Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Book Review: The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz/5 Stars
Beauty is sometimes found in the most unlikely places.
In 1929, the train brought strangers to small-town Levy, SC. There was a struggle--and a fire--and the lives of four childhood friends would never be the same. Eighty years later, George and Magnolia Jacobs are living out their remaining days in Harmony House in Charleston. When an anonymous portrait arrives of a younger Maggie, George realizes there are things he still doesn't know about his wife. And when an old stranger moves in just down the hall, their past seems to be coming full-circle. Like it or not, George must now remember things from long ago in order to set himself--and all of the childhood friends--free from what happened in Levy.
The Inheritance of Beauty is an entrancing story about beauty and age, about the blessings and curses of each, and how the true beauty of a person, like true love, never fades.
I feel like any words I say about this book will be so inadequate. It's just that books like this rarely cross my path, maybe because I don't go out of my way to read them. What kind of book is that? Part sadness, part pain, while also moving slowly, but deliberately. Then, when I get my hands on a book like this, it always ends up that I love it or hate it. Hardly does it fall somewhere in between.
The Inheritance of Beauty was a book that definitely fell on the "loved it" side of the equation. And even after I've put it down, I still can't put my finger on what captivated me so much about these characters. They're nothing spectacular. Nobody did anything that changed the world. They were just ordinary folk that were not far away from death's door. In my opinion, George was the main character of the story. He was like an open book; I always knew what was going through his mind. At times, he was complacent, other times a bit hateful, but at all times, he loved his sweet wife, Maggie, in a way that caused tears to come to my eyes. At one moment, he said, "I have loved Maggie since before I knew what love was. She is love to me. Without her, there is nothing for me here." Oh, to have a love that pure, that selfless from one person to another. That, indeed, is a most beautiful thing.
As I read more and more novels, I have come to a conclusion about something. Authors should always write about what they know. When I discover that a particular book is loosely based on real life events, I can't seem to put it down. Just knowing that this book was partially based on a photo of the author's grandmother, and how that photo had been a part of the history of her family, made this story so much more real. I felt like I was peaking into a diary, only to discover that their family wasn't much different than my own. We all have skeletons in our closets; it's just a matter of how much or how little we let them shape the rest of our lives.
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to review this book as I doubt it would have ever crossed my path otherwise. This book had a little bit of a literary flair, which I'm not normally too crazy about, but it worked so well here. I can do nothing but give this book 5 stars, as well as a huge recommendation for people who love deep, and meaningful stories. I know that The Inheritance of Beauty will stay in my mind and heart for days to come, as I'm sure it will for many others.
**Many thanks to Thomas Nelson through the BookSneeze program for providing a copy for review.