You can expect reviews on many of the rest of them, some shampoo bars I requested and recently received….. and some of the books I said I promised to review back in the summer. (!!!)
Title: Ten Thousand Charms
Author: Allison Pittman
Publication Date: March 24th 2005
Rating: 4.5 Stars (between “It Was Pretty Good” and “Absolutely Amazing”)
Unfit for Love?
Pregnant—by a man who will never know or care. Gloria, born into a life of prostitution, sees only one solution: get rid of the child. But then she meets John William MacGregan, a miner, left with a newborn daughter and no one to care for her when his wife died during childbirth. So John and Gloria strike a deal. Gloria will care for Kate, and John will eventually raise her son. There is no offer of, nor seeking for, a hand in marriage. When John leaves the mines to seek his fortune in the new Oregon Territory , Gloria, Kate, and baby Danny must go with him. Yanked away from a life of prostitution, Gloria must finally face the pain that has always plagued her, and her longings for a home, a family, and a life free from shame. Ten Thousand Charms is a beautiful tale of an empty heart floundering…and falling straight into the arms of Christ.
When reading the above synopsis, ones initial reaction is that the book has a peculiar or perverted nature; in fact, while the characters have pasts and struggles atypical to most Christian fiction, the nature of the book is quite the contrary.
Based on his violent boxing past, when MacGregan first meets Gloria, he can only see a lost woman in need of care. Coincidentally, I found in the first pages that I pitied Gloria, too. Gloria, a woman that was so hurt emotionally that she saw herself as scum from the beginning. Because of this, messages that MacGregan sends to her about being lovable she hastily rejects- after all, she is illiterate, can’t cook, and has no interest in the weight of having to raise a family. To her her only value is in Virginia City, where she can bring in $1000 in a night in a dark room hidden in a dark alley.
With this in mind, as I read on I began to feel the frustration of that Gloria must have also felt in the face of the choices she would have to make. Just as chapter after chapter I found myself drawn into pages of the book and eager to wait for growth. As an illustration of this, by the time that Danny and Kate were even two months old and MacGregan wants to move west, it was great progress that she is able to choose for herself that she wants to go along, and in similar fashion that by the time that the children are starting to eat soft foods and they reach a significant fort trading post, I am pleased that she chooses not to go back to Virginia City.
What I am trying to lead up to is that its important to understand that the story is touching in ways that differ from your everyday Oregon Train story. For one thing, when I first was reflecting on the story, I decided that I could not recommend it to anyone who has been abused, because it touches the pain of rape and neglect and broken relationships. Soon though, I changed my opinion: In the end, it is those who have been made stronger by trial who will connect with the main character, Gloria, deeply; they will know that there is a happy ending because of the love of God and enjoy celebrating the healing that Gloria finds.
As I read, something that was especially enjoyable about the book, was familiar hymn and scripture snippets that foreshadow a chapters contents. From “Come Ye Sinners” by Joseph Yart, Chapter 22 begins with the following:
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.
Similarly, making it a more worthwhile read than a basic 3 or 4 star book, there were several scenes in which the author weaves small details into the text that are later referenced throughout the pages of the book, such as this from page 82:
Gloria stared, puzzled.
“You said you couldnt marry the King of France any more than you could name Danny’s Father. Well from what Ive heard, France doesnt have a king right now, so I guess youre no worse off than any other woman. See you at dawn on Saturday.”
I can recommend it to everyone and anyone, and specifically to those that are into historical fiction and/or struggling with new beginnings after tragedy. If you are interested, you can read a sample of the book here as well as purchase the book from Amazon in both Paperback and the Kindle Edition.
Kindle Edition: http://amzn.to/1yVVIft
Allison Pittman is the author of For Time and Eternity, Stealing Home, the Crossroads of Grace series, and her nonfiction debut, Saturdays With Stella. A high-school English teacher, she serves as director of the theater arts group at her church. She is also the co-president of a dynamic Christian writers group in the San Antonio, Texas area, where she makes her home with her husband and their three boys.
Her website is: http://www.allisonpittman.com/