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If you’re new around these parts, Recent Reads is a monthly blog series where I recap the books that I read the previous month. I’ve been an avid reader since I was 6 years old and I’ve read thousands of books since then…. but reading so many books can be a problem because I tend to forget what I’ve previously read! I believe that life is too short and there are too many good books to spend time re-reading books, so I created this blog series as a way of recording which books I’ve read and to inspire others in finding new books to read as well.
I used to read anywhere from 5-20 books per month, depending on my life situation at the time. Right now, my goal is to read 2 books per month. Sometimes, I pick a “theme” for a particular month’s reading. This month’s selections didn’t really have a theme, other than being books on my shelf that I hadn’t read yet 😉 As a reminder, a summary of the books (from Amazon or GoodReads) is provided in italics with my review of the book below.
Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiance– she feels trapped in the engagement after a mistaken night of passion. Still, she grieves Linus when he’s lost in battle, and the letters sent to her by medic Peter Hess, who stayed by Linus’s side as he lay dying, give her a strange comfort. So much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter, a wholesome Iowa farm boy. But is he? Peter is hiding a secret, something that could cost them both dearly, especially when the past comes back to life. In this bittersweet home-front battle between duty and the heart, only one will prevail.
I originally bought this book from the bargain section at LifeWay when I worked there almost 2.5 years ago (it seems like just yesterday!) but had never gotten around to reading it until then. Imagine my surprise when I was reading a few weeks ago and discovered the main male character is from Mason City, Iowa… the same town where my husband and I currently live! When I first bought this book, I was “single and ready to mingle.” I had never heard of Mason City. Heck, I thought I would never even visit Iowa, much less move there a few weeks after my first wedding anniversary. Y’all. God has such a funny sense of humor.
If you’ve read any of my previous Recent Reads posts (like this one or this one), you’ll notice I have a thing for romantic historical fiction, especially Christian romantic historical fiction books. So it was no surprise that I would enjoy this one. There were some plot twists in this book that I honestly didn’t see coming– so much so I audibly gasped as I sat on the couch reading and had to give Andy a synopsis of the book. I loved the book’s overall theme of grace and forgiveness. This book focused on the emotions and feelings that come from war, which I honestly preferred over a typical war novel’s in-depth action scenes; it’s much harder to engross readers in a book based on emotions versus action, but Ms. Warren managed to do so. The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that there isn’t a sequel because I found myself wondering what happened to the main characters after the book ends.
As a relatively new active duty military spouse, Claire walks readers through many of the common trials of active duty life. From assignments, relocation, making friends and reinventing yourself at each new duty station, to the painful moments of the deployment and reintegration, she shares her personal struggles to make sense of what it means to be a supportive military spouse and do her part to keep her own heart and marriage mission ready. As a Christian, Claire explores the idea of what it means to live in full submission to God, her husband, and her country. With humor and deep emotion, she shares how this isn’t her natural, typical response. You might even say she has gone kicking and screaming (and sometimes crying) at every turn.
Claire’s journey as a military spouse was entirely different than my own: while my husband had been in the Army for 4 years when we wed, Claire and her husband had been married for years and parents to 3 children before they even thought about the military. While her husband was in seminary with plans to become a pastor, God called him to Army chaplaincy. Despite our differences in how we became military wives, Claire’s struggles in adjusting to this new lifestyle were the same ones I faced: relocation issues, career issues, making friends, and a bit of an identity crisis. Each chapter of the memoir ended with sections on what Claire needed, what her husband needed, God’s use for the trial, and questions for reflection, which I found incredibly helpful so that readers can learn from her mistakes. One of the things that I found most interesting was that as a Chaplain’s wife, Claire has a role of ministering to fellow military spouses (just like in the civilian church, pastors’ wives also have a leadership role.) I really enjoyed how this book looked at life as a military wife through the author’s Christian faith.
Based on over three decades of counseling, as well as scientific and biblical research, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah, have already taken the Love & Respect message across America and are changing the way couples talk to, think about, and treat each other… A wife has one driving need–to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need– to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy. When either of these needs isn’t met, things get crazy. Love & Respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily, and biblically.
This book, although titled Love And Respect, seemed to focus mostly on respect. By that, I mean primarily on women needing to respect their husbands and not husbands needing to love their wives. Granted, unconditional love is more common in society than unconditional respect, but it still felt like the book was more aimed at women’s shortcomings than men’s. The entire book focuses on one Bible verse (Ephesians 5:33). At over 300 pages, it was long and felt repetitive; in my opinion, it’s about 280 pages too long. That being said, I did find the overall aspect of showing love and respect to be helpful, although I do worry that some may use it as justification for spousal abuse.
What did you read in April?
What will you read in May?