The Guest Book
by Marybeth Whalen
When Macy Dillon was five years old her father encouraged her to draw a picture in the guestbook of a Carolina beach house. The next year, Macy returned to discover a drawing by an unidentified little boy on the facing page. Over the next eleven years the children continue to exchange drawings … until tragedy ends visits to the beach house altogether. During her final trip to Sunset, Macy asks her anonymous friend to draw her one last picture and tells him where to hide the guest book in hopes that one day she will return to find it—and him. Twenty-five years after that first picture, Macy is back at Sunset Beach—this time toting a broken family and a hurting heart. One night, alone by the ocean, Macy asks God to help her find the boy she never forgot, the one whose beautiful pictures touched something deep inside of her. Will she ever find him? And if she does, will the guestbook unite them or merely be the relic of a lost childhood?
The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen is a great "kick off" for my Summer Reads Selections, it does, after all, take place at the shore!
Single mom Macy, and her daughter Emma are great, well drawn characters, they are kind that you think you know, they remind you people in your own world and that makes them immediately comfortable to you. You can't help but feel for the family who has lost their husband, father and grandfather. We've all been there or know people who have. So when they go back to the house by shore, the old ghosts come out to haunt them. Sometimes the "ghosts" are internal ones, other times they are found in the memories of years ago.
I really enjoyed the low key, but steady nod to faith and returning to prayer and God's plan for us all. One scene has Emma telling her Mom that they need to go to church more. It was a natural easy scene, one that you can beleive would take place between a mom and a daughter. While the message was there, author Whalen wisely didn't bop anyone over the head about it. She wrote the characters and their path back to a faith based world as easily as she wrote about Macy's memories of the drawings in the guest book. Whalen's writing style was strong, steady, and enjoyable with just the right amount of mystery and discovery thrown in. I easily flipped the page turner on my e-reader, I wanted to know who "the artist" was! But I enjoyed the path to discovery so much that I didn't really want it to end. I really liked those characters and was so happy that Macy's brother Max turned out the way he did!
At the end of the book, there is a bit about the real sculpture that plays a huge part in the book, it's a character in the story too! Anyway, I did a search on the "interwebs" and found a photo. It's posted below.
I'll be waiting to see what Marybeth Whalen gives us next!
I give The Guest Book 4 out of 5 stars, that's a really good rating from me! I loved it so much that I'll buy it.
Author Marybeth Whalen's website.
The "sculpture" that's in the book is by Thom Seaman, I found the photo here and is often called "girl feeding seagulls."
Here's a link to Mr. Seaman's site.
**This e-galley was provided to me at my request by the publisher Zondervan through Edelweiss and did not affect my ability to write an honest review..