Friday, July 25, 2008

Book Review: The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill

I have to begin my review by saying this novel is very different from Patti’s Garden Gates Series in tone and flavor. I loved her earlier writing and was excited to see she had a new novel coming out.

Written first-person, The Queen of Sleepy Eye is a coming-of-age story with very real characters. Patti deftly immerses the reader into her character’s worlds. You feel you’re reading a true account of real people as you work through. Personally, books set in the 1970s are not my favorite (and I’ve just finished two of them for review; sounds like a conspiracy!). For romance lovers, there is some here, surrounding morality issues. But this is women's fiction, not romance. What kept this romance lover reading was wanting to find out how these characters were going to face their weaknesses and live up to their potential, or see if they would continue to settle for second best and live down to their failures. I look for hope in Christian fiction. I believe it’s the key element (immoral scenarios/language aside) which separates our work (as in musical genres—secular compared with Christian) from secular novels. Patti did not disappoint. She didn’t tie everything up perfectly with perfected characters (what’s realistic about that?). Instead she took her characters through some dark moments and decisions and let us watch them climb back out, aching for them along the way.

One of Patti’s strengths is her characterization. In her Podcast at her website, you can hear the background info about this book. ( You’ll learn how the title came first, then the setting, then the source of tension. The characters were hatched last and skillfully so.

For readers who appreciate a good coming-of-age story with realistic characters, I recommend this book. Look for its release September 1, 2008.

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