My review of Composing Amelia by Alison Strobel




About the book:

Composing Amelia is a journey through the introduction of mental illness into a young marriage and the resulting havoc that can be wreaked by the disease. A young Los Angeles marriage is put to the test and two careers are threatened when Amelia’s husband Marcus is hired as a pastor at a remote Nebraska church. The move results in resentment and sparks the onset of mental illness in Amelia. Can Amelia’s faith stand up to the oppression in her mind and the dysfunction in her relationship with her workaholic pastor husband? Will Marcus recognize the mistakes he’s made in time to make things right—or will the darkness in Amelia’s head push her off the edge before Marcus can be the husband he’s meant to be? And how can God use such broken people to turn around the lives of the small flock of believers to whom He’s led them?

This is what I wrote for my endorsement…

What a phenomenal story! I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe this novel. Strobel touches on so many aspects of real life.Composing Amelia gives readers a glimpse into varying emotional landscapes. It shows effective and ineffective communication, uncovers scars from dysfunctional families, exposes discord due to different marriage goals, shows how guilt and suppressed pain often leads to out-of-control depression, outlines couples searching for a balance between their needs and their dreams, exposes the agony of secrets, and explores the definition of genuine faith. Strobel is a master at exploring the inner workings of the heart. I love the way she writes her characters.

and here is my full review:

What a phenomenal story! I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe this incredible novel. The author touches on so many aspects of real life. Composing Amelia gives readers a glimpse into varying emotional landscapes. It shows effective and ineffective communication, uncovers scars from dysfunctional families, exposes discord due to different marriage goals, shows how guilt and suppressed pain often leads to out-of-control depression, outlines couples searching for a balance between their needs and their dreams, exposes the agony of secrets, and explores the definition of genuine faith.

I love books that touch on the many aspects of our lives. This story was not only well-rounded, but well thought-out. Yes, it had a few downer themes, but I found it ultimately uplifting and a book I wanted to rave about. This story would be perfect for book clubs because of the discussions it would spark. Plus, it causes the reader to think about his or her own life. I kept imagining myself in the characters’ situations and asking myself what I would do if it were me. What I loved most about this book was the insight into why people do various things. It delved into what drives behavior or motivates people to pursue something such as choosing a career, deciding to come to faith in Christ, run from trials, or want to end it all.

Bottom line… the story pulled me in and held me to the end. The tension in Composing Amelia kept building, so it held my interest. I grieved with this struggling couple, but at the same time I grew very fond of them and forgot at times that they were pretend people. I wanted to consult with friends about their problems and share how they were dealing with them. What I love about the author’s writing is that she’s not afraid to tell it like it is. She writes real and doesn’t sanitize her characters’ lives. She lets them doubt, experience fear, question things, etc. In short, she drags them through the fire. People often do things for the wrong reasons, and the author showed that well. Many people doubt their faith. Some people even fake their relationship with Christ but then once they realize it, they don’t know how to come clean about their struggles so they can get help.

See what I mean about dealing with the hard truths in life? Strobel is a master at this and I love the way she writes her characters. I highly recommend this book and hope it inspires you like it did me.

Composing Amelia is published by David C. Cook and will be released in September 2011. Pre-order your copy ASAP. This book is making my best fiction list for 2011, so you know it’s good. A galley was given to me to review for the purpose of endorsement. The words written are completely my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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