A moving, richly satisfying read: My review of "Five Miles South of Peculiar" by Angela Hunt @angiehunt
Read on for a preview and review of a book from one of my favourite authors of contemporary Christian fiction, Angela Hunt!
ABOUT THE BOOK
If these three sisters don’t change direction, they’ll end up where they’re going.
Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.
Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.
Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.
Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.
Angela Hunt has long impressed me as an author who can take seemingly ordinary characters and soon have them feeling like friends and people I genuinely care about. In Five Miles South of Peculiar, she again succeeds at bringing to life the three Caldwell sisters Darlene, Carlene and Magnolia, with their misunderstandings, humorous interactions, and desires to make a difference in the world and be loved for who they are. Although I didn't love this book as much as her Fairlawn Series (that one remains my favourite!), she has offered another strong addition to the contemporary fiction realm, providing a skilfully written story that not only entertains but provides surprisingly deep wisdom as well. Nolie, the youngest Caldwell girl, especially surprised me with her insights into life, and her ability to accept others where they were at while pointing them to God at the same time. Out of all of the characters, she was my favourite, and I found myself practically cheering at the completely deserved and happy ending she experiences (I won't give away more for fear of spoiling the plot). Her sisters are also endearing in their own way, and together the healing and reconciliation these sisters experience make for a moving read.
The end of the book provides a satisfying conclusion for all of the characters, and I found myself pondering the deep treasures hidden throughout the book, the message of forgiveness that permeates this story. Angela Hunt has spun a tale that we can all find hints of ourselves in, and come away the richer for having spent time with the Caldwell sisters.
I highly recommend this novel and award it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been freely provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books, for the purposes of this unbiased review. The opinions provided are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including The Tale of Three Trees, Don’t Bet Against Me, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Hunt is one of the most sought-after collaborators in the publishing industry. Her nonfiction book Don’t Bet Against Me, written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Angela’s novel The Note (with sales of over 141,000) was filmed as the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie for 2007 and proved to be the highest rated television movie in the channel’s history. She often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences, and she served as the keynote speaker at the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers’ national conference. She and her husband make their home in Florida with mastiffs. In 2001, one of her dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest dog in America.