Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Review: The Passion of Mary Margaret by Lisa Samson

About the Book: Mary-Margaret accepts a calling that surpasses her wildest dreams . . . and challenges her deep faith.

When Mary-Margaret Danaher met Jude Keller, the lightkeeper's son, she was studying at convent school on a small island in the Chesapeake Bay. Destined for a life as a religious sister, she nevertheless felt a pull toward Jude-rough and tumble, promiscuous Jude.

After sojourning as a medical missions sister in Swaziland, Mary-Margaret returns to the island to prepare for her final vows. Jude, too, returns to the island, dissolute and hardened. Mary-Margaret can hardly believe it when the Spirit tells her she must marry the troubled boy who befriended her all those years ago, forsaking the only life she ever wanted for a man she knows she'll never love.

My Review: First of all, the sequence of events is a little confused in the book description. Just sayin.

Books like this book are the reason I love Christian fiction. I know that sometimes it probably seems like I gripe about it...the preachy books, or the unrealistic books, but this novel is so completely lovely, so full of reality and yet so bathed in the love of Jesus that it moved me deeply, and in short, makes me feel like a better person for having read it.

Mary Margaret has always been told that she was conceived in sin...her raping seminarian father she never knew and her mother died giving birth to her so it was up to her grandmother to raise her. Mary Margaret sees a vision of Jesus at a young age, though, and falls completely in love with Him. She plans to dedicate her life to Him as a religious sister.

I feel the need to stop here and say that I know some readers might be uncomfortable with Mary Margaret's visions of Jesus, but I loved the way it was portrayed. While more er, "concrete" than some of our relationships with Jesus, I liked that He never gave her any extra answers or insights. He just loved her through her life. Admittedly, reading about it carved a deep hunger into me for more intimacy with God.

Anyway, there had always been a boy that Mary Margaret liked and he went off on the deep end. Shortly before taking her final vows, though, Mary Margaret clearly hears from Jesus that she is to marry Jude. Despite that fact that it means sacrificing the dream of what she wanted to be and do, she listens and pursues Jude.

The story is written as a journal left for younger sisters and is told in a split timeline. Samson mastered the tension of just getting you really interested in one time period before flipping to the other! Also, the prose in this book was just absolutely lovely, truly beautiful.

But what was most beautiful to me was that this book is a story of in dark times, love in the suffering and pain, love that sacrifices everything, love in the sweet and simple moments, love that always trusts, hopes, and perseveres. It's honest and achingly I said before this book made me want to know God more, to know Him deeply, to trust that He is indeed weaving redemption through every thread of my life. It's the highest praise I can give a book.

Rating: 5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Definitely Christian fiction, and Catholic Christian fiction to boot! Loved it!



Shauna said...

I noticed the same thing in the book description, so I replaced it with the one on Amazon, which is straight from the back cover. Her last name is also Fischer, not Denaher. I didn't love this book like I usually do Lisa's, but it was still very good.

Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing...I'm adding this to my "to be read" list. I'm excited that it's actually Catholic Christian fiction!

Amy said...

Shauna..good eye with the name, I totally didn't notice that!

Carrie...I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Wrighty said...

I've never heard of this one but it sounds good. I have the Jane Porter book and some others of hers that I haven't had a chance to read yet. I really look forward to those. I like your American Idol summary too. I only watch bits and pieces so it's pretty handy.

I always enjoy your blog. I've left you an award here

Heather J. said...

Great post Amy. This sounds like a wonderful book.

Dar said...

Great review Amy. This sounds like such a beautiful book. I enjoy reading Christian Fiction but never know which to read so I'm going to check this one out. My favorite has always been Francine Rivers but I need to expand somewhat.

Krista said...

I LOVED this book! It's one of very few review books that I'm keeping in my personal collection... after I get it back from my sister-in-law!
And I didn't even notice the errors in the review copy, my bad as I usually read them thoroughly before posting to find errors! Happens when you're out of town though...
Oh, and by the way? After being gone for 2 weeks, you take the prize for most number of posts... 50+!

lisa said...

Thanks, Amy!!

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