Friday, October 7, 2011

CFBA Blog Tour and Book Review: House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson/5 Stars




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
House of Secrets
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
by
Tracie Peterson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.

She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max. She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When her father orchestrates a surprise trip to the summer house of her childhood, Bailee Cooper is unprepared for what follows. What is intended to be a happy reunion for Bailee and her sisters, Geena and Piper, quickly becomes shrouded by memories from the past.

Together again, the three sisters sift through their recollections of fifteen years ago...of an ill mother, and of their father making a desperate choice. They vowed, as children, to be silent--but one sister believes the truth must now be revealed. Yet can they trust their memories?

Mark Delahunt arrives in the wake of this emotional turmoil. Determined to win Bailee's affection, Mark becomes the strong fortress for her in this time of confusion, and what was once a tentative promise begins to take root and grow. Caught between the past and an uncertain future, can Bailee let God guide her to heal the past and ultimately to embrace love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of House of Secrets, go HERE.

My thoughts:

I'm having the hardest time putting into words how great this book was.  To be totally honest, I wasn't sure what to expect after looking at the front cover and being less than impressed. However, Tracie Peterson has always written excellent contemporary novels, and I should've never doubted that this novel would be equally as good.

This was the second time this year that I've read a Christian book that dealt with mental illness. The family in House of Secrets has lived their lives based on years and years of secrets that were all rooted in the mother's illness of paranoid schizophrenia.  And truly, no one felt the weight of those secrets more than Bailee, the main character.  To be told as a child that you're responsible for your two sisters, and then on the flip side, to be told that it's your fault if anything happens to them was heartbreaking to read.  As a result, Bailee's childhood was so far from normal, it wasn't even funny.

The emotions were all over the place, too.  Fear, hurt, regret, and anger were all portrayed so realistically that I felt like I was part of the story.  Mind you, I've got enough drama in my own life that I don't need to borrow these folks', but I couldn't help but wonder how I would react if faced with a situation like this.  Would I be like the church members whose reacted with disdain and judgment, or would I be more like Mark--unafraid to step in to be a rock for Bailee in her time of need? 

Trying to describe this book has been so hard to do.  That's why I said in the beginning that I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words.  Sometimes, books come along that are so broad and meaningful, there's really nothing left to say except it was a great book.  I can't wrap up years of lies, secrets, and omissions in a nice box with a pretty little bow through a review.  It's impossible.  So, I'll close by saying if you're a fan of Tracie Peterson's contemporary novels, get your hands on this book.  It will challenge your thinking through some difficult subjects that will make you wonder how you might respond if faced with the same situations.  I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read it.

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

**Many thanks to Bethany House and CFBA for providing a copy for review.

7 comments:

  1. Sounds good. I've always enjoyed TP's work.

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  2. Hmm... I love most of Tracie's novels and/or series (including those she co-authors with Judith: they are always fabulous!), but I wasn't really sold on reading this one. Actually, I kind of forgot about it.

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  3. I'm not usually a contemporary fan but after reading your review I will have to get this one!

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  4. Juju~

    Me, too...I just haven't read as many books of hers as I would have liked. :o(

    Rissi~

    I've read one of TP's series with Judith (Postcards from Pullman?), and read all three in rapid succession...I enjoyed them so much! If you enjoy reading contemp. books, though, I would encourage you to try this one.

    Anne~

    I hope you'll have the opportunity to read it soon! :o)

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  5. I have this one on my teetering TBR pile. Your review has intrigued me enough to shuffle it onto the top of the pile!

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  6. I read this book as well...and was truly challenged with how I would react to those who suffer from mental illness if they stepped into the four walls of our church. Many times, I think we are uneducated about mental illness and we are more scared than judgmental. We don't know how to deal with it and it would seem easier to push those away than face the truth that we don't have the answer to help. I loved how Tracie made it so clear that there are times when mental illness could be a demonic attack and it could be because of our fallen nature. I think, as Christians, when we can't quite figure out what do to with someone who is mentally ill...we label them demon possessed. It's a sad truth. This book definitely challenged my thinking toward mental illness.

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  7. Being the daughter of a mentally ill mom, Tracie and I talked a lot about what it's like when churches don't know what to do with mentally ill people and the families of the mentally ill. It's so very hard because Christians aren't normally trained on how to handle such a hard situation. But we at least need to stop trying to put the mentally ill in a box. None are the same. Families are so ashamed or struggling. It's often harsh and alienating for the families trying to avoid judgment or people we want to love and befriend staying away out of fear. I so appreciate Tracie's portrayal of many issues involved in dealing with this terrible affliction.
    Angie

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I love me some comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)