Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunrise on the Battery

I saw this incredibly beautiful sunrise this morning while bringing Mia to the bus. It brought to mind these verses from Psalm 19: The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
      The skies display his craftsmanship.
 2 Day after day they continue to speak;
      night after night they make him known.
 3 They speak without a sound or word;
      their voice is never heard.[a]
 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
      and their words to all the world.
   God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
 5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
      It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.

Mia and I talk about the beauty and sunrises and sunsets often. It never ceases to amaze me that in the history of the world, no two have ever been exactly alike. Each sunrise and sunset is unique, an individual, made for us by a loving Father to see beauty in Creation and seek its Creator.

Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart is the sequel to Love, Charleston and follows the story of the Scoville family. Mary Lynn and Jackson were high school sweethearts who married right out of school with a shared dream: to raise their children with the opportunities they were denied growing up poor in a small town. After living for a decade in Charleston and carefully working their way up in society, they are finally about to reap the rewards of full acceptance. But Mary Lynn is starting to question the dream because of her attendance at the local church and a prayer group has opened up her heart to more than just status. Their three daughters each deal with the stresses of a life in private school with constant lessons and parental expectations in different ways. Catherine, the eldest, is beginning to turn to drugs to help her cope with the constant pressure, especially when her father takes away her greatest joy: running track, to make her focus on raising her SATs. Mary Lynn asks her prayer group to pray for Jackson to find God, but when he does, the repercussions will shake her and the entire family to its core as they are forced to redefine who they are as people. Hart has a way of writing that makes each character completely relatable and sympathetic. I found myself rooting for every character, even when their actions weren't necessarily right and when their desires were at polar opposites with each other. Hart gives readers a view of what radical faith would look like today and how a society based on status and appearance would respond to it, while also asking readers to consider where faith fits into their life. That she manages to do so without being preachy is quite an accomplishment, but Hart keeps the reader so focused on the Scoville family that even Jackson's wildest actions and biggest speeches don't come across as proselytizing. It's an absorbing story of a family whose desire to fit in almost costs them everything they value most.

Thank you to The B&B Media Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review!