Friday, December 15, 2006

Kimberly Stuart's Balancing Act ~ Reviewed

Balancing Act
Kimberly Stuart
Published by NavPress
ISBN 1-60006-076-5

With her baby on one side and her career on the other, what's a girl to do?

As maternity leave comes to an end for Heidi Elliott, so does virtually everything she thought she knew. The substitute filling in for her high school Spanish classes has made a complete mess—not just with her students, but perhaps in a way far more personal. Her husband has made a habit of going out of his way to help a beautiful and wealthy client. And now, to further complicate things, Heidi's old boyfriend has moved back to the neighborhood.

Fiercely independent, Heidi has never been one for group activities, much less church chats and teas. Pushed into accepting an invitation to the Wednesday night Moms' Group, she finds herself in a sea of polyester, polka dots, big hair, and surprisingly strong women who just might hold the lifeline she didn't think she needed.

Stuart has aptly named this book. She employs a perfect balance of humor and tender moments in this rollicking good read. I carried it everywhere with me for two days. Whether standing in line at the grocery store or picking up the dry-cleaning, I was reading and either laughing or sighing, but never was I bored.

Balancing Act is delightful and fresh. The spiritual thread is honest and definitely not preachy. It's a book a non-Christian could enjoy without rolling their eyes. Heidi's sarcastic wit lightens the moments that could easily have become schmaltzy or lumbering.

Like a virtuoso, Stuart delivered the denouement with a fresh approach that rang with honesty—a huge debut novel, in this reviewer's opinion. Balancing Act receives Novel Reviews' highest recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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