Not so in-Love, Charleston

25 08 2010

I joined a new website to review books.  It’s called Book Sneeze (see the new button on the right side of the page) and they let me choose a book, review it, and then choose another.  I get the books free of charge either mailed to me or in a PDF file.  All that they ask is that I give an honest review.  I am not obligated to like anything that they send me.  I get to choose, and the selections are limited, but I get to read free books as long as I tell them what I honestly think.  I’m sort of liking that.  I just finished my first book from them and though it’s not my norm as far as reading material, it was free and not terrible.

I read Love, Charleston by Beth Webb Hart in my free time at work and in the mornings before I went to bed.  All in all, about 4 hours of reading time.  The book purports to be a story about Anne, a bell ringer waiting on God to send her a man; and Roy, a South Carolina country boy-now single father and pastor moved to the big city.  A side story is supposed to be about Anne’s sister Lish, pregnant with her third perfect child, and Anne and Lish’s cousin Della and her marital woes and general dissatisfaction with life.  What the book ends up being is mostly about Della’s jealousy of Lish’s perfect life and Lish’s postpartum depression.  Anne is really a minor character.  Roy is in there a bit more as he has some interaction with everyone and thus is a little more present in the story. 

The characters themselves are real people.  I felt like I could have met people like them and been friends with them. 

  • Roy comes across as a great teddy bear of a man who’s lost the love of his life and worked hard to be a great pastor and teacher of God’s word while parenting his daughter Rose.  He’s just now to a point in his life where he thinks he might be ready for love again when God sends him a job in the big city of Charleston.  Roy doesn’t think he’ll fit in, but things fall in to place and he decides to make the best of it.  He is a very caring person, very driven by his love of God and his desire to spread the love of God to those who need him.  His heart breaks for his congregation and gets healed by meeting and falling in love with Anne.
  • Anne heard a message from God that said “Stay and wait” and took it to heart.  She waits, and waits, and waits.  She loves her job as a bell-ringer at St. Michael’s Church and even goes abroad to ring historical bells and learn how to be a better bell-ringer.  She’s really not all that present in the story.  She’s gone for around half of it and corresponds by letter and email with Roy. 
  • Lish is a small chunk of the story as well.  By appearances she has the perfect life.  She has her childhood home that she’s completely updated, a wonderful doctor husband, her perfect children in color coordinating outfits, and a bun in the oven.  She writes a newspaper column about raising a family that has been successful and has a great life.  After she gives birth she feels funny, which migrates to depression and psychosis.  Her ‘perfect husband’ tries to blow it off as exhaustion and Della has to step in and get her help for what is termed postpartum depression by the end of the book.
  • Della is our final main character.  I feel as if a great deal of the story revolves around her though it’s not really sold as such.  Della is working as a teacher while writing a book in her spare time.  She laments the fact that she cannot devote herself to her book full-time as she’s fearing being a ‘mid-list’ author and strives to be a money-making author.  Her husband is an amazing specimen of a man (he’s hot even in print!) that works as a freelance metal sculptor.  Together they have a daughter who seems pretty normal.  Though living the bohemian life without cell phones, a/c, money for an exterminator was cool when they were younger they now have a child who deserves more out of life.  Della also has a burning desire to have another child and is quickly approaching her 38th birthday.  She is tempted to leave her husband when she runs into an old flame, but in the true nature of Christian Fiction she thinks better and reconciles with her husband. 

There is a happy ending in the end, but it still seems unfinished.  The book is not long and it truly seems as if Ms. Hart got tired of writing and just decided to wrap it up quickly and end it.  I wanted more of the courtship of Roy and Anne.  I wanted a more in-depth look at Lish and her pregnancy and postpartum depression.  I also wanted more about how everything turned out in the end.  So much was left unfinished.  Roy and Anne aren’t married, Lish is still out of it, Della and her husband are reconciled but still taking care of Lish and their life is still on hold.  I needed more to be happy with it. 

I might read another book by Beth Webb Hart.  If it was free also.


  • If you would like to read this book and don’t want to buy it, leave a comment.  On the first I will use to choose a random winner.  You’ll have the book by the end of the month.  If you’re local to me, I’ll drop it off a lot sooner.  If I have to mail it, you have to wait until payday.  *Update!  Since there’s not much interest yet and I’m trying to plug this on a few more blogs I’m extending the giveaway to the end of September with a winner to be drawn October 4th (my birthday!) via and to receive the book no later than October 31st (providing I get contact info no later than October 10th).  Good luck! 

**Disclaimer:  I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Review.  I am not paid to review it good or bad.  I am only asked to give it an honest review, which I have done so.




2 responses

28 08 2010
Avonlea Days « The 20-Something Bibliophile

[…] of Love, Charleston here on The 20 Something Bibliophile!  Drawing will be the 1st of September! Click Here To Enter! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Anne Shirley: One of the 10 Best Teachers in […]

1 09 2010
Help a girl out! « Rockin' Some Deals

[…] **Also, I extended the giveaway of Love, Charleston to the end of the week.  Sign up while you can! […]

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