Tag Archives: magical realism

Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken

Word Lily review

Lucky Baby: A Novel by Meredith Efken (Howard Books, April 13, 2010), 293 pages

Meg Lindsay lacks one thing: Her mother’s approval. From the outside, her life would be considered successful. She’s fulfilled by her work in the orchestra she helped found, and she’s married to a successful physicist.

Lucky Baby is almost unbearably sad in the beginning; I was bawling in the first 20 pages!

I love, love, LOVE the imagery in this book. It really fits the story — helps flesh out the story. The magical realism (swirling colors, mysterious characters, and more) is a perfect fit.

This book is masterfully crafted and beautiful.

More than being just a great book, though, this story touched me. This is one of those stories that, I think, will become a part of who I am. Part of that, I’m sure, is the China aspect; I love China. Another part is the adoption aspect. But really, the book is more than the sum of its parts.

In sum: I love this book.

About the author
Meredith Efken (blog) is the author of the SAHM I Am series. She and her husband live with their two daughters in Nebraska. One of their daughters was adopted from China, and it was that experience that inspired this book.

Because Efken lives in Nebraska — yay! — this book counts as a stop on the Literary Road Trip.

Other reviews
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Divine Appointments: A Novel by Charlene Ann Baumbich (A Snowglobe Connections Novel, book 2) (WaterBrook, September 21, 2010), 336 pages

Josie’s in her late 40s, combating hot flashes and, for the first time, realizing that she didn’t exactly picture herself alone at this point in her life. On top of that, this year’s job, a one-year contract to clean up and slim down Diamond Mutual is more of a challenge than any other. Will she fulfill her contract on time?

I really liked how subtle the connection was between the first Snowglobe Connections book, Stray Affections [my review], and this one.

This book (and the one preceding it, actually) doesn’t have the pervading sense of wonder and mystery that I associate with elements of magical realism, but this story does have an object that behaves abnormally. The reason I wouldn’t call it magical realism is because the characters think it’s strange, crazy even, when such things happen, rather than taking it in stride.

The timing for this book’s release feels apropos to me, in that it deals with a down economy.

Although published by a Christian publishing house, Divine Appointments has little talk of God. Only secondary characters actively believe or even wrestle with faith — although their faith does seem to pervade the book.

One aspect of the book I didn’t enjoy was the inclusion of pieces of one character’s novel-in-progress; sure, it at least sometimes presented a different angle on a situation in the book, but I was distracted by the transition and annoyed by the poor writing.

Like Stray Affections, I quite enjoyed this story. Baumbich, I think, does a good job connecting to her readers. Her characters are relatable, down to earth.

I’ll continue reading this series, and I’d like to get my hands on the Dearest Dorothy series.

About the author
Charlene Baumbich (@TwinkleChar) is passionate about rejuvenating lives through humor. In addition to the Snowglobe Connections novels, she’s the author of the Dearest Dorothy series and several nonfiction books. She and her husband live in Illinois.

Other reviews
Books, Movies & Chinese Food
Devourer of Books
A Peek at My Bookshelf
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the author. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

The Miracle of Mercy Land: A Novel by River Jordan (WaterBrook, September 7, 2010), 352 pages

Mercy Land’s life is settled, and she’s content. She lives at Miss Perry’s boarding house, she’s Doc’s go-to girl at the Bay City newspaper (the Banner), and she visits her family every weekend on nearby Bittersweet Creek. She loves her job, as well as Bay City and her roots. She knows who she is. But then a very strange book shows up at the newspaper office in the middle of the night. The book reveals the lives of the people in Bay City.

I was really looking forward to this book, since I read River Jordan’s Saints in Limbo [my review] last year and fell in love. So, yes, my expectations going into The Miracle of Mercy Land were very high.

I’m happy to say those expectations were fully met! I loved this book. I can’t say at this point whether I loved this one or Saints in Limbo more.

The writing thrilled me, right from the beginning.

“The events that lay before us as a nation were a large, uncharted territory, watery in their shifting possibilities. The only thing certain was that the future would have to reveal itself in due time, and most likely it would be different from anything we had expected. In the meantime we went through our daily routine with a type of laughter we hoped would stave off impending enemies and allow our sacred routines to remain a part of our carefully plotted lives. For the moment the edges of our existence played out sweetly, simply, and untouched by the things we knew were happening beyond the borders of our existence. There was a whole ocean between us and trouble. It seemed like an ocean should be enough.”

~ page 3, The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan; emphasis added

The setting (coastal smalltown Alabama) is beautifully depicted; it lives. (Speaking of, this book is set in the 1930s, but for the most part the time period isn’t all that relevant.) The characters are flawed but clearly drawn and sympathetic. The story itself is grand. Is that high enough praise?

I will probably read every book Jordan writes.

Other than Saints in Limbo and The Miracle of Mercy Land (both published by WaterBrook), Jordan is also the author of:

About the author
River Jordan (@RealRiverJordan) teaches and speaks across the country on the power of story. She and her husband and their Great Pyrenees, Titan, live in Nashville. She began her writing career as a playwright and spent over 10 years with the Loblolly Theatre group, where her original works were produced, including Mama Jewels: Tales from Mullet Creek, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, and Virga.

I hope to have an interview with the author to post soon!

Other reviews
Reading to Know
Lighthouse Academy
2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.