I don't review many books here. That may seem strange, considering what a bibliophile I am, but traces of my shy-girl persona som...
Book Review: The House at Rose Creek
I don't review many books here. That may seem strange, considering what a bibliophile I am, but traces of my shy-girl persona sometimes linger, and reviewing books feels . . . pushy. Who am I to recommend a book to someone? To say, immerse yourself in this world, YOU WILL LOVE IT! Thing is, I don't know if you'll love it or not. So generally speaking, I keep my opinions between me and Goodreads, and leave it at that.
But every once in awhile I read a book that sets my imagination on fire, or fills my heart to that overflowing point where everything in me spills over in the most wonderful of ways. Those are the times when you'll see a book review post from me, because to not post one would feel WRONG.
This, as you may have guessed, is one of those times.
Which is weird, because I don't read a lot of LDS-themed fiction. Sometimes it's fabulous, sometimes it's . . . not fabulous? And I'm too lazy to sort through the genre to figure out which ones fall into which category for me. So I'll confess to being nervous when my friend Jenny asked me to critique her book for her. Because I LOVE this woman, and the thought of not loving her work was more than a little unsettling for me. But I got past the fear and started reading . . . and kept on until I finished the book several hours later.
Yeah, it's one of the fabulous ones. Definitely. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I begged Jenny to become one of my critique partners, and I've been lucky enough to read other work of hers and people, this gal CONTINUES TO AMAZE. I hope you get your hands on a copy of this, her debut novel. She defied my expectations, and I'm sure she'll defy yours.
Here's my official review:
The House at Rose Creek is as heart-warming as both the title and cover art imply. It doesn't have the artifice that many debut novels do, and at its core is a sincerity that will speak to a broad range of readers.
Woven into Kate's story is a beautiful focus on family history, and how the stories of our ancestors can touch our own lives. Normally, I find such topics a little stodgy and boring, but Proctor brings them to life in a way that feels genuine and relatable. I even got a bit misty more than once, and of the hundreds (okay, possibly thousands) of books I've read over the course of my life, only a couple dozen have managed that very difficult feat.
Although there are elements of LDS culture in this novel, I didn't find them to be exclusionary, and I believe the faith aspect of Kate's journey will appeal to people of all faiths. If readers take the time to really get to know Kate the way I did, I believe they will be touched by her authenticity, and inspired by her perseverance. Like all the best characters from all the best stories, she is deeply flawed and thoroughly human. I loved watching how she translated her struggles into personal growth.
Perhaps my favourite part of this story, though it isn't strictly speaking a "romance", is how real the love story felt to me. It wasn't a fairytale, it was gritty and believable without being overly dramatic. For me, it was the perfect balance in so many ways, and I'm already looking forward to reading it again. I highly recommend this book, and can't wait to see more from this author. I get the sense that she has many more stories for us.
VanderVision Tip of the Day: Share the Awesome.
About author: Kimberly VanderHorst
Kimberly Vanderhorst wrote her first book when she was seven (it was totally awesome, but the world isn't ready for it yet), and her next when she was twenty-seven. When asked to account for the intervening decades, she likes to suggest the possibility of alien abduction with as straight a face as possible.