Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Shawna Williams's No Other ~ Reviewed
By Shawna Williams
Published By Desert Breeze Publishing
Kindle Edition only
In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.
After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.
I was thrilled to receive a review copy of an author I really wanted to read. No Other is a book set in the 1950’s. It was a simpler, innocent time of life in rural America. It reminded me of the T.V. show the Walton’s where families were big, close and cared for one another. Life after the war didn’t spring back to the way it was before it all began. I enjoyed reading about Jakob, Rachel and Joe as they all tried to make sense and come up with a new normal to their lives.
Jakob dropped out of school to care of his family while Joe went off to fight in the war. Jakob’s father was recovering from having a stroke so the family needed him to provide while Joe was away.
Jakob had Meri as his new teacher at school, and was the oldest kid in his class. It was awkward seeing Meri everyday as his teacher because they had gone to school together before the war. Things got easier once he volunteered to build the set for the play Meri was producing. He couldn’t believe how he felt when they worked together. Jakob wouldn’t develop feelings for her now. He wanted out of this town after graduation, which meant no attachments. He also knew it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to be dating his teacher who wasn’t a Christian and he was! Nine months that’s all he had remaining until graduation.
Meri was the Mayors daughter and an only child. She was fascinated to hear about Jakob’s family and wanted to be part of a family that loved you unconditionally. Her parents were all about appearances and what she could do for them. She felt like a puppet and not loved for who she was but for what she did. They even had her husband picked out. Didn’t ask her! They say it was the best but she didn’t love Roger. She wanted to marry for love not money! She was tired about worrying about appearances.
Williams says, “I wanted to write about how Christians don’t just struggle, sometimes we blow it, but God doesn’t abandon us. Even when our efforts to right things fail. He’s still in control. Him and No other.”
I enjoyed the time period and the budding romance between Jakob and Meri. It was fun and innocent. Shawna’s characters are likeable and real. My heart ached for Meri and how her parents treated her. I also felt for Jakob as he tried to do the right thing for everyone in his life.
How should Christians treat Christians that blow it and but get back up after the fall? The enemy would love for them to stop dreaming, have them in no way get up and have people never let them forget their sin. Shawna Williams shows a heart-felt, moving story where the reader can experience unconditional love and know what it looks like. She also showed God loves us no matter what we do.
God says He loved us while we were yet sinners, flawed, unlovable. He gave His son’s life for us unpolished and clean. Williams characters stayed with me and so did their struggle long after I finished reading the last page. I can’t wait to read the sequel, In All things!
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
Finding Hope Through Fiction