Sunday, May 21, 2006
Alison Strobel's Violette Between~Reviewed
By Alison Strobel
Published by Waterbrook Press
Violette is the quintessential artist: passionate, emotional, and full of life. Her husband, Saul, loves her sense of joy and she thrives on his love for her. But Saul’s sudden death shatters the heaven they’d created in their marriage. Violette quits painting and wallows in her sorrow until a friend pushes her to work again—and inadvertently introduces her to a new client, Christian.
Christian lost his wife years ago and not only knows Violette’s pain first-hand but offers her a chance to love once more. Soon Violette and Christian begin to feel something they both thought they’d lost forever. When tragedy strikes again, though, Violette retreats into her memories of Saul—and needs to decide if she wants to find her way back to healing.
Set in Southern California, Violette Between addresses the pain of losing one’s deepest love and explores how to move on from that pain to engage in new relationships.
Alison Strobel’s style in Violette Between is unusual. A bit confused at first, I soon caught on to her method of switching from Christian’s memory to Violette’s experience as she revisits her own memories. The majority of the book is spent in the past, Violette’s being a combination of first and third person, but Strobel pulls it off.
The characters are unique and real. I like the way Strobel handles Xavier, a homosexual who is one of Violette’s best friends. She doesn’t try to make a political statement by including him. Xavier just is who he is.
Violette’s deceased husband, Saul, failed to capture my heart. I felt myself wishing I could tell Violette that he’d never really appreciate her the way Christian does. That may have been Strobel’s intention.
Christian, on the other hand, is warm and humble with his own set of questions. He struggles with anger toward God for the loss of his first wife and now the potential loss of Violette. One of my favorite things about Christian is how he begins to notice beauty in the ordinary because of being with Violette and he credits her for it.
Violette is the most colorful character. She’s shy but straightforward and she lives to create beauty. Through art she brings nature’s beauty to those who need it most.
I was sad to say ‘Good-bye’ at the end and wished to have a little more time to see Christian and Violette together.
Violette Between is a wonderful novel of characters and their struggle through grief to the joy that waits on the other side.
Reviewed by Terri Thompson