Monday, November 10, 2008

Until We Reach Home

I'm participating in a reading contest on my favorite online book site: Shelfari. It's a complicated challenge that involves teams and assigning point values to different quantifiers about books: whether they are considered "classic", if they've won an award, if they are over 500 or 800 pages. There are a lot of rules, that I am very thankful I don't have to keep track of (my team has a very efficient scorekeeper), but it's encouraged me to read books that I may never have otherwise picked up. In the last month I've read Lois Lowry's The Giver (it was an interesting read), Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks (she is amazing!), The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-expurey (I absolutely didn't get it, not one little bit), and Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time (I acquired a serious respect for an author I formerly despised). I just started reading Gone With the Wind. Being over 1000 pages, plus an award-winner and classic, it's worth a huge amount of points, but I have to admit that I'm not looking forward to reading it. My mom and I used to watch the movie every year when it was on television, and I absolutely adored Vivian Leigh as Scarlett, and Clark Gable as Rhett is beyond divine. So far (I'm only 30 pages in), the writing is vivid and polished, maybe I'm just intimidated by the sheer size of the thing. I have until midnight tomorrow night to finish it, so I'd better get going!

Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin is a quietly stunning historical novel about three sisters quest to find a place they can call home. Elin Carlson has always tried to protect her sisters on their small farm in Sweden, especially since the deaths of their parents, but when their Uncle Sven starts making moves toward youngest sister Sofia like he did to her, she knows she needs to act quickly and decisively to break all three of them free from his control. Salvation comes in the form of their Uncle Lars who is living in Chicago and sends them passage to him. Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia leave behind all that they know in hopes of finding a new future. Elin is fearful and constantly on alert to protect those she loves. Kirsten is angry, at first, at leaving behind the man she loves, but when she discovers his duplicity, she embraces the possibility of a new life. Sofia, the youngest at sixteen, is scared to leave her home and falls into a deep depression, until circumstances force her to stand on her own for the first time and in doing so become the strength for all three sisters. Austin puts these three young women through enormous turmoil, but the lessons they learn and faith they acquire makes the story incredibly moving. All three sisters are intriguing characters, and Austin does a terrific job of capturing their sibling dynamic. One of the strongest parts of the book is how Austin portrays how these girls, rather than turning to God for guidance, run ahead of Him making their own rash decisions, and yet God uses even those actions for His own good purpose. It's an excellent story about faith, hope, and trust.

Today's picture is from the baby shower on Saturday. Each child was given a small gift to bring home, and Mia's was a purple fuzzy tiara. It couldn't' have been more perfect for her, and she was thrilled, as you can see from the smile on her face.


Christy G said...

Oh, I LOOOOOOVE Gone With the Wind! It is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite book of all time. Enjoy, enjoy! It will be worth every minute.pring

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed looking over your blog and will add it to my blogroll. Hang in there with Gone With The Wind. I'm sure you'll love it once you get into it. You read such an amazing number of books of such varied subjects; GWTW is just bound to appeal to you. I'll definitely be back to see what you're up to and learn more about what you read besides the books you've added to the RIT shelf :)

Read On!