Monday, November 14, 2016

"From This Day Forward" by Lauraine Snelling

From This Day Forward by Lauraine Snelling is the fourth book in the Song of Blessing series. I hadn't read any of the other books in the series, but that did not cause me any trouble. If you're familiar with the series though, you may already know some of the side characters.

Image result for from this day forward snelling
In this story, Deborah MacCallister is a lovesick nurse who can't get any attention from Toby, the man she spend the whole book (and most of her life since childhood) pining over. Toby is a construction foreman who spends all of his time trying to build a new school for deaf children. Between her own busy hospital shifts, Deborah tries a few desperate measures to win his affections. She takes him food, does his laundry, and even enlists the help of the women of the town to help push the two together. When a handsome new school teacher arrives in town, Toby is suddenly very concerned that he might lose Deborah, though he doesn't really act upon those fears until she goes away for a month-long hospital-training trip in Chicago.

Though the main point of contention in the novel is "who will Deborah choose?" between her childhood crush and the school teacher, the latter doesn't arrive until two-thirds into the book. Further, she doesn't really even seriously consider him as an option, which ends up leaving the main story of the book "when will Toby and Deborah get together."

The book also features several in-depth side stories, some of which seem to get as much if not more page space than Deborah and Toby. There's wild dogs that must be hunted, a spat between siblings, and a nonverbal mother raising her infant child with the help of other women of the community. Though all of these sub-plots add to the picture of Blessing as an idyllic Christian town, it also just takes up a lot of extra pages, obscuring the main point of the book. I really liked some of the characters and was invested in the Deborah-Toby-school teacher romance, but it took way to long to for anything to actually happen.

The book gives a nice overview of a Christ-focused community and includes several prayers and mentions of Bible passages. Perhaps those already familiar with the Blessing series will be much more entertained by the sweeping descriptions of everyone else's lives in the community. For me, I'd have to pass as there isn't enough of a story here.

I received a free copy of this book, but was not required to write a positive review.