Monday, May 1, 2017

The Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot -- my REVIEW

The book The Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot is a book I received for reviewing purposes. When I first got the book I looked at it and, though the cover was attractive, I really thought I would not like it at all. It has several strikes against it in my taste for books-- #1 it is about a war and much of it is the story/stories of a soldier/soldiers, #2 it flips back and forth between different characters who are seemingly unrelated in the beginning of the book, #3 it is about a British group of people--not in my comfort zone.

Since it was a book that I needed to write a review of I went ahead and dove in -- and surprised myself by LOVING the book! It is an amazing book, it elicits strong emotions, and leaves the reader sad but in awe.

The book begins with a woman (Clare) who has inherited a boat and is using it as a bed and breakfast. She has an interesting housemate (boatmate?) and they have just come through a strange burglary, in which nothing was taken but the "robber" was caught thanks to the housemate's savvy use of a teakettle. This man who was put in jail is found to be a minister who Clare and Mrs Shrewsbury nickname BV (the Burglar Vicar). Clare wants to visit the BV to find out what he was looking for, but as she attempts a visit her path intersects with an artist who has come to see the same man. Meanwhile in another part of the story, a British soldier somewhere in France is given a command to deliver a heavily injured Captain, the lone survivor of his company but who heroically rescued a large group of other soldiers (and also lost his mental capacities it seems) to Dunkirk to have his wounds taken care of and to return to England to recover.

There are many little sub-stories in this book and I do not want to delve into them for fear of giving away too much information. Suffice it to say that topics encountered include such things as the British Forces and their horrific struggles in France, new-found information about a birth and an adoption, the horrors of war, the horrors of Hitler's regime, missing papers, documents that need to get to the safety of the US, friendships, a little romance, a little faith, prayers, death, wanton death and destruction, injury, boats, loyalty, and so much more.

The climax of this book comes when soldiers are stranded at Dunkirk and civilian boats and crews become a part of the salvation of so many soldiers, as well as a part of the casualties of war. (this is a really interesting thing that I don't believe I had ever heard of before, probably since I live in the US).

It is sad and dramatic and heart-wrenching in so many ways. I kind of felt like some of the parts of it didn't have a conclusion (such as...what happened to the "packet" -- did it get to where it was supposed to go and what repercussions or actions did that cause?) and much of it leaves you looking for more answers or something more conclusive.

All in all, I surprised myself by how much I liked this book. My husband it itching to read it next, and I think my teens might as well. I do really recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Tyndale House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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