Divine Appointments, I was intrigued. There are not many Christian fiction books that center on 47 year old single women. In fact, I can't think of any. Most Christian romances feature characters in their 20s and every once in awhile you'll find one in their early 30s. I wanted to see how author Charlene Baumbich would paint an older single woman.
Josie Brooks likes to keep things orderly. She focuses on her job as a consultant to companies that need to be restructured, which doesn't endear her to the employees she ends up letting go. This suits her though as she'd rather not let anyone get close.
Things begin to change in Chicago. The poor economy turns against her and people start to get under her skin. The order she craves seems to slip away and she must figure out whether her solitary life suits her as well as she used to believe.
Initially, Josie is not a likable character. However, as she begins to face her past and let people in, she grew on me. I enjoyed getting to know the people that Josie meets. She finally takes her realtor up on her offer of friendship. She gets to know the company vice president outside of work, a friendship (wink wink) which had a nice pace to it. Even the glimpses into the lives of the employees who work at Diamond Mutual lent the story a nice depth. I was rather impressed with Barb's decision to host an Encouragement Club and wonder how many people in her shoes would have done the same thing.
There were only two problems I had with the story. First, Marsha, a Diamond Mutual employee, fashions herself as a writer. And while her writing does allow her an emotional release, the reading audience does not need to be privy to her piece of science fiction. It added nothing to the real story and I couldn't figure out if Marsha's writing was supposed to be bad or if we were supposed to enjoy her thinly veiled attempts at life imitating art. Second, Divine Appointments is apparently a part of a series called Snowglobe Connections, which concerns a mysterious snowglobe and its powers. Frankly, I found the snowglobe to be a confusing addition to the story. It either needed to have a more prominent role or disappear altogether. I understand the metaphors Baumbich was trying to get at but I thought the novel was fine on its own.
That said, I'm extremely finicky when it comes to Christian fiction. Most readers probably won't notice or care about those things. I appreciated all that Josie discovers and finally allows herself to experience. It is a cautionary tale of what life could be when you don't allow people to come close. And it is a celebratory tale of how life's unexpected moments can put you on the path you were meant to be on.
Disclosure: I received this book free fromWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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