Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book Details:
Title: What Once Was Lost
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
2013, Waterbrook Press
ISBN: 0307731251
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Book Summary:
A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?

On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house inhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”

With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Johnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?

My Review:
I was a bit at a loss for what to write about this book. It was a good book, but nothing really grabbed me about it. It was just…. good. Not great. 
Told from the point of view of Christina Willems, Levi Johnson and Tommy Kilgore, the book follows how a tragedy of fire brings and intertwines these three lives together – basically against their will. My favorite character in the book was probably Tommy. He brought a unique aspect to this novel in a sea of Christian historical romance stories that many times seems similar.
The part I didn’t like is that I felt the development of a love relationship between Levi and Christina was really lacking. I felt like they went from disliking each other, to deciding they had unwanted feeling from one another, to getting married. There seemed to me a major jump in the progression of this relationship that I missed along the way. There were a few vague references to Christina making trips out to Levi’s farm to visit Tommy, but you don’t know anything about the interactions there.
I felt like there were some interesting issues brought up in this story in relation to the other inhabitants who came and went from the Brambleville Asylum. There were widows who were unable to sustain a living on their own, a man who was a hard worker, but a bit simple-minded, orphans and the elderly. These people were able to work and live on this farm for as long as they needed too and help each other provide for what they could not do on their own. In addition for having the material things they needed, they became a family to one another when many of them would have been alone.

Reader Resources:

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books @ Waterbrook Press for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. 

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