Saturday, September 01, 2007

Angela Hunt's Doesn't She Look Natural ~ Reviewed

Doesn't She Look Natural
Angela Hunt
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414311699
ISBN-13: 978-1414311692

If you'd like to read an interview with Angela click here.

Jennifer Graham, the no-nonsense chief of staff for a Virginia Senator, quits her job after her divorce -- becoming an unemployed single mom. Her uncertain future becomes even more so when she learns she's inherited a beautiful Victorian home -- historic Fairlawn Funeral Home, that is. Jennifer journeys to the small picturesque Florida town of Mt. Dora with her two sons and her mother, never dreaming that within a mortuary she will learn how to truly live.

My Review:
Doesn't She Look Natural lives up to Angela Hunt's "Expect the Unexpected" reputation.

Not only did this story entertain and pull me into the lives of a family in the midst of a huge season of testing and trial -- it also challenged me spiritually and twisted my heart.

The novel cover feels very Chick-Lit and the story is full of quirky characters behaving quirkily, but "Natural" is not a syrupy read. Set in a dilapidated funeral home in muggy Florida, there are elements of downright creepiness. Several moments of suspense had me holding my breath and turning pages. I find death and forensics fascinating and loved all the interesting details provided by Angie for my vicarious pleasure.

Family issues brought on by pain and sin were heartbreakingly real. But light moments and bittersweet tenderness peppered the narrative. I raised a son, so the scenes with the boys brought smiles or tears as Angie described boy-behavior spot-on.

Jennifer and her mother, Joella, were a little more difficult for me to embrace. Both sprouted some prickly exteriors and pricklier attitudes, but the changes within their relationship, as they sorted out the details of Jennifer's devastation, made me almost stand up and cheer for them. The women at the conclusion of the final satisfying page were women I'd choose as friends.

This grown-up Chick-Lit is a delightful and thought-provoking read. I highly recommend it. Although the subject matter of divorce, infidelity and death is handled with dignity,those who are extremely squeamish or sensitive should be aware that Natural is not pure escapism. Fans of Angie Hunt should not be disappointed. Nor should fans of solid, honest, gut-level well-written fiction that just happens to contain abundant grace and hope.

Reviewed by Kelly Klepfer

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