Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder

I've been very impressed with the quality of fiction published by Summerside Press, and when I hear a new novel is about to be released, I'm generally quick to pounce and pick up the book. I'm rarely disappointed in the stories....unfortunately, this is one of those rare times.

David Housholder's novel, "The Blackberry Bush", spans decades, travels continents, and encompasses huge themes including self-worth, gifts and talents, and family/generational blessings.

I think it's just too crowded in between the covers! The book is easy to read, the designed is appealing, and the writing is good...the story was just too complex for so few pages.

The entire book had that epic feel...but never quite arrived. I enjoyed meeting Josh and Kati, found both young characters completely relatable...and loved their grandparents.

The basic premise of the story is two families bound by history. Josh grows up a California boy while Kati is raised in Germany. Both are born the day the Berlin Wall fell, and both come from European homes. Both are raised with high expectations, and both seem to never meet the standard...

Their stories intertwine in unexpected ways. In the background is the blackberry bush, both literally and figuratively. In fact, after reading the story I was surprised a blackberry bush didn't figure into the cover somehow...and a bit disappointed as well.

During the story, we have periodic interruptions by a character named Angelo, who denies he's an angel, but who must be an angel...that was a bit confusing. Honestly, I think he just didn't want to be labeled by our traditional view of angels...and who can blame him!

All in all, I truly believe the story was just too ambitious and might have been too rich. Too many threads and you can become knotted up...that's how I ended up feeling by the close of the book.

Which is a shame, because the book had such promise. I felt a bit unsettled by some of the spiritual content as well...but nothing I can put my finger on. Just be careful to always get your doctrine (which merely means 'teaching') from Scripture and not from fiction.

So, with all of that said, I'm giving "The Blackberry Bush" three out of five bookmarks with a timepiece as a charm. I'm not sorry I read it, and I'm grateful to my friends at B&B Media for my copy. This is just one I'd be more likely to borrow rather than keep.

Happy Reading!



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