Monday, October 24, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

Being a book review blogger has afforded me the opportunity of reading books by authors that I've never read before...this is the case with Susan Meissner.  A Sound Among the Trees is the first book I've read by Meissner.

I chose to review this book because I've grown to love historical fiction, stemming from my interest in researching my family's history.  As a school-aged child and well into my teens, my least favorite school subject was history.  But when I discovered the roles my family's descendants played within our nation's history, it took on a whole new light.  When I read the snippet description of this story it intrigued me because I've been following the family's descendants and their roles in the Civil War - this story was billed as a modern-day story interwoven with a Civil War story.

I wasn't expecting it to read so much superstition and "ghost story".  It wasn't just a case of a 'ghost' haunting the house, but the house itself taking on the role of being the 'unhappy spirit' - so to me the book really stepped out and away from the Christian aspect of the genre. Let me just say, I'm not big into "ghost stories" of any kind. I don't think that "ghost stories" (paranormal stories) mesh with a Christian perspective, especially in this story with the medium, a seeming compulsion to ghosts and other supernatural phenomena. To me, this was a big let down.

In most of the books/stories I read, I make a connection with the characters, but that didn't happen in this story. In fact, finding out some of the background of this author, especially that she's a pastor's wife, sort of left me wondering what she was thinking with this story line and with the characters - mainly due to the type of language found in the story, especially in the way the Lord's name was used in ways that didn't bring glory to His name and so forth.  I actually lost a lot of interest in the story itself.  It was a chore to finish the book.

In my opinion, this story really does not fit into the category of Christian fiction. It only contains the slightest mention of God with no reference to salvation or living a Christian life. While I don’t think a book needs to be overly preachy to get the point across I expect more for one to be called Christian fiction. 

I don't like to give poor reviews, but there are times when a book just doesn't set well with me and in those rare times, I must be true to my feelings.  Just because I didn't enjoy this particular type of story doesn't mean that everyone is going to feel this way - to each his/her own, I say.  But for me, this just wasn't what I'd expected in a good Civil War historical fiction story and I wouldn't recommend this story to my friends.

I do wish to thank WaterBrook-Multnomah and their Blogging for Books program for providing me with this complimentary copy in exchange for my review.

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