Monday, October 02, 2006

Carolyne Aarsen's The Only Best Place ~ Reviewed

The Only Best Place
By Carolyne Aarsen
Published by Warner Faith
ISBN 10: 0-446-69681-1

Leslie VandeKeere had a good life: a happy family, a great career (even if it did pull her away from home), and all the energy of urban living. But she finds herself miles away from the city she knows and loves when her husband moves her and the kids back to his boyhood home in Montana to help his mother work the struggling family farm.

Being a farmer's wife was not in Leslie's plan, and now she finds herself dealing with dirty cows, long days filled with monotonous chores, and an extended family she doesn't quite fit into. When her husband hints that the move might be permanent, Leslie must decide how much she can handle.

She has never felt as alone as she does surrounded by so much family. And as she faces questions about her marriage, her future, and her faith in God, Leslie struggles to find the only best place for her heart.

Aarsen has delivered an engaging story of one woman's lonely struggle to discover who she is and where she belongs. A trained nurse, Leslie is competent in the emergency room, but her husband's family thinks she's greedy and a bad mother. I fell in love with this confused character from the first page. I chuckled at Leslie's loving-but-misguided sister, who through emails encourages Leslie to take control and not "give in to the cult."

A domineering mother-in-law and a plethora of VandeKeeres to keep straight don’t make Leslie feel welcome. Only her new job at the local hospital gives her a sense of self-worth and a dangerous alliance. How Leslie reconciles all this is a wonderful journey of discovery and faith.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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