Friday, May 9, 2014
My review: A Broken Kind of Beautiful
A Broken Kind of Beautiful, Katie Ganshert's third novel, is a beautifully written story about God's love and grace.
"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine." Isaiah 43:1
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?
Author biography:Christy Award-finalist and Carol winner Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her husband and their son. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption.
(Description found on Amazon. The cover photo is from Deeper Shopping, and author bio copied from the book.)
My review: 5 stars
Another amazing book from Katie Ganshert!
This was such a wonderful book that I’m not sure where to start! The storyline had me intrigued from the start. I’d never read a book where the heroine is a model. It’s obvious Katie put a lot of work into researching modeling and the men and women who do it. She shines a light on an aspect of the industry that I’m sure most people don’t consider.
I loved the descriptions and dialogue! Katie really brought the story and setting to life. She made it seem as though I was actually there, watching everything that was going on, eavesdropping on the characters‘ conversations, peering over someone‘s shoulder as I saw the narrative unfold. The characters were so real, which made it hard for me to turn the last page. They felt like friends and I didn’t want them to “go.” Thankfully, when it comes to books, I can “visit” them and read their story again and again.
Ivy Clark is the heroine. She has spent the last 10 years as a model and as a result finds her self worth in her appearance, so when her career comes to a screeching halt, she has nothing left. To be honest, she isn’t a very likeable character when we first meet her. She is pretty snarky, nasty, and rude at times, but it’s mostly a front. She definitely isn’t your typical contemporary Christian romance heroine. She is all sharp edges with a sharper tongue. It was hard for me to like her sometimes, but I fell in love with her quickly. She is so broken and hurting that I couldn’t not care about her. She has been told that she is nothing more than a pretty face and an empty shell, and she believes it. She’s one of those characters that you just want to cry for, because she is so lost and truly believes that no one loves her.
Davis was an interesting hero. He is also broken, but he has found his way back to God. He used to be a photographer, but quit suddenly 2 years before, for reasons unknown except to those closest to him. I really liked Davis. He wasn’t one of those annoying guys that the authors portray as having it all together. He was just as flawed as Ivy, just in a different way. He is sweet, caring, and feels responsible for everyone (his “fatal“ flaw). I enjoyed reading from his perspective, which gives us new insight into Ivy and her personality. Davis confuses Ivy to no end, because he doesn’t act like the men she has known. He treats her with respect and doesn’t get caught on her beauty, but looks deeper. He is sure that there is more to her than the façade she wears like a second skin.
I also loved what some call the “secondary characters” though neither of them were secondary in this story. Marilyn plays a huge part in it and I just adored her. There is also Sara, Davis’ sister, who also has a large role. They are both well rounded and the story wouldn’t have been the same without them. Katie used them to push Ivy and Davis out of their comfort zones and to share some important truths both with the characters and the readers.
The spiritual themes of A Broken Kind of Beautiful are forgiveness and redemption. Davis has been punishing himself for 2 years, feeling guilty for an accident that he sees as his fault. He is sure that God wants him to give up his dream, because he sees it as part of what caused the accident. One of my favorite quotes directed at him is, “It doesn’t matter if I forgive you. It doesn’t even matter if you forgive you. What matters, Davis, is that God already has. So stop wearing your past like a pair of handcuffs.” Davis had to learn to accept the forgiveness he so needed in order to move on.
The theme verse for this book is Isaiah 43:1, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name. You are mine.” I am probably always going to see this as Ivy’s verse now. As I already mentioned, Ivy doesn’t believe anyone loves her, so she doesn’t see how God could possibly want her, how He could call her His. Another of my favorite quotes, this one for Ivy. “I’m glad God doesn’t plunk Himself into the water and wait for us to find Him. I’m glad He chases us like that butterfly.” Ivy hadn’t had anyone care enough to chase after her, but that’s what God does. He constantly pursues us. I loved it when she finally understands that and accepts His love.Katie’s books always touch my heart and challenge my faith, and this one is no exception. It is wonderfully written, compelling, and real.
I highly recommend this book to everyone.
(Note: all quotes were used with permission from the author.)
A few questions to think about:
Ivy and Davis both have something important to learn about God and His character. Has He been teaching you anything in particular?
I kind of think of Isaiah 43:1 as Ivy's "life verse" - do you have a verse that is especially meaningful to you?
Have you read A Broken Kind of Beautiful? If so, was there anything that really stood out to you? Something Katie brought out that you really needed to hear?
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my review! Please leave me a comment, if you have time, letting me know what you think. Is there anything I can do to improve my future posts and reviews?
Before you go, here are a few links if you are interested in purchasing the book, or maybe reading some more reviews to see what others are saying about it. :)
Barnes & Noble: