Sunday, March 9, 2014

Beyond The Shadow Of The Brownstone by Valerie Lawrence ~ review

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Carpenters Son Publishing (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989372294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989372299

This book is also available as an ebook.

VM Lawrence uses the mastery of literary structure to introduce each of her characters as they transition from the "Old World" culture to their newly adopted Country and bring with them the love of family and the need of education. The skill which she uses brings the reader visual details of the actions and characters as they come alive is brilliant. This fictional novel touches on the third rail of politics, "Abortion" and is handled with such delicate and sensitive construction that one is not aware of the suspense that is building with the struggles and conflict generated by this adventure. BROWNSTONE pulses with life and death, sorrow and joy. We hold on for dear life traversing through the wild turbulence of trials, tragedies and triumphs. Knowing that Children are the spiritual and corporal legacy, the family is fractured when abortion becomes a very real issue. The psychological impact presents thought provoking ideas that are intended to impact the reader. Brownstone focuses on the inner story which drives the plot in an attempt to elicit the emotional involvement of the reader. The reader emerges through the storm weathered and worn, but with the realization that life is precious, fleeting and fragile; and, with the knowledge that a life full of joy, hope and peace is possible, only after forgiveness. VM Lawrence reminds us that those living in depths of despair, or struggling with family problems, can find solace by offering them the wisdom that a broken, bitter and battered heart can be transformed through forgiveness, faith and trust, into a heart filled with unconditional acceptance and unending love.

My take on this book:
Beyond The Shadow of the Brownstone is a story about family. It opens with the reader meeting Grace and George Miller, educators who decide to take teaching positions in an inner city school. They feel that education is the key to equality and want to make a difference, while Grace's parents are disappointed, George's grandfather decides it's time to give his grandson the house, a Brownstone that has housed the family, with the hopes that Grace and George will soon fill the rooms with children. While Grace wants children George doesn't want children ever!So when Grace becomes pregnant she decides to end the pregnancy rather than face the wrath of her husband. Her choice to tell no one is a heavy burden to carry,the all consuming guilt she feels at taking another life is something she can't get past. She decides to channel that guilt into another direction and help others in her situation in the hopes that she might keep someone else from making the same mistake she did.

This was a story that pulled me in and kept me reading. A multi-generational story of family, that touches on a very tough subject. A gripping story that certainly elicits emotion, with Grace's choice I really didn't want to like her, but the longer I read the more empathy I felt for her, as she tried to save the unborn, because she knew the emotional upheaval and guilt of making the choice to end a life, after all the choice she made continued to haunt her.I think anyone who enjoys family drama, will find this a compelling read. It was quite interesting to see this family span generations and witness how some things changed but also how they also stay the same.   A story that I continued to think about long after I finished the final pages.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

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