Skip to main content

Lisa Samson's Quaker Summer

“Every year I think there must be more to life. And every year—despite a new car or a trip to a new land, new milestones and triumphs in my son’s life, or a redone deck, a pool, a spa, or entertainment system—I take stock and think once again, I was made for more than this. But I love my stuff.”

Sometimes we choose a book because of its cover, or perhaps because we want to be entertained. It's rare when a fiction book has the capacity and the potential to change lives. Lisa Samson's Quaker Summer does exactly that.

Heather Curridge is Everywoman. Everywoman in an upper-middle-class sort of way, that is. She’s got it all, yet she feels discontented and unhappy. Outrageous spending sprees don’t help. Volunteering at her son’s school only stresses her out more. Planning a tennis court in their backyard doesn’t help. She can’t even find a church she likes. Heather feels as though her entire life is in turmoil. Everything is changing all around her and she hardly even knows her own mind.

That is, until the night she and her doctor husband get lost in an unsavory part of town. There they meet Sister Jerusha of the Hotel, a homeless shelter. Heather finds herself inexplicably drawn to the people there.

If that’s not enough to rock Heather’s precariously-balanced world, a car accident brings her to the door of Liza and Anna, two older Quaker sisters who care for her in their home as she recovers from her injuries.

Throughout the rest of the summer, Heather undergoes a transformation of the mind, the spirit, and the “stuff.” She gains clarity and strengthened faith through the relationships she nurtures. Her marriage is nearly in proportion to the amount of money she isn’t spending and the stuff she is getting rid of. She gets to know her son and his heart for ministry.

I identified strongly with the yearnings of Heather’s heart. Who wouldn’t love a woman who says, “I’m living in a puzzle”? She is frustratingly, endearingly human. In a sense, she is me (the wanting to change part, not the rich and spendy part). Striking a balance between her old and new self, her current life and friends—it’s a very real struggle I believe all women face. There’s got to be more to life than this. The good news is, there IS more.

Lisa Samson takes us along on Heather’s wild journey. In doing so, she encourages us to pursue our own faith walk and find our own balance of life, the Gospel, Christ, serving others, and cake.
With several older and wiser peripheral characters, we have the privilege of witnessing Heather's transformation and embracing of the "ministry of presence," and it is good. It is very good.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Church of the Small Things

I am thrilled to review and recommend Melanie Shankle's latest book, Church of the Small Things (not an affiliate link, but takes you to the autographed edition at Barnes and Noble).

Church of the Small Things is a wonderful, lovely, encouraging, and thought-provoking collection of essays about the little things in life. And not just the little things, or that we should be grateful for those little things--although that is certainly true. But it's more about how we notice and remember the people in our lives. We sometimes remember them in big ways, but more often we remember them by the little things in their lives, and the little ways they made us feel special. Or the little things they said or did that made them uniquely themselves. 

I tend to read and then want to immediately apply what I have learned in my own life. What this book has done for me is make me more aware of what I may or may not be doing to help others see God. I am a teacher, and there are days I love my job, …

Summer at Bluebell Bank: a Review

Summer at Bluebell Bank by Jen Mouat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great debut from author Jen Mouat. My friend recommended it to me as something to read that is the same flavor and feel as Maeve Binchy, and I would agree.

Friendship, family, memories and loves lost and found again. These are just a few of the things Mouat brings into light throughout the novel, in the charming setting of small-town Scotland, with a summer home and a bookstore supplying plenty of fun as a setting.

This book has a lot going on, and by the end a whole large cast of characters that might feel a tad overwhelming. Nevertheless, I liked it very much and would recommend it to fans of Binchy and similar British women's fiction writers.

From the publisher:

Returning home is never smooth sailing…

Summoned by her childhood best friend, Kate Vincent doesn’t stop to think. Instead she books at one-way ticket from New York back to Wigtown, Scotland, leaving her glittering new life behind. Scenes of idyllic…

Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs

Annie F. Downs is probably one of the most conversational writers I've ever read. Internal monologue? Check. Questions? Check. Answers? Sometimes in the form of more questions. Check.

Enter her latest book, Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter.

Looking for Lovely sounded like a great book for me. Collecting moments? Yes. Loveliness everywhere? Yes, please. I'm still in awe that not only did my copy of the book come in an envelope complete with party confetti, it's signed by the author!


It's like a party!

And then I started reading. And it was hard.

I'm not sure why this book was such a difficult read for me. Is it because so much of it touched the tender parts of my heart? Because I completely related to the self-loathing and pain and "broken crazy" Annie Downs describes?

Yes. Yes, I think, to all of the above and more.


 It has become even harder for me in recent years to believe in the deepest parts of me that I am truly worthy of the lo…