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About the Author
Jackina (pronounced with a long "i" to rhyme with China) Stark recently retired from teaching English at Ozark Christian College to spend more time writing and traveling. During the twenty-eight years she taught at OCC, she traveled nationally and internationally to speak and teach, and wrote many articles for denominational magazines. She has been married to her husband, Tony, for forty-two years. They live in Carl Junction, Missouri, and have two daughters and six grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
Things Worth Remembering
By Jackina Stark
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2009 Jackina Stark
All right reserved.
I finish emptying the dishwasher and snap the door into place, contemplating only one glorious thought: The third Monday of July has finally arrived. For months now, that date has been circled on the colorful rooster calendar hanging in the laundry room. I've anticipated it almost as much as I've anticipated next Saturday, the day our only child is to be married.
Maisey and our future son-in-law should be here by six, ready to sit around the kitchen table, enjoying good food and the rest that comes from being in the presence of those we love.
I'm setting veggies on the counter when Luke, most helpful of husbands, comes in with the lettuce I forgot when I bought out the store this morning. He's talking on his cell phone but manages a smile as he hands me the plastic sack.
Is that sympathy I see in his warm brown eyes?
My heart braces itself.
"Well, be safe," he says, "and we'll just see you when you get here, then."
He disconnects and shoves his phone into his pocket. "Best laid plans. They're getting a late start. Apparently Maisey didn't get away from work as soon as she intended."
"I didn't think she was going in today."
"Something came up, Iguess. I doubt they'll be here before ten."
I gather the little troop of green onions, carrots, radishes, celery, and tomatoes that I've just deposited on the counter and return them to the refrigerator. "We can save the salad for tomorrow, "I say." The pie's made; maybe they'll want a snack when they get here."
How's that for a semblance of cheerful acceptance?
Luke smiles again as though he has read my mind.
As a rule, I've become pretty good at acceptance-it's called self-preservation. It's also an answer to one of my frequently borrowed prayers: "Help me accept the things I cannot change." despite the fact that Niebuhr's entire Serenity Prayer is hanging on my bedroom wall, I'm not sure I'll be able to attain acceptance on such short notice, not this particular afternoon.
Luke has bounced back nicely, though. He says the delay will give him time to clean up his desk properly, and before I've shut the refrigerator door, he's heading for his home office.
I have things to do too, good things, but I'm just not very eager to do them-I'm in a fixing-a-family-dinner mode.
Well, regroup, Kendy.
Two hours later I have done just that. When Luke comes into our bedroom, where I'm stretched out on the chaise longue, I have read five of the children's books from the stack I'm reviewing before school starts and finished next week's Bible study lesson.
"done," he says.
"Me too," I say, putting my Bible and workbook on the round table beside the chaise. I love the table, a fantastic find in an out-of-the-way antique shop years ago. It's a small oak dining room pedestal table, cut down to the right height for my chaise and big enough for all the things I like to have at my disposal when I sit here.
"Scoot," Luke says, and I make room for him.
He stretches out beside me and pulls me into his arms. This simple act makes acceptance-a translucent thing hovering in the distance-seem slightly more accessible. Or is it a mirage?
"Are you okay?" he asks.
"Actually, I've been fairly productive," I say, sounding more matter-of-fact than I feel.
He says we should run into town to get something to eat. I don't really want to go, but I say okay.
I know he wants to keep me busy. Chances are he'll find a movie he's been dying to see. What, I'll say, have they released Godfather IV?
He pats my shoulder, pleased, no doubt, that he has gotten such an agreeable response from me. "Then we'll come home," he says, "spray ourselves with mosquito repellant, and wait on the porch for the kids."
"Good plan," I say, and then I kiss him-a long, ten-second kiss-because he has come to rescue me.
I put down my briefcase and the sackful of best wishes so that I can rummage in my purse for the keys to the front door. Before I can find them, the door flies open. The cause, I'm happy to see, is not magic or mayhem but Marcus.
"Well, my goodness, you're here already," I say.
He grabs my briefcase and steps back to let me in.
"I thought I was supposed to call you when I got home," I say, giving him a quick kiss.
"You took too long. I decided to come on over and find a place for the stuff I picked up while we were at my parents'. Dad and I spent most of Saturday in the garage. If you had come out there at almost any given time, you would have heard me saying, 'You don't need this, do you?'"
"And I might have come out there if your mother hadn't kept me busy most of the day copying your favorite recipes into a little ringed notebook she had proudly labeled From the Blair Kitchen. You haven't really had a good look at that thing yet. I am truly finding it hard to believe one of your favorite dishes is Yankee Red-Flannel Hash."
"As a matter of fact, feel free to tear that sucker out of your notebook, but don't tell Mom."
"Not to worry."
"You should have told her to pull up a chair. You have a few recipes she might want."
Marcus puts my briefcase on the bar and comes over to the sofa, where I've plopped with my sack. "What's that?" he asks.
"This," I say, holding up the sack with one hand and patting the cushion next to me with the other, "is a great idea. They had a surprise shower for me at work. That's why Gram asked me what time we were heading to Indiana today. She said she'd like to take me to lunch before we get away. Only lunch wasn't at her favorite restaurant like I thought it would be; it was in the board room, which amazingly enough, my grandmother can actually reserve. It was a luncheon shower. Wasn't that a nice surprise?"
"Your grandmother was cutting it close."
"Well, that's true, but she wanted two girls who've been on vacation to be there."
"But, Maisey, it's almost five. The shower couldn't have lasted that long."
"True. I ended up writing an article for next month's newsletter. Someone else was going to do it for me, but I was right there. I had done the research, and I really wanted to do it myself. I called dad this afternoon. It's cool."
I walk into the kitchen to get a bottle of water and some granola bars out of the pantry. "We can eat snacks on the way." I unscrew the cap and chug half the bottle before I come up for air. "So, guess what's in the sack."
"There's no time for guessing."
"I'm almost packed," I say, returning to the couch to pick up the sack.
"Almost! Maisey, we should have left hours ago."
"I told you. I've talked to my parents. It's no big deal, Marcus."
He says nothing. Translation-it's a big deal to him.
With a huff, I toss the sack on the coffee table and take my terribly tardy self into the master bathroom to collect toiletries to put in my overnight bag. Marcus follows me as far as the bedroom, holding the sack I no longer wish to discuss.
"So, what's in here?"
"It doesn't matter," I say, tossing my hair dryer and straightening iron into the suitcase.
He takes out the tissue paper and looks inside. "Cards?"
I come over and take the sack out of his hand and put it on the dresser. "They're gift cards."
"Why are you so ticked?" he asks.
"You're the one who was ticked. I just wanted to show you what we got at the shower, but you act like not getting to my parents' house exactly when we planned is the crime of the century."
I sidestep him and rush into the bathroom, grab the cosmetic bag from the linen closet, and empty the contents of my makeup drawer into it. All the while, I carefully avoid eye contact with Marcus, even though he has followed me and is standing in the doorway.
"Okay," he says, coming in to stand behind me. I don't look into the mirror, but I know we are reflected there, his hands rubbing gentle circles on my upper arms, his eyes-the rich brown of dad's eyes-penetrating. "What's going on here?"
He turns me around and waits for me to look at him. I don't want to, but I do, quite sure he can outwait me.
"I just don't like you griping at me when I have something neat to tell you." I go into the bedroom to retrieve the sack, and he follows me. "Look," I say, "we have at least twelve gift cards or certificates for some of our favorite restaurants. The president of the company even gave us one!"
"He sent it with Gram."
I pull out the cards and certificates and spread them on the bed. "Wasn't this a cool idea? We can have a great date once a month with no hit whatsoever to our budget."
"That's very cool," he says, giving them a quick look. "But we really do need to go."
I stuff everything back in the sack. "I know." I point at suitcases standing by the armoire. "You can take those two out. I really am almost ready."
Marcus takes the suitcases down to the car, and I finish packing the overnight bag and change into something comfortable. Then, wanting everything in its place, I remove the gift cards from the sack I brought them home in, put the sack in a plastic container for such things, and take our future dining dates into the living room and put them in the top drawer of the desk.
"Ready?" Marcus asks when he comes back in. "It wasn't easy, but I got everything into the trunk."
I head for the thermostat. "I've turned it up already," he says, "and I've locked the patio door. Everything's good."
I stand in the middle of the living area and look around. I smile at Marcus, who's standing in the doorway, clearly anxious to leave.
"Come here," I say.
I can tell by the look on his face that I'm holding him up. He's a man with a mission, and he will not be satisfied until we have accomplished it. I know he wishes we were in Indiana now, getting out of the car in time for dinner and greeting his future in-laws, Luke and Kennedy Laswell-or to his way of thinking, a second set of parents. He is far more eager to arrive than I am.
Still he comes to me.
I put my arms around his waist and look up at him. "The next time we're in this apartment, we'll be Marcus and Maisey Blair. I think that calls for a serious kiss, even if we are getting a late start."
He kisses me sweetly, and I can't help wishing it were possible to fast-forward my life just this once, and voilà, it's not Monday evening with a long week ahead of us, but it's Saturday night, and Marcus and I-standing before a profusion of white flowers and flickering candles-have just been pronounced man and wife.
Luke and I are sitting on the front porch in comfortable wicker chairs, drinking unsweetened tea and reviewing a movie that was far more entertaining than I expected it to be. It is too late on a Monday night for there to be much traffic on the state highway that runs in front of our house. We have been peering into the darkness for quite some time, and finally bright headlights illuminate the night and a car turns into the driveway. Driveway is something of a misnomer; the house is set at least fifty yards from the road.
"False alarm," Luke says as the car backs out and heads in the direction it came. It isn't rational, but I'm rather irritated at the car and its unidentified driver. Those headlights significantly elevated my heart rate. Maisey called when she and Marcus crossed the Indiana line, and I was sure that had to be them.
I'm about to go inside and refill our glasses when Luke says, "More lights." And this time a car turns in and makes it all the way up the drive.
Luke and I walk out to meet the kids.
"Finally," Marcus says, getting out of the car and stretching. Luke and I give him a hug. We've made that drive many times and know exactly how he feels.
Then there is Maisey-her blue eyes bright in the porch light; her brown hair, strikingly streaked with natural highlights, pulled into a ponytail. She looks fit and adorable in layered tank tops and rolled-up sweat pants. She comes around the front of her car and gives her dad and me a quick hug. "Sorry we're late," she says.
"What happened, honey?" I ask, the four of us walking to the back of the car. Marcus pops the trunk, and the men begin to unload the luggage.
"Since we weren't leaving until this afternoon, Gram asked if I'd come in so she could take me to lunch."
"We were leaving at one," Marcus said.
"Tentatively," Maisey countered. "I thought we were just going out to lunch, but instead she had a surprise shower for me. Wasn't that a nice thing for Gram to do?"
It was an unbelievable thing for my mother to do.
"It was very nice," I say, recovering from the incredible.
"I told Maisey her grandmother was cutting it close," Marcus said.
All of us tromp into the house with our share of luggage. There's a lot. They have packed for this week and for their honeymoon as well, since they are flying out of Indianapolis.
"Maybe she was cutting it close," Maisey says, "but it was still nice."
All of us are standing in the entry, looking at Maisey as though she must have more to say. I grab the duffle bag sliding off her shoulder.
"Actually, I'm the one who made us late," she says, taking the bag from me. "Since I was at the office, I wanted to finish an article for next month's newsletter instead of letting someone else do it. I'm sorry if I messed up dinner or anything."
"Well, there's pie," I say, "in case you're hungry."
"I'm starved!" Marcus says.
"Oh, guys," Maisey says, wilting before our eyes. "I'm so tired and not in the least bit hungry. Do you mind if I crash?" Her question is rhetorical. She's looking at Luke-of the three of us, the one most likely to support this relinquishing of our time together. Even he seems surprised, though. "Well, sure," he says. "Go to bed if you're tired-we have all week."
Marcus helps Maisey lug their things from the entry hall up to their rooms, and then he hurries back downstairs for pie and conversation. A more affable young man I have not met, and Luke and I must look something like his parents would look sitting here, filled with pride and love, watching him eat with gusto and listening to him talk about life since he last saw us.
After Marcus finishes two pieces of pie, he insists on rinsing his own dishes and putting them in the dishwasher before he borrows a book Luke has been telling him about and heads to his room.
As we part at the bottom of the stairs, Marcus says, "Maisey and I will be down for breakfast bright and early tomorrow morning!"
This sounds like sweet reassurance rather than a statement of intention. does Marcus sense my disappointment?
I like to think myself capable of concealing or, better yet, dismissing disappointment. But it's hard. First we forfeited the anticipated evening, and then the night. If only Maisey had been hungry rather than exhausted-hungry to sit awhile, to eat and talk and laugh. The third Monday in July is here, and it turns out that so many components of contentment still lie beyond my reach.
These thoughts accompany me as I head into our bathroom and put on my gown and robe to begin my nightly ritual. Mother used to say you age a year every night you neglect taking off your makeup. She read that somewhere. I doubt she believes it, and I surely don't, but along with brushing my teeth and taking my calcium and multivitamin pills, I seldom overlook my three-step routine: clean, exfoliate, and moisturize.
Luke's already asleep when I turn out the bathroom light and walk into our room. doubting I can sleep just yet, I confiscate my Bible from the oak table and start into the living room so I won't disturb Luke.
"Read here," he says.
"Oh, I thought you were asleep."
"Almost," he says. "But you won't bother me."
"I thought this might help," I say, holding up my Bible.
He doesn't seem surprised that I need a little help.
"Try Psalm 37," he suggests.
I sit down, put my feet up on the chaise, adjust my robe, and turn to the Psalms. I have had occasion to practically memorize a few of them, but not this one.
"Psalm 37?" I ask.
I turn to it and begin reading. "'do not fret,'" I read aloud.
I look at Luke. He smiles before he closes his eyes, unable to keep them open any longer.
Silently and slowly I read the first eleven verses of Psalm 37 and find wise words that are not altogether unfamiliar: Trust God, delight in him, wait on him.
I return my Bible to its place on the table and turn out the light. I know I could not have received better advice, and I plan to heed it, but I can't suppress a sigh as I carefully make my way across the room in the dark and slip into bed beside my husband.
I open my eyes and can hardly discern the dresser six feet from my face.
Excerpted from Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark Copyright © 2009 by Jackina Stark. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I remember requesting this book from the Early Reviewers batch. It said nothing about it being religious fiction (though I suppose I ought to have known that Bethany House was a Christian publisher, though I had never actually heard anything about the publisher prior to receipt of the book) in the summary. I was quite surprised to find out that this book was, in fact, Christian fiction. That, in itself, predisposed me not to have a great deal of enjoyment of the book. I don't generally like religious fiction.I feel like I gave the book a good, solid chance. Despite this, it fell totally flat and was really lacking in character development. Maisey was slightly hateful, snotty and selfish, while her husband-to-be was Perfection Embodied. Even the parents and the secondary characters didn't delve any deeper than what could be seen on the surface. It seemed to be a very simplified version of real life. Then, when it came to the plot, it dragged out. By the middle of the book, the truth finally comes out as to why Maisey and her mother aren't on the best of terms anymore. And when the real reason is finally disclosed, it is incredibly disappointing. This was why a daughter and her mother had only strained conversation, at best, for nine years? It fell flat.Religious differences aside, I can't see this as a very engaging book. It wasn't at all the high-drama mother-daughter story that I expected from the summary given. I couldn't recommend this book to anyone.
This was an early review book, I enjoyed it a great deal. I found it a good story on forgiveness and love between mother's and daughter's and the damage that can be done by one person's selfishness. It's always nice to be reminded of the power of forgiveness.
This was an amazing book about forgiveness and reconciliation. I recommend it! It is a mother/daughter story and is told from both of their perspectives. The story is revealed as each of them recount the past and what led to their emotional separation. Mother and daughter are both believers and rely on God in their lives but have not found a way to reconcile the past - the daughter's imminent wedding brings her home and causes her to confront her anger, finally revealing to her parents' the cause of her harsh treatment of her mother. A quick read and God glorifying outcome.
Family, love, betrayal, devastation, and hope. This book touches all these emotions and more. It's a story of family, and a mother and daughter torn apart emotionally years ago, reunited for a wedding. How this emotional separation is dealt with, the people it touches, and how it is ultimately dealt with is the focus of the story.An easy read that was touching and thoroughly enjoying.
Things Worth Remembering is the first book I have read by Jackina Stark, and I must admit at first I almost stopped reading it in the beginning. The entire book is in first person, swapped between mother and daughter characters, Kendy and Maisey. Having never read a book entirely in first person, I was a bit bored in the beginning, but as I kept reading the story drew me in and I had to finish reading the book to find out the whole story! Jackina Stark's writing is very similar to Karen Kingsbury's books, and I am sure you will find it just as delightful! Growing up Maisey had a wonderful relationship with her mother, until the fateful day that Maisey sees something she shouldn't. Now Maisey is grownup and about to get married. She has held this secret back her entire life, and her relationship with her mother is almost non-existent, because of the bitterness and resentment Maisey has held onto all these years. Kendy, Maisey's mother does not understand Maisey's attitude toward her. She has been left out of all the wedding plans entirely and has not been able to get close to Maisey for years. Not that Maisey is coming home for the wedding, Kendy hopes to get some answers. But when she finds out the secret Maisey has been holding onto for years, nothing can stop the rush of memories and emotions. Wonderful book, filled with redemption, forgiveness and love!
I enjoyed this book immensly. It covered the fractured relationship between a mother and daughter caused by the daughter witnessing an indiscretion between the mother and the daughter's uncle. The daughter kept this to herself for years. It was only revealed on the eve of the daughter's wedding. It was very believable. The book showed the way to forgiveness through the way God forgives us. The father and mother handled the situation in a Christian manner.
Maisey and Marcus are getting married. Maisey does not let her mother, Kendy, help in the plans or even choosing her wedding gown. Maisey avoids her mother as much as possible and Marcus finally confronts her. She is being rude and Marcus wants to know why. Maisey doesn't want to talk about it. All this brings up memories of her first thirteen years and how it was between them. What changed things between Maisey and her mom?
I really liked this book and couldn't put it down. I immediately lent it to a friend I knew would love it. In this book there are there is an event that has created a gulf between a mother and daughter. They do not relate well and don't know how to cross the divide. This book shows how complicated relationships can be and the way your actions affect even those you don't expect. Definately a book I would recommend.
I started this book in the morning around 11 and finished by early evening. It was such a good read and very hard to put down. (And I did have to put it down to make lunch and take care of my family.)The glimpse into the complicated mother/dauhter relationships of two generations broke my heart and left me hopeful. It made me want to call my mother just to chat and then take my teenage daughter out shopping. We are only human, children of dust, and once we accept that in ourself as well as in those we love, we will sleep in peace.
This is an interesting story that is told in the first person voice alternating between a mother and daughter. This story reminds the reader of the importance of being honest and talking things through with those you love when something big happens. Secrets can destroy relationships while honesty can restore a relationship.
This is the second novel I've read by this author, and she is fast becoming one of my favorites. I got my review copy from Bethany House. If I had to describe the writing style of Jackina Stark in one word, it would be "tenderhearted." She manages to tell a deeply profound story with a delicate pen. Relationships between mothers and grown daughters are complex, but the one depicted in this Christian fiction has the reader searching for clues as what could have caused their once-close relationship to crumble. The reader quickly discovers that there is a gulf between this mother and child.Written in first person narrative in the voices of these two main characters: Kendy, the mother, who strives to regain the closeness she once enjoyed with her now grown daughter, and Maizey, the daughter who rebuffs all efforts to spend any alone time with her mother. As Maizey's wedding day approaches, memories surface that help shed light on the breach of that fateful summer.The plot moves at a steady pace, urging the reader to read on--this is a hard book to put down. Characters are well rounded--flawed--believable. I found myself relating to both mother and daughter. Even secondary characters are fleshed out such that the reader can understand their motivations. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and its theme of love and forgiveness. I trust that you will too.
Yes, it is without doubt another home run for me!! However, I find that this is it, I must wait for the next book to come out. I am wishing, hoping and praying she is at least working on her next wonderful story. I will be waiting . . . Knowing it will be well worth the wait. My thanks for such wonderful, moving enjoyable reading. Review by Pamisue
Things worth remembering is a story of healing through forgivenness. The first part of the book tells of unexplained hurt between a mother and daughter. Tension seems so heavy and so realistic I wanted to run from it. Reading of a daughter shutting her Mother out, the week of her wedding, is painful. This book travels back and forth in time through a mother and daughter's lives. What makes it sad is that it is so realistic.
Another great book by Jackina Stark!! This book hooked me from the first page.I wanted to stretch it out and savor the characters, but I couldn't put it down. I finished it in two days! It is unlike any other book I have ever read. I absolutely loved it. Jackina's style is fresh and creative and honest. This book made me want to be a better wife, mom and friend.
(From Bethany House): An Emotionally Gripping Story of Broken Relationships Restored Kendy Laswell and her daughter, Maisey, used to do everything together--until one fateful summer when Maisey witnessed something she shouldn't have, and their relationship fractured. Now, Maisey is back home to get married and Kendy realizes this is her last chance to reconnect with her daughter. Will Kendy and Maisey be able to reclaim the bond they once shared? Maisey asked for a bride doll the Christmas she was five, mesmerized by her aunt's wedding the fall before. Since then I've been dreaming of the day, or days, we would shop for her wedding dress. A mother helping her daughter find just the right creation for that momentous walk down the aisle strikes me as one of life's happiest endeavors. The night she called to tell us she'd bought her "dream of a gown," I sat beside Luke on the couch, a striking contrast to Maisey's exuberance. My dejection seemed a tad inappropriate. "Being hurt because I wasn't included is silly, isn't it?" I asked. "Not so silly," he said. Will I ever quit longing for the Maisey who was once mine? My Thoughts: Things Worth Remembering is a touching story of a mother and daughter who have a very detached relationship, due to a horrible secret that has been kept for the past nine years. The story takes place during the week before Maisey and Marcus' upcoming wedding. They have come home, to Maisey's parents house, to get things in order before the big day. After a few days spent with the Laswell's, Marcus begins to notice that Maisey either completely ignores her mother, Kendy, or treats her very insolently. He finally confronts her with his observation, which causes a massive family struggle to finally confront the secret that has been the cause of all their anger and hurt. The book goes back and forth between Kendy's and Maisey's points-of-view throughout the entire story. At first I thought it was going to be a problem, but once I became engrossed in their lives, I didn't even notice. This is not my normal choice of reading; I prefer contemporary and historical romances, but decided to give this book a try...the beautiful cover is partly why I chose it. I'm so glad I did...I thoroughly enjoyed it! I can't wait to read more books by Ms. Stark. If you'd like to find out more about Jackina Stark and/or her books, be sure to visit her at: www.jackinastark.com. *This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers*
Forgiveness. Is it really important? "Things Worth Remembering" is a beautiful example of how important forgiveness is. Kendy loves her only daughter Maisey more than life itself and until Maisey was 13 they had the perfect mother / daughter relationship. Then Kendy entered a very dark period in her life and the relationship they had was destroyed beyond repair and Kendy doesn't know what to do to fix it. The problem is that Kendy doesn't have all the information, or rather Maisey has more information than Kendy realizes she does. Too much information can be a very bad thing and Maisey has never been able to forgive her mom. Now she is getting married to a wonderful man and everything comes to a head. What will happen when the darkness finally sees the light? Jackina Stark has an amazing way of delving deep into her characters and bringing them to life. Kendy and Maisey are incredible people in their own rights and then Luke (Kendy's husband) and Marcus (Maisey's soon to be husband) are wonderfully strong secondary characters that many times are the reason the story moves forward. The overall theme of the book, how unforgiveness will change who you are and destroy your happiness, is so well spoken in Jackina's voice that I will recommend this book strongly to any woman's fiction lovers. Excellent.
This is the second novel I've read by this author, and she is fast becoming one of my favorites. I got my review copy from Bethany House. If I had to describe the writing style of Jackina Stark in one word, it would be "tenderhearted." She manages to tell a deeply profound story with a delicate pen. Relationships between mothers and grown daughters are complex, but the one depicted in this Christian fiction has the reader searching for clues as what could have caused their once-close relationship to crumble. The reader quickly discovers that there is a gulf between this mother and child. Written in first person narrative in the voices of these two main characters: Kendy, the mother, who strives to regain the closeness she once enjoyed with her now grown daughter, and Maizey, the daughter who rebuffs all efforts to spend any alone time with her mother. As Maizey's wedding day approaches, memories surface that help shed light on the breach of that fateful summer. The plot moves at a steady pace, urging the reader to read on--this is a hard book to put down. Characters are well rounded--flawed--believable. I found myself relating to both mother and daughter. Even secondary characters are fleshed out such that the reader can understand their motivations. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and its theme of love and forgiveness. I trust that you will too.
I guess it's fate that almost every book I've read this year has something to do with a wedding. I also seem to compare every wedding story with my own. This story takes quite a different turn as it involves a daughter who has been estranged from her mother for over nine years. At first the reader is kept in the dark as to why Maisey despises Kendy so much. This wasn't a problem for the most part, although I did feel at times as if I had somehow glanced over small details or had accidentally skimmed a few pages. As the reader learns the back story between the two women, things start to fall in place and you begin to feel for both of them. This is not your typical mother daughter story. It was actually quite refreshing to read a story about a mother and daughter who don't get along. I say refreshing, because unfortunately not every single family has close relationships and to continually portray every Christan family as happy go lucky is deceiving. This book shows a realistic side of life that people can relate to. The story is beautifully written and cuts deep to the heart. The narration switches from Kendy and Maisey throughout the story but it flows naturally. What I really enjoyed best about the novel is that the reader sees how everyone is both at fault and not at fault at the same time. The blame is placed on both parties as well as no one. It's a wonderful story at the power of communication and forgiveness. Jackina Stark has absolutely wowed me with her first two novels. Never have been so impressed with a beginning author's works. She has really taken the field by storm and I cannot wait to read more from her. VERY HIGHLY recommended.
Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark is another beautifully written, poignant novel by the author. For the first thirteen years of Maisy Laswell's life, she and her mother, Kendy, were connected at the heart, with a relationship most mothers and daughters would love to have. After witnessing something the summer she turned thirteen, their bond is shattered and now nine years later as Maisy prepares for her wedding, their distance is only accentuated. Stark has a unusual talent for creating multi-layered characters were unexpected depth. Both Kendy and Maisy are equally sympathetic, and the reader can't help but ache for both of them, as well as be inspired to take a closer look at their own relationships. There's a powerful message about forgiveness and redemption; the longer we hold on to anger and hurt, the more power it gains over us, eating away at the very soul. I dare the reader to make it through the final chapter without crying! Stark is definitely a new author to watch; she only seems to get better with each book.
Jackina Stark does it again! This is a wonderful story of love and forgiveness. It's not an easy road, but it's one most of us have to face at one time or another. Maisy and Kendy Laswell are wonderful characters, human, real. Lose yourself in the lines of this book, find a quiet spot on a bench swing in the shade and enjoy! Thank you, Jackina!