Sweet Caroline

First I have to say that Rachel Hauck is an excellent writer. She has a delicious way with words especially in this novel where the Frogmore Restaurant is one of the characters.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I despise present tense prose. Hauck's novel Diva in NashVegas was all present tense and made me tired and breathless to read it. This one is less so and is a rather well-done present tense so it's not so noticable. I didn't get tired reading it.

I have a huge problem with the ending of this book. It reminds me of the play "The Doll House". If you did not study that play in high school lit, it was about a domineering husband and the meek wife who finally took the courage to walk out on him. It was by Henric Ibson I think, and was very daring for the day because the last scene ended with the door closing. So daring, that a lot of producers and directors added to that scene with the sound of the door opening and footsteps coming back into the house.

This novel was not that story, but one where Caroline was forever doing things for other people's good and not thinking of herself. She also was not a Christian. Now, this novel has a scene where she's reading a Bible and something happens... she calls her friend (a famous country western singer named Mitch who happens to have been her high school sweetheart) She tells him of this vision and she says, "What's up with that?" He says, "I think you just got saved." And of course he's all delighted.

I know there are all kinds of ways that God touches people and draws them to Himself. But, in every case where a person is saved that I've ever known about, the person recognizes he/she is in sin, is sinful, needs Jesus to cleanse and asks Jesus in his/her heart. That didn't happen. I guess we're supposed to infer that. I felt cheated of that glorious feeling that someone I cared about got saved. (Yes, by this time in my reading I cared about Caroline).

Then she gets this fabulous opportunity, in fact this opportunity is what she's working toward through the whole thing. She realizes she's in love with Mitch (has been ever since high school) but we'll just forget about the little fling with J.D. and the fact she was going to tell him yes to moving in together. Yes, yes, it makes the story move right along and gives it some great tension and all that happened before she "got saved" anyway.

Then she says yes to Mitch then no then yes, then no and off she flies to her opportunity. I do not think God works that way. There are many times we cannot go on "feelings" for what God wants us to do. We must rely on Biblical principles as guidelines and I believe God has a wonderful place for women and sometimes that requires making a mature decision rather than one based on gut feelings.

The book had two messages: God loves sinners who've been rejected by their mothers. And, when presented with love from another that we love back just as deeply and passionately does not make us responsible for that love, but we can go off on an adventure without a look back because we just might regret not taking the opportunity when we're old and gray.

I felt cheated. I'm not going to read any more of Hauck's books.
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