Saturday, June 25

A Place Called Blessing by Dr. John Trent and Annette Smith

When I picked up A Place Called Blessing I had no idea that it was written as a story to outline ideas brought up in the book The Blessing (co-authored by Dr. John Trent).  A Place Called Blessing tells the story of Josh, a child who is placed in foster care after his parents die in a car accident.  After a tragic event Josh is labeled as a troubled kid and therefore no one wants to take him in, though they gladly take his brothers.  After he hits the age of 18, he leaves to find work and ends up renting a room with Anna and Anna’s son, Mike (who Josh works with).

Josh is haunted by the tragedy in his life and feels at fault for it, even though Anna and Mike assure him that is was an accident.  Through the care they show him, Josh begins to realize that he isn’t a screw-up and seeks to find a place of true belonging in the world.

Not realizing the tie to The Blessing, I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of this book.  But I didn’t like what I got.  The story isn’t necessary bad, but I didn’t think it was.  In short, it read like a Hallmark Channel story.  Emotional strings are pulled as hard as possible without breaking, but it all feels fake.  When it comes to fiction that tries to present an event that could happen in real life, especially when it’s trying to utilize ideas brought up in another book, I expect the story to feel real, to feel as if it did or could’ve happened.  I did not get that sense here. 

Tension that is built feels forced and I tended to not care about it.  The characters feel like they were supposed to have depth, but I never cared for them either.  Most of the plot I could see coming from miles away.  The only thing I didn’t see was a big plot twist at the end which felt more eye-roll inducing and ridiculous than deep, shocking, and emotional. 

The writing was bland and uninteresting as well.  Normally I don’t try to address the writing itself, because I know authors all have different styles, but the dialogue felt extremely forced and often times on the nose.  At times it reads just a bit too melodramatically for my taste.

I guess if you like Hallmark movies and have read The Blessing, you might find this book engaging and enjoyable.  If not, I recommend a pass on this one.

2/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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