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This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

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Review of This Fine Life
Review of Things Left Unspoken

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The Advocate

This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson

Reviewed by Carol Kurtz Darlington

"Eva Marie Everson takes us past landmarks in history as if they just happened yesterday."

Reading a novel by Eva Marie Everson is very much like enjoying one of her photography books. With both you are transported to a different place - an earlier time, another world. Just as I spent two hours in Israel in awe of the Elin Gedi waterfall or the massive walls of Dan in Reflections of God's Holy Land, when I read This Fine Life I suddenly found myself in my earliest childhood memories of white gloves and flip hair styles. Everson captures the mindset of the period, the optimism before the Kennedy assassination. It's an age of possibilities, when Americans with money were sheltered from the troubles brewing in the world.

For Mariette Puttnam, who has just graduated from a Catholic girls' high school, her parents are in two different corners where her future is concerned. Her mother is determined she will marry well and spend her life making house, with nothing more serious to worry about than whether or not her outfit is perfectly coordinated. Her father would love to take her into his garment business once she graduates from college. She stands at a crossroad, not convinced that either one is the path she wants. The only thing she knows for sure is that Thayne Scott is not on either of the paths of her parents' intentions. He is not from the caliber of family they would ever choose for their daughter, a mere employee of her father. But their chemistry is real, overpowering her logic and fogging up her mind.

Thayne has one thing Mariette and her family do not - a growing hunger for the things of God and a calling on his life. Could Mariette follow Thayne down this path? Could she travel with him on his journey to God? It's a strange, foreign world for her, and she can't begin to understand her role in it. All her life she's felt like the outsider looking in, her beauty possibly the obstacle that keeps her from ever really fitting in anywhere. Eva Marie Everson takes us past landmarks in history as if they just happened yesterday. Fresh and vivid, Mariette Puttnam experiences the tumultuous social changes of the early '60's in rural Georgia, as she finds her way on her own spiritual journey.

Although the pace is slow going in the beginning, it seems to fit in a southern town. With a little effort you can keep the names of all the townspeople straight. Heart ache and passion go hand in hand for this southern family, as in the midst of unspeakable scandal, Mariette grapples with forgiveness and sin. And just when it seems God is farthest away, He could be nearest, after all. It's hard to leave this period of innocence when the story ends, hard to come back to 2010. It was just as clear as if Eva had filled the pages with her own beautiful photographs of Georgia in 1962. We can only hope Everson will bring us back again to this charming era sometime soon.

Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.