06/06/2015

Texas Whirlwind (by Bonnie Blythe)

I hadn’t heard of Bonnie Blythe before, but I had been searching for light Christian fiction, and found one of her books available free to download for my Kindle nearly three years ago. It took me this long to get around to reading it, however.

‘Texas Whirlwind’ is the story of Emma, a young single woman who has adopted some toddler twins from Haiti. She is a caring, if slightly scatty person, and we meet her as she moves back to a town where she lived for a while as a teenager.

Emma takes the twins to a local doctor for a checkup, only to discover that this doctor is a former boyfriend, Travis, whom she considers that she treated rather badly. However there’s clearly still a spark between the two of them. We soon learn that Emma has recently broken up with an arrogant guy who didn’t want her to go through with the adoption, and while she adjusts to life with the twins, she really doesn’t want to start a new relationship.

Travis is very good with the twins, and it was clear almost from the beginning that he and Emma would get together eventually. Unfortunately instead of any conflict or genuine misunderstandings drawing them apart for a while, much of the book is taken up with their introspective wonderings. The story alternates their viewpoints, as well as that of one or two other characters, and I started skimming after a while; the navel-gazing becomes rather tiresome, each of them convinced (despite evidence to the contrary) that the other isn’t seriously interested.

There’s a dramatic incident around the middle of the book, leading to a great deal of tension in the latter half, and it was well-paced and emotional; I found it quite difficult to put down at this point. I couldn’t quite believe in the villains of the piece, and I’m not entirely sure the author did either, as they’re one-dimensional and there doesn’t seem to be any real motivation for what they do. But even the drama towards the end is diluted with Emma and Travis wondering what the other is thinking, and feeling they’re not good enough, so that I almost wanted to lock them in a cupboard to sort it all out.

The Christian side of the book is almost incidental; not that it’s a problem to have a novel that’s about Christians rather than being pushy. The two main characters belong to a church, and prayer is seen as essential; there’s no preaching, but in a few cases the actual words said in a prayer are recorded, which seemed a bit intrusive.

My biggest problem with the book is that it ends very abruptly; several people have a sudden change of heart, but there’s no real explanation of why, nor any real motivation for these changes.

Overall I thought it a pleasant enough read; the theme of adopting from Haiti is quite unusual, and the two main characters, introspection apart, are likeable and believable.

I don't know that the title of the book is particularly appropriate, since Emma was far from a whirlwind character, but perhaps it referred to Travis's emotions on meeting her again.

No longer free for the Kindle, but inexpensive in this form. Not currently available in print.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's Book Reviews

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