Thursday, December 27, 2007

Little Face

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We spent lots of time with family, which is always my favorite part of the season. The kids gots mounds of presents including a computer for each of the older two (thanks Dad!) and lots of Barbie stuff for Mia. Now we pack everything away until next year. Jesse's been home from work the last two days with a bad case of laryngitis (hard to answer the phones when you can't talk). Doogie and Molly are coming home today, and my brother Jake is coming over to hang out with them. I like the days right after Christmas when everyone is in a good mood and relaxed. It helps to make up for the stresses of the days previous. I've been doing a lot of reading the last few days, mostly good, some not so good.

Little Face by Sophie Hannah has an intriguing premise. Alice Fancourt calls the police in a panic; she insists that her newborn daughter Florence has been kidnapped and a different child put in her place. Her husband David insists that the baby is Florence, but her mother-in-law Vivienne, the family doyenne, isn't so sure. Det. Simon Waterhouse sees no evidence of kidnapping, but he feels drawn to Alice and wants to believe her strange story. Hannah's pacing and dialogue is excellent, and as we start to see the horrors taking place in the Fancourt family home, the tension level ratchets up considerably. David's first wife was murdered, and Alice can't help but wonder if she's next. Vivienne holds her son in her iron grip, and Alice is expected to fall just as neatly in line. The first two thirds of this book was fantastic, but then Hannah pulls the rug out from under the reader. An author walks a delicate line when using a narrator to deceive the reader. Some have pulled it off with aplomb: Agatha Christie and Louis Bayard come to mind. Unfortunately, Hannah isn't talented enough to succeed in her ploy, and after reading, I felt manipulated and used, much like poor Det. Waterhouse. Skip this book; don't waste your time.

Today's I'm kicking off a new contest for a set of Bible study books. The Power of a Woman's Words devotional, plus the study guide, both by Sharon Jaynes, are amazing tools to help you dig deeper in the Bible. I'll be posting my review of the set tomorrow. Just drop an email to letting me know that you'd like to enter the contest, and you're in. You have until midnight Dec. 31st to enter. I'll hold the drawing on Jan 1, and announce the winner that day. I'll be holding two other books contests in January as well, so come back for more details!