonderful, well executed plot where the pieces all fit together--not where your trying to cram a piece into a space that it wasn't made for. That is what it felt like at the end. Several pieces were trying to be put into a space in the puzzle that they weren't made for.
And I want to add one last caution, because of how the ending could be construed, I wouldn't encourage someone with a child with Downs Syndrome to read this book.
Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah.
Posted April 19, 2010
Marnie Wittier owns Books and Brew bookstore-coffee shop in Pacific Grove, California. Sixteen years ago she lived across the country in Clam Unction, Maine where she fell in love with visiting New York lawyer Taylor Cole, but that failed to work out. She left New England to escape her drama family including her estranged sister Rose to live a genteel serene life.
One phone call unanswered means her past has finally caught up with her. Taylor informs Marnie that her sister died, but named her as guardian to her fifteen year old son Emmit. When Emmit, accompanied by Taylor, arrives in California, already filled with regret Marnie is shocked to find her nephew has Downs Syndrome. As she and Taylor fall in love, Marnie struggles to be a mom to Emmit; who she loves very much while the townsfolk especially her customers welcome him as a God sent.
This is an excellent inspirational tale that focuses on God giving people second chances whether they deserve them or not. The support cast is superb while the lead triangle and Max the iguana are great fragile characters. With a fascinating shocking final twist, readers will have no regrets with Marlo Schalesky's strong novel.
Posted March 21, 2011
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Posted December 16, 2011
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Posted May 19, 2011
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