Saturday, May 22, 2010

‘This Fine Life’ by Eva Marie Everson – Book Review

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The latest book I have read, ‘This Fine Life’ by Eva Marie Everson, is written in the first person voice of the main character, Mariette Puttnam, who lived in small town Georgia.

Here is the synopsis of the book from the back cover:

It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school.  When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn't sure where life will take her.  More schooling?  A job?  Marriage?  Nothing feels right.  How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father's apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?
In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes you on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown.  Discover the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.

In the Acknowledgements, Ms. Everson shares her purpose for this story:

Still, when we do what God calls us to do and go where God calls us to go, we are blessed with a fine life.  A very fine life indeed.  That’s what this story is designed to do, to share with you, the reader, that our steps are ordered by God, but, in the end, we have to take those steps.  And if we just trust him during the journey, we are blessed. (p. 8)

The story is told from the point of view of Mariette, who is returning home to her parents’ home.  When she visits her father’s company to accompany him to lunch one day, she happens upon a handsome young man named Thayne Scott.  Sparks fly, but their future is in doubt, as her parents have certain expectations for how her life will turn out.  Her father wants her to graduate from college, and come work at his company, The Fox and Hound Manufacturing Company; her mother expects her to marry a gentleman who would come from the small social strata as herself.  Handsome Thayne was the son of a farmer.

Here is how Mariette describes Thayne upon first meeting him:

I took in his eyes, then, nearly drowning in them.  Dark blue.  So dark they could pass as black in the right light, or lack thereof.  His hair was a mass of soft blond curls he tried to tame, combed back in the style of Robert Wagner.  But it was his smile that made her heart flip.  Broad, white teeth showing, dimple digging into his right cheek. (p. 32)

Sounds irresistible to me!

Thayne had a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ; Mariette could not relate to people who held those views.  She had attended a Lutheran church with her family her whole life; she thought that was all that was required to be a Christian.  Here she explains her mindset:

The real question for me wasn’t where I stood with God.  It was why I couldn’t seem to grasp what [Thayne] and best friends – Missy and Ward – had… I lay awake, staring at the tiles in the ceiling, tracing lines between their swirling patterns with my eyes, feeling pretty much the way I had at Saint Margaret Mary’s [her boarding school].  The outsider looking in.  The one who, though she went through all the motions – saying and doing the right things at all the suitable times – was in fact six steps behind, always trying to catch up but never quite making it. (p. 122)

Missy provides her interpretation of Mariette’s issue with God:

“See, Mariette, God has a family.  Yahweh is our Father.  Jesus is our Brother.  And we’re all brothers and sisters in him. But you don’t think you belong.  You somehow believe that you should be on the outside looking in, rather than inside the family home, enjoying the party.”  She took a breath.  “Do you want to know what else I think?”
I wasn’t sure, but I nodded anyway.  “I think you know all that; you just don’t know how much God loves you and wants you inside the house.”  Her face was as serious as I’d ever seen her.  “But one day you’re going to see a door swing open and God standing there, and you’re going to run to him, Mariette.  You’re going to run into the house.” (pp. 315-316)

As this book is set in the early 1960s, one of the seminal events of this period of history – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 – is mentioned.  Here is how Mariette describes life at that time:

In the days following President Kennedy’s assassination and the murder of his accused killer, the country reeled as I’d never witnessed.  Logan’s Creek was no exception.  Although fully Republican and Protestant, the citizens there were first and foremost Americans.  As I passed by their clusters, either along Main Street or at the church…., I often heard, “I didn’t vote for him, but I didn’t want him dead.” Or, “I didn’t care for him much, but he was still the president.” (p. 246)

I really was absorbed by this tender and sweet novel.  For one thing, it’s set in small town Georgia – I love the South!  Another thing is that it was neat to read a book set during the early 1960s.  It was interesting to hear the characters talk about Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and the aforementioned JFK, among others.  The USA still was in its period of innocence, and it was precious to see how these characters reacted to each other.  I thank Ms. Everson for bringing this era and these wonderful characters to vibrant life!

Here is the biography of the author:

Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker, a popular radio personality, and the award-winning author of Things Left Unspoken. She is coauthor of The Potluck Club series and The Potluck Catering Club series. She lives in Florida.

You can order this book here.

Available May 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  This book was provided by Revell for review purposes.


Martha A. said...

This book has interested me because of the cover mostly, but your description makes me want to read it more! Thanks for sharing!

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Martha -

You're welcome,and thanks for the kind words! This is a really sweet book that continues to resonate in my spirit. Living for the Lord truly will result in a 'Fine Life'!

Blessings -


Eva Marie said...

Thank you so much for your kind words!

Eva Marie Everson
This Fine Life

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Eva Marie -
You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!
Blessings -

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