Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: Loving Lily Lavender by DeAnna Kinney

Book Cover and Synopsis:
My Rating: 2 stars
Lily is 23 and on top of the world. Her wedding planning business is thriving, her beautiful Victorian home is organized, just like the rest of her life, and her rose garden is flourishing. She is in no way looking for a man to complicate her manicured life. Her faith is strong, and she couldn’t be happier.

Lucas is 24 and miserable. Having just been thrust into stardom with the release of his first blockbuster film, he’s running from paparazzi and screaming girls all who want a piece of his flesh. In a desperate attempt to get a grip on his fast declining life, he runs away to a small town, hoping to go unnoticed. But Jasper, North Carolina has a few surprises of its own.

On one fateful night, their two, opposite worlds will collide, and they will have to fight against all odds to protect the kind of love that changes a soul forever.

My Thoughts:
Oh boy... where to begin? If you're thinking of reading this book, there's definitely some things you should know beforehand.

The entire story has an over-the-top sugary-sweet feeling, with the two main characters, Lily and Lucas, both seeming rather naive. Their range of emotions is limited; they generally fly high in waves of unbelievable happiness, except for when they are separated, which causes them to fall into near crippling despair. Extraordinary joy, or total despair, that's all they seem capable of feeling, nothing in-between.

This seems to be marketed as Christian fiction, yet there is barely any faith content to be found. Several chapters in, Lily reveals she is a Christian, but sadly it's not at all obvious by her behavior. We never find out exactly what she believes, or why. Much of her faith seems to revolve around remaining a virgin until marriage, yet oddly enough, she is completely willing to engage in frantic make-out sessions that go to the very brink of "no return" before breaking away. To be honest, it creeped me out how very many times she and Lucas bluntly talked about intimacy (or rather, the lack thereof). And then after their marriage, it's mentioned well over 10 separate times when they are intimate or "made love". It's not particularly graphic, but the sheer number of times it's mentioned--often combined with slightly suggestive comments--is simply way more information than necessary.

The writing style has the feel of a young-adult novel, which I have nothing against, but considering the content, I could not recommend it to a child or teen. As I've mentioned, it's not especially graphic, but for my taste there is honestly way too much focus on the subject of sex, something that should not be the main focus in a "Christian" novel.

There are various other things that bothered me, and while I won't get into all of them, one that's high on the list is Lily's tendency to take God's name in vain. ("Oh My God!") She says she's trying to break the habit (only because it offends her work clients), but I didn't feel her efforts were very substantial. Another large issue was Lucas's sudden conversion to faith, which came about by "bargaining" with God for something he wanted. Bargaining is never a good idea, and the whole situation ultimately made it very hard for me to believe he really had changed, especially considering that he was never even presented with the gospel or salvation plan.

I honestly hate to write negative reviews. I know a book takes an extraordinary amount of time to create, and I really admire those who have the courage to put their work "out there" for the entire world to see. Judging by other reviews I've read, my opinion of this one is in the minority, but I felt I had to bring these issues to light for those who may be considering the book. This is exactly the type of detailed review I wish I could have read before picking this one up. 

My Rating: 2 stars

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