What I love about Susan Meissner is that she tackles these issues and themes that I love and that I don't think many authors deal with in a way that is satisfactory to me. I think this is because we share the same faith, but I would like to point out immediately that this is not a faith book. Which is to say that while there is some mention of God, this is not a book where the characters are grappling with their faith. So while they go to church, and there's a secondary character that brings up God, there is nothing that strongly distinguishes this book as Christian.*
The Shape Of Mercy is one of the best books I've read about perception and judgement and White Picket Fences is another excellent example of peeling back the layers to see what's inside. In fact the structure of this book is just perfect. We are introduced to the Janviers and they seem like the perfect family. Neil and Amanda are in love, they have one boy and a girl, Neil makes beautiful pieces of furniture in his spare time and donates them to charity. They take in their niece when her grandmother dies while her father is in Europe and they can't reach him.
So all seems fine and then BAM! We learn that everything is not fine. And the way this was introduced, I wasn't expecting it and then my lunch break was up! I can't tell you how frustrating that was! Anyway, there's quite a tragedy in the Janviers past and the parents aren't sure their son remembers it, but maybe he does and they are at odds with how to deal with it and meanwhile they haven't heard from their niece's father. The son, Chase, and the niece, Tally also are working on a sociology project where they interview some Holocaust survivors. This was also a great thread in the story.
I really enjoyed this book, but I'm going to confess that it wasn't perfect. In fact, I was really disappointed by one of the ways things turned out...I can't really say more than that, but I feel like Meissner took the easy way out in the resolution of one of the storylines.
But otherwise this is another great read, I really enjoyed it. It was gripping enough that I wanted to keep reading it and it was another great exploration of perception and the importance of embracing the past.
There's an interview with Susan Meissner at the back of the book that I also found very interesting and I really loved what she had to say, including, "To ignore what is ugly is to cheapen what is beautiful."
(*I mention this because some people want to know)
Things You Might Want to Know: God is mentioned for about 2 pages. Also, very very minor language
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Source of Book: Review copy
I have a copy of this book to giveway! I will ship it anywhere in the world, but you have to participate in the giveaway. I am doing the giveaway in a very different way--it's an idea I'm blatantly stealing from Kat.
To enter, you have to answer the question of the commenter before you and then ask another one yourself. So for example:
Commenter A: What's your favorite color?
Commenter B: Purple, what's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
You can enter as many times as you like, but the commenter ahead of you must not be you! Does that make sense?
Go have fun!