Saturday, February 7, 2009

Age Before Beauty by Virginia Smith

Flap copy:
"Allie Harrod is ready for a new career. She doesn't want to go back to full-time work and risk missing her baby's first smile. But she does want to contrinute to the family income, and a home-based business seems like the perfect solution. Sure, she dropped out of Girl Scouts because she was lousy at cookie sales, but selling makeup is different, right?

Still, the challenges Allie faces seem to be rising as fast as her credit card balance. None of her clothes fit, her mother-in-law is driving her batty, and her husband only leaves the couch to go help his beautiful- and single- coworker with her home repairs. What's a working girl to do?"

This book was a quick read, certainly an enjoyable way to spend a quiet winter evening. The characters, from harried Allie to quiet Betty to slightly scary Sally Jo, live and I found myself genuinely interested in their lives as the story unfolded. Smith is a good writer who ably crafts an enjoyable and yet realistic picture of a new mom struggling to reconcile her pre-baby and post-baby plans.

Although the flap copy makes this book sound like your average chick-lit book, readers should be aware that there is a Christian thread interwoven through the storyline. Though I assume readers familiar with the author will not be surprised by this plot element, I was unaware when I entered to win this book on Goodreads, and I do think it is an important distinction that should be raised somewhere in the flap copy.

I'm torn on a rating because this really isn't a book I would normally choose to read because of the religious undertones. Given that, I found that portion of the storyline (which only gains prominance in the last third of the book) distracted me from my appreciation of the book. Discounting my feelings about that aspect of the book though, I would give this one 4 stars for the quality of the prose and the strength of the characterizations. If you are a reader who appreciates a Christian element to your fiction, you should definitely put this book on your must-read list.


Amy said...

I"m thinking of posting a list of all the Christian publishers as I see this issue come up a lot. Do you think this would help? For example, this book is published by Revell an imprint of Baker books... a Christian publishing house.

Anyway, I have this one to read soon and I'm looking forward to it! :)

Colleen said...

yeah that would be a useful resource Amy.