Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Savoring a Good Book

Some books make your heart pound with suspense and compel you to leave a light on. Others make you laugh with delight over the antics of the characters and their witty repartee.

And then there are books such as How Sweet It Is by Alice Wisler (Bethany House): like a well-crafted dessert whose flavors blend and enhance one another, it causes you to savor every morsel and sigh with delight at the end.

When Deena Livingston moves into her grandfather's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, she plans to keep to herself, start a cake-decorating business, and recover from the heartbreak she left behind in Atlanta. But a special request from Grandpa Ernest compels her to interact with the Bryson City locals, who have some surprising stories to share with the new girl in town.

Can a Dr. Seuss-quoting plumber who shows up at the most unexpected times, a handsome social worker who seems to know exactly what Deena is thinking, and a classroom full of mischievous middle-school students teach Deena to once again embrace the sweet things in life?

Alice J. Wisler is an author, public speaker, advocate, and fundraiser. She has been a guest on several radio and TV programs to promote her self-published cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle. Her first novel, Rain Song, is a 2009 Christy Award finalist. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and has traveled the country in jobs that minister to people. Alice was raised in Japan and currently resides in Durham, North Carolina. You can learn more at her website and her blog.

As the aroma of a freshly-baked cake delights your senses, enticing you to take one bite and then another and another, so this book seeps into your heart, slowly drawing you in until you've devoured the whole thing - possibly in one sitting! Yet instead of feeling uncomfortably stuffed, you will simply feel satisfied. Her grandfather's request and challenge to Deena regarding his Southern Peanut Soup is fitting for the book as well as life:
See if you can taste all the flavors. Sometimes you have to concentrate on the good in order to experience it. The good stuff in life doesn't always come with a big sign around its neck...You can't help but find when your hand is firmly encased in His. (p. 56)
There are indeed many individual flavors and characters in this book which combine to make a delectable and thoroughly satisfying read. Even flavors which appear to be strident and overstrong turn out to provide just what Deena needs, once she learns how they are best utilized. However, there's one piece of Grandpa's advice I wish to stay far, far away from:
Eat the soup from the bowl with the raccoon.
I'll let Deena keep that bowl!

You can purchase the book directly from the publisher, Amazon, or Christian Book.com.

Happy Sweet Reading!


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lailani said...

That sounds like a "comfy" read.
Thank you!

sara said...

I will have to put that one on my list!

skoots1mom said...

sounds comforting :)

A Stone Gatherer said...

I love your reviews Linda! You have such a way with words when describing these books!

bp said...

Great review! I have this one to read too I think.

Alice J. Wisler said...


Thanks for the GREAT review!

~ Alice J. Wisler
author of How Sweet It Is and Rain Song

Kim said...

Great review Linda! Makes me want to read this one...and eat something while I'm reading!