Saturday, November 6, 2010
Saturday Review of Books: Linda Hall's Sadie's Song
This book review was originally written in 2003 and posted on my now-defunct website. Sadie's Song is such a good book, though, that it's well-deserving of a second look...and actually, a first look by those of you who have never read it!
Here's my review:
How many times have you heard the cliche, "This book was so good I couldn't put it down," or "this is a real page-turner"? Well, I can truthfully say both about Sadie's Song by Linda Hall (Multnomah). I picked up the book when a power outage gave me some serious spare time, and I literally read it straight through, stopping only for a few short breaks for absolute necessities! Yes, Sadie's Song is that riveting.
I had enjoyed a few of Linda Hall's previous books, including Katheryn's Peace and Island of Refuge, noting that Hall's is a unique voice in Christian fiction.
Her style is realistic and matter-of-fact, yet powerful and even beautiful, drawing the reader in with characters so believable you half expect to get a phone call from one of them, and stories so compelling and intriguing, you can't rest until you've reached the end. And then, you're disappointed that the ride is over!
Sadie's Song is the story of Sadie Thornton-- an average, slightly overweight and disorganized but loving mom of five. To all outward appearances, despite a house that's too small and money that's too tight, Sadie has a fine life--a handsome, loving husband who is a pillar of his church, and five beautiful children.
But appearances can be deceiving, as we're about to find out.
The story opens with Sadie's church prayer chain requesting prayer for a little girl who has disappeared. The news of the missing girl shocks the Maine fishing village where Sadie lives, especially since it follows another recent missing child case that ended in tragedy.
The case of the missing little girl is woven throughout the story. But even as that case touches Sadie's life on several levels, we see her precarious existence begin to unravel. She must deal with her increasingly volatile husband as well as each of her children, who are acting out in various ways--particularly her violent five-year-old son.
Meantime, well-meaning church members have been misled about her situation, the mom of the missing girl wants to be her friend, and Sadie...who long ago sacrificed her significant musical talent for her husband...is hearing mysterious music that no one else seems to hear.
As we discover more about the domestic violence Sadie lives with, and the new suspicions that plague her, we find ourselves becoming ever more sympathetic and drawn to her.
Will Sadie have the courage to stand up to her husband and take control of her life? Will she re-embrace her long-abandoned musical talent? And most importantly, will she find that God has not deserted her?
These questions, interwoven with the mystery of the missing little girl, do indeed keep the pages turning.
Linda Hall belongs to an online message board frequented by Christian women, and she asked them for their personal stories of being abused by Christian husbands. This research, shocking and sad as it is, helps lend a tone of authenticity to this powerful tale.
Since writing Sadie's Song, Linda Hall has written several more excellent books, mainly focusing on mysteries and suspense. I've read every one I could get my hands on, and thoroughly enjoyed every one! Find out more about Linda and her books on her website.
I'm linking to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. Click on the icon to take part!