Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: A Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Katherine came home to forget her past. The last thing she expected is a hopeful future.

Young widow Katherine Osborne returns to her family’s rustic camp on Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. She’s determined to live a quiet life, but her socialite mother is equally determined to push her into a new marriage while she’s still young.

Andrew Townsend has known Katherine since they were children. An attorney who is successful, but not wealthy, he knows she is socially out of his reach. But he’s curious what changed the free-spirited girl he once knew into this private, somber young woman.

Katherine has kept hidden the details of her unsuccessful marriage. When past sins come to light, she must turn to God for the courage to be honest. But how can she trust the God she feels has let her down? When she confides in Andrew, their relationship takes a dramatic turn into uncharted territory.

Amid impossible obstacles, two young people must learn to trust enough to walk the path that God has cleared for them. A path that leads to healing and restoration. A path toward love.

My source for book: Local Library
My Thoughts:
This is the type of review that's really difficult to write....I never like to "put down" a story or an author's work, but I simply could not connect with this novel in any way. The reasons are varied, and even though the writing itself is decent, I just couldn't find my way to relating with the characters at all.

I never felt close or connected to Katherine, and her motives were always hard for me to understand or sympathize with. She holds a death grip on her citrus grove in Florida, despite the fact that it's losing money, and refuses to sell even when she gets an above-market offer. Katherine goes on and on about how she loves it so much, but the atmosphere at the grove was never able to convince me of how "great" it was or what exactly made it so desirable to her.

The thing that struck me most about the story was the rampant manipulation spread throughout the entire novel. Society parents manipulating their grown (late 20's) children into all sorts of disagreeable situations for "their own good", including (but not limited to) courting someone not of their choosing. Yes, these types of stories are somewhat common in fiction, but the way it all came about just set wrong with me. One example: After an ultimatum from his parents, one man acquiesced into courting a lady he didn't care for simply because he found courting her less disagreeable than going to work at his father's company.

Andrew was a decent character and I could easily see why Katherine was drawn to him, but unfortunately he also fell victim to the widespread manipulation--in this case from his employer, threatening his job if he didn't stay away from Katherine. Despite the fact that Andrew didn't often keep his distance, I still didn't feel that he had much of a back-bone. I wanted him to blow-off and rip through all the manipulation that was going on, as he was aware of most of it, but sadly he didn't seem to have the guts or the will to take charge of the situation.

It grieves me to give such a low rating (2 stars), but I try to be very honest in my ratings, and I simply can't find my way to giving anything higher. :( In closing--hopefully on a slightly more cheerful note--I do want to mention that I wouldn't be opposed to trying more of the author's work.... The writing itself was of a good quality, I just really feel that it was the story, not the style, that didn't sit right with me.

My Rating: 2 stars


  1. It's funny - I agree with every point you've made, yet I gave the book five stars (which is unusual for me - most books I read are four stars). There must have been something that impressed me, despite the reservations you have around the plot.

    It just shows how subjective ratings and reviews are.

    1. You're right Iola, it's quite interesting how far apart our star ratings are. Ratings certainly are subjective, and some books, like this one, display that fact more than others.

      Lately I've begun to wonder if there have been cases where I haven't been completely honest in my star ratings. I feel bad giving 2 or less, so in the past I've bumped things up to 3...but I've come to the realization that I need to stop that and be more honest with my ratings, especially since I post them on Amazon in addition to the blog. I often depend on other user's reviews on Amazon, and in that sense I need to be completely honest when I post reviews there (and here on the blog, too). I'm trying to be more aware of this, and that is ultimately what led me to give "A Path Toward Love" 2 stars instead of the 3 that I was originally pondering on.

      Thanks for visiting, Iola!

  2. It's been way too long since I read this one (ironically, I think it was one of the first I ever reviewed with a tour) but as I recall, it wasn't a favorite for me either. There was just something about it that didn't interest me.