The Guest Book

This was my absolute first time I have ever read a novel and felt teased by the author! As weird and quirky that may sound it is true! 😛

Author Marybeth Whalen introduces a very interesting story line of a young woman with a little girl, Macy Dillon, longs to meet the artist. Ten years after the last picture, Macy prays to find out who is artist. God answers her prayer and not only gives her one man, but three! When the author introduces the reader to the first man, Wyatt, and then Pastor Nate, I was convinced that the buck stopped there, and that Macy will just be wrestling over which of these men she will choose. However, Marybeth Whalen brings a third man, Dockery, and I was flabbergasted beyond reason because she had began to string the romance and fiery sparks between Macy and Nate, as well as Wyatt. This teasing, suspense and leading on was the sole reason  why I continued to read on and I must admit that I enjoyed the entire ride to the very end! 🙂

In the aspect of the novel’s structure, the story was solely told through the narrative of Macy. Although the story line was fun, witty and homey, it felt very one-dimensional. When the three men were introduced, on who could possible be ‘the artist’, it was very suspensful but it would’ve been much more enhanced if we as readers could have seen the thoughts of the men.Also, usually in most of the novels I read, minor characters do not play a major  role in the novel, this fact remains true in The Guest Book  but I believe it is through Max’s brotherly camaraderie and her daughter Emma’s sweet, but yet “little dictator” character is what adds to the classic of a typical American family. Overall, the development of the characters was not clearly shown . The most evident is Macy’s mother Brenda who is finally moving past the death of her husband and is experiencing love again. Max, Macy’s brother eventually overcomes his alchohol addiction with the help of Pastor Nate. I would’ve liked to have seen more growth in Macy’s character through her personal relationship with God.

I touched on this in the earlier paragraph, but I think the author somewhat missed the mark in terms of the key element of faith in the novel. I felt that for the most part it was like any other secular romance novel and the parts about God are sometimes (not always) randomly added. I am sympathetic to the tough work it takes to create a novel with equal elements of faith and romance, but it is unfortunate to see in this case, that the romance element was the primary focus of this novel. Which it should not have been.

However in my honest opinion, this book was expertly written! Some authors struggle with keeping a reader strung on to the very end of a novel, without them skipping to the end because of the lack of suspense. Marybeth Whalen on the hand is able to masterfully weave this story with suspense, love and wit. Asides from the one-dimensional plot story, the unbalanced portion of faith vs. romance, and the sub-par character development, this book was incredible!!

I would like to express great thanks to  Zondervan Publishing, through NetGalley for providing me with this free e-book copy of The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen.

– Manuela

P.s. My next review will be posted later on today!

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