Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: Genoa Bay by Bette Nordberg

Genoa Bay is a quiet sort of book. It's the kind of slowly unfolding novel you might enjoy reading a few chapters at a time on a lazy afternoon.

Genoa Bay is the story of Brandy who is still grieving the death of her Navy pilot husband and facing severe financial hardships due to poor record keeping in the military when her surrogate mother dies. Maggie, her surrogate mother, leaves her house which used to be a bed and breakfast. The place is a mess, but Brandy sees it as a chance to start over and moves her seven year old daughter there.

They face a lot of hardships, obstacles, and setbacks in their renovation of the inn. And there might be a romantic love interest as well.

I found Genoa Bay to be enjoyable, but just a little slow for my taste. It was also very predictable. While not heavy on the God talk, the God talk did feel very cliche.

To get a feel for the writing, you can read the first chapter below.

Rating: 3.75/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Christian fiction
Source of Book: Sent from publisher for review
Publisher: Monarch books


February 8th 2004

God talks to me.

Now, hear me out. Before you put me in the same category as the loony folks who hear voices just before they go on a shooting rampage at the local shopping mall, remember: In general, I don’t have visions. I don’t hear voices, either—at least not audible ones.

Still, sometimes, even in the most mundane of moments, I hear the voice of God.

Most recently, it happened down at Waterfront Park at Navy Point, right here in Pensacola. I’d taken Gabby, my seven-year-old and Liz our golden-doodle for a walk. Gabby rode her new bike, a fluorescent pink Speed Demon complete with training wheels, and Liz trotted along on a leash. By the time we began the final loop toward the car, my daughter had begun a serious meltdown.

“I don’t want to ride anymore,” she said, climbing off the silver seat. “It’s too hard. The wheels get stuck.”

She had me there. It seemed her bike’s only demon resided in the five inch balancing wheels that wobbled and froze in every quarter-sized pothole along the trail. Her short legs had powered their way through nearly two miles of these freeze-ups; she’d had enough. Who could blame her?

If Timothy were still alive, he’d have figured out a way to fix the wheels. Me? I’m no tool man. Instead of fixing the bike, I hoped that Mags would out grow the need for wheels.

“We’re almost to the van,” I said. “You can make it that far, can’t you?”
Gabby shook her head as tears began to roll down her cheeks. Crossing stubby arms across her chest, she said, “Go get the car!”

Wanting to avoid yet another battle, I resigned myself to pushing the bike back to the parking area. I wrapped the dog’s leash around my wrist, threw my purse strap across my back, and bent over to push the bike down the pavement. Glancing over my shoulder, I discovered that Gabby and the dog had chosen not to follow. Instead, Gabby—with both arms around the dog’s neck—was enjoying a face washing of sloppy dog kisses.

“Come on you two,” I called. “We don’t have all day.”

By the time we reached the van, my back ached, and sweat rolled down the space between my shoulder blades. I unlocked the car, started the engine and turned up the air conditioning. After settling Gabby in her safety seat, I loaded the little bike inside the passenger compartment. At last, holding the dog’s leash, I opened the back hatch and called for Liz. “Come on Liz,” I called. “Jump!”

The dog circled around behind me, as if to gain speed for the leap into the cargo space. But, just as her front paws touched the bumper, she balked, as if to change her mind. Liz jumped back to the ground, and sat down, whining. “Come on,” I pleaded. “Just get in the dumb car. We’re already late!”

Once again the dog circled. This time, instead of leaping for the cargo area, she stopped dead and circled back the other way. Apparently changing your mind is not a prerogative saved only for women. “Please, just get inside,” I begged, losing what little patience I had. After two more false starts, I began to exert my position as leader of the pack. This time, as Liz approached the car, I dragged her forward by the leash. Why wouldn’t the stupid dog just get into the car? How hard could it be?

That’s when I heard God speak. “Don’t be so critical,” his voice clearly said. “You’re not all that different from the dog.”

The problem with hearing from God, I’ve discovered, is that sometimes, he gives you an answer before you are even aware of the question. Such was the case that day at waterfront park. From the day Liz refused to enter the van, until I clearly understand his meaning, nearly four months passed. And until I put the pieces together, I felt as clueless as a blind man at the bottom of a deep well.

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