Friday, November 13, 2009

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner & GIVEAWAY

white picket fences
by Susan Meissner
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7457-0
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Format: Trade Paperback, 368 pages

Book Summary:

Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.

Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?

My Review:

As with Susan's last book The Shape of Mercy, I found this book to be a very deep and thought provoking. The story is compelling as we think about family dynamics. We always hear that we don't know what others are going through and the seemingly "perfect" family has its own issues.

Tally enters the Janvier's home carrying the secrets her father left with her before he headed to Europe. She's promised not to say anything and does her best to keep his secret. In turn, we begin to learn about secrets the other family members harbor.

What is it about secrets? I know there are times we think certain secrets are to be kept, when they'd be helpful if revealed. Then there are those precious secrets that once brought to light cause damage never dreamed of. This is exampled as we listen to the stories of Eliasz and Josef during their time in the Warsaw Ghetto of WWII.

White Picket Fences certainly is a detour from The Shape of Mercy and underscores the strength and gift of Susan Meissner's writing. This is not what I would consider light reading, but it is thoughtfully written and a must-have for any bookshelf.

Author Bio:

Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California, where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.

I'd like to thank Staci at WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House for sending me my review & giveaway copy of White Picket Fences. To learn more about this and other great titles visit the Random House website.

To win a copy of White Picket Fences answer this question... tell me one of your family secrets. hahahaha Just kidding. Have you ever had family members stay with you for an extended period of time? Did it go well? Personally I've never had anyone stay with us for more than a day or so. I'd actually love to have family here for a week or two! My grandmother-in-law says she's happy 2x when people visit: when they come and when they go. :)

You must be a US resident, 18 yrs and older to enter. Giveaway will end November 20, 10pm CST. Void where prohibited. Winner is drawn using the Top Hat software. Leave an email address. Without an email you will NOT be entered.


Shawntele said...

Sounds like a great read, a book I would love to add to my collection. The longest visit we had was for three days and it was plenty long enough, that is all I care to share! :O) My email is: savedbygrace7215(at)yahoo(dot)com
Thanks for the entry.

Mimi N said...

Shawntele, I wonder if that's what my sister-in-law says when we leave. :) We're usually the interlopers!


Diane said...

White Picket Fences sounds like an interesting read! There are so many families who have secrets that they think will just go away if no one talks about them. Communication is the only way to start the healing process. I would love the opportunity to read this book. My email address is:

Thank You for this opportunity to win. Diane

Linda said...

Had a grown child stay a couple of weeks...Not so good, as there were some difficult issues.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous book...

I really haven't had any family member stay w/ me for an extended amount of time.

karen k

Carole said...

My grandfather abandoned his family, so my grandmother came to live with us when I was young. She was a blessing to us and I loved her dearly, but there were many conflicts, as you can imagine. My mother was often caught in the middle and had no where to go.

Thank you so much for the giveaway, Mimi. I love the depth of Susan's writing and would love to read this one.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Unknown said...

This book looks like an awesome read! We have never had extended family stay for a period of time, but we have had them stay for a couple days- The visit was so short, that the time was sweet!

sara_broers (at)yahoo (dot) com

Mimi said...

No never any family staying for any time here at our house!

I'd love to win this book.


Unknown said...

Sounds like a great book! My BIL moved in withus for three months in 2006... he's still here! LOL!~

Finding Joy said...

I can't enter as I am in Australia - but to add my bit - my cousin lived with us when we were kids whilst her mother was very ill and died. I loved having her with us as I had no sisters and she became the next nest thing. Sadly my dear cousin died this year aged 47 from the same thing her mother died from all those years ago. I missed her very much.

You have a lovely blog.


Marjorie/cenya2 said...

I am glad I have just recently
found your great site.
I would love to win this book.
I am now a follow by google.
I also follow by email.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

i would love to read this book. i would love to have family or friends come for a visit. they live so far away that it is always a blessed event.

Merry said...

In our younger years, my husband's brother, wife and girls lived with us at 2 different times for about 6 months. All in all, it went well. We would fall into a comfortable routine and have certain private spaces just for our families. We laugh now at some of the crazy days we had!


Sandee61 said...

Oh my, yes we've had family stay with us at one time or another and sometimes it was alittle hectic, but also fun. We all love board games so Friday nights was always fun...we have a big family, so it usually involved two groups.
My husband and I are in a senior community now, but we still have all our family here on Holidays and we still have game night when we can, whether its family or friends.
Please add my name to your giveaway list. I'd love to read Susan's new book. Thank you!



Winning Readings said...

My inlaws are South African, so when they come to visit, they always stay for a month or so. And my parents had a room in our house in Mozambique for several months. But all's good!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

We posted about this at Winning Readings:

Molly said...

My grandparents stayed with us for 3 weeks back in the summer. My grandfather has alzheimers so it was quite a challenge. But I cherish every minute and every moment that my sons and I get with them. The doctor's are now telling us that he may not be around much longer, so that 3 week visit was truly a blessing and I wish they were still here!
Thank you for hosting!

Mollydawn1981 at aol dot com

Nancye said...

I am glad to have found your blog! It's wonderful! I would LOVE to win this book!!

Thankfully I have never had family stay with me for an extended period of time. My husband's friend did stay with for almost 2 weeks and it was awful!! He was utterly obnoxious! I was SO ready for him to leave. He is NOT welcome back as a house guest!!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Margie said...

The longest time is about a week...when my daughter comes to visit at Christmas. I love every minute! But we are at her place sometimes for three weeks. I wonder if she thinks it's too long?!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Unknown said...

We've never had family members stay with us for more than a couple days at a time.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

Martha A. said...

Yes....I have! When I was first married my sister and her husband and me and my husband we shared a house, but since then....another sister and her husband did. She was pregnant with their first child and they were remodeling a house. It was supposed to be like three weeks. They sold their mobile home and moved in to our children's bedroom for the three weeks in November. It was the beginning of March when they finally got in their new home, just a week before their new baby was born at home! I have to say (n this very long comment) I do not remember wanting them to leave. It was fun!

Patti Lacy said...

Have heard so many wonderful things about WPF. But it's a Meissner book, right???

Great blog! Thanks for the opportunity, but I will get my own copy.

Anonymous said...

I would love an opportunity to win this book. I know my family has some really deep rooted secrets.
Thanks for the opportunity.
Teresa E-mail

Linda said...

I'm guessing this book will help families overcome their secrets and reconcile. The kind of read I really like. Please enter me. Thanks.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

wmmahaney said...

I have had both my parents and my in-laws at my house for a week at a time. I've had all of them here for a couple of days each time I had my kids. Wow what a houseful that was. :)

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