The Inheritance of Beauty is set in the Low Country of South Carolina. It walks the reader through the lives of four people: George, Magnolia, Ash, and Joe Stackhouse. Maggie, as they called Magnolia, was Ash’s sister, and she later married George. The story jumps back and forth between the past and the present. Through the time, you see George’s deep love for his wife even in her old age where a stroke has left her helpless and speechless. The characters experienced a very traumatic event eighty years ago, and the story unfolds to help them come to peace with what happened before they pass on. When you think all the plots have been resolved, one twist at the end makes the whole story even more magical.
I have not read a fiction book in quite some time, so I was a bit hesitant especially since I did not begin this book on the recommendation of any others. The book started out a bit slow, and I found the jumping back and forth between characters and time to be a bit confusing. However, around the 15th chapter of 54 short chapters), I could not put the book down. I took it everywhere trying to figure out what happened to George and Maggie. How did Ash and Joe play into the mix? As I saw the love between George and Maggie, I kept telling husband and myself that I wanted to be such a wife that my husband loved me as much as George did in those last days. His wife could not speak to him. She could not even kiss him or hug him, but he loved her dearly. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants an easy read and an enjoyable plot.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
In Constant Prayer educates the reader on the ancient practice of praying the daily office which can help a believer fulfill the commandment to “pray without ceasing.” It is one book in a series of seven discussing similar ancient practices. The daily office is a liturgical approach to speaking with God. It requires the believer to stop seven times a day and pray specific prayers outlined in books of prayer, sometimes referred to as breviaries.
I selected this book because I desire a deeper prayer life, but as I read, I was often distracted by trying to figure out what denomination the author was presenting his viewpoint from. He was quick to say that he was not going to advocate one denomination over another (which he did not), but his lack of transparency on his own position proved to be distracting. Benson is an easy-to-read author who does not claim to be a theologian and uses self-deprecating humor to prove his points.
The author explains that for a novice, praying the daily office can be intimidating or even impossible. He suggests a few ways to get started. Once I got past his religion (later learned he’s Episcopalian), I found myself intrigued. I always grew up that such regimented worship was not what the Lord wanted. We have all heard how we should approach our faith with a childlike attitude, but Benson points out that sometimes routine is necessary in worship. This concept was new to me. “Routine” seems like a swear word in the circles that I grew up in, but it makes sense that I may not want to talk to God each day (if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you sometimes feel that way too), so praying the office requires you to stop and worship God seven times of day. In our culture, stopping to pray to God one time a day seems to be a challenge.
After reading the book, I do not believe I will begin praying the written prayers that are part of the office, but I do believe I will attempt to spend more time praising God than petitioning God and that I want to truly pray without ceasing…that means I may have to pray when it feels like a routine, but God will know my heart, and if anything, I feel as though my spiritual knowledge and my knowledge of church history have been expanded. I pray that I can maintain my recent thirst for knowledge.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”