Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: My Father's House

My Father’s House
By Rose Chandler Johnson
CreateSpace, 2016


Growing up, life is idyllic for Lily Rose Cates due to one constant --- her father's love.

But in her sixteenth summer, all that changes without warning. There begins Lily's struggle to find herself and the life she's lost. . . . Marriage promises fulfillment, but her happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Her husband's sophisticated fa├žade hides a brooding man with even darker secrets.

When all illusions shatter, Lily must make hard choices --- abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. This is one woman's compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to who she's meant to be . . . in her father's house.

My thoughts

My Father’s House is an excellent debut novel that combines the elements of sweet romance, suspense, friendship, and Southern charm, and fits into the genre of women’s fiction that I enjoy so much. Rose Chandler Johnson has created a story that is primarily easy, pleasurable reading, yet it will keep readers on the edge of their seats at other times. Sometimes a book’s setting has such a strong presence that it becomes a major character, as is the case here. The author vividly conveyed the essence of the South – from the food, hospitality, and friendliness, to the way the small community looked out for Lily’s safety.


The truth is, at that moment in my life, my heart longed for love.
I grabbed hold of its promise like a drowning person
grabs hold of a life jacket. It was vital for my survival. I flung
open my heart, he walked in, and I grabbed hold.
- Lily

My Father’s House is told in the first-person voice of Lily, which worked well and fit this style of narrative. I fell in love with Lily Rose Cates from the very beginning – and while I understood how she was unwisely attracted to Manny, I wanted to reach out and shake some sense into her. I thought this description was totally accurate:  “What a twenty-two-year-old girl in love feels, is more real than reality, stronger than reason.”

Lily’s husband, Manny, is a Detroit lawyer who thrives for power, competition and winning. Although he’s a character that I hated to see walk onto the page, I wish more could have been revealed about his character, family, and the reason behind his actions. His physical and emotional abuse are portrayed realistically, but not overly graphic.

There are also some great secondary characters, my favorite being Annie Ruth, the family maid who practically raised Lily. This is a wonderful description of Annie Ruth (maybe you even know someone who resembles her):  “She had a way of parading life down the middle of the road in the broad daylight and looking it straight in the face. She never sugar-coated reality, and she never white-washed the truth. In her own dignified way, she made the best of what the good Lord gave.”

Neither does the author sugar-coat reality when it comes to serious issues such as abuse, spousal rape, depression, and divorce – all of which are handled in a graceful manner. At its heart, My Father’s House is a story of the healing and second chances found in Christ. I enjoyed this story very much and look forward to more from Rose Chandler Johnson.


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Rose Chandler Johnson is the author of the award winning devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. My Father's House is her first novel. She happily makes her home near Augusta, Georgia.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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  1. Wow, this sounds like a wonderful book and one I would really enjoy. I am going Wonderful review. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much Carol for your thoughtful review and for having me on your blog. I feel honored. And Katrina, thank you as well. You are both very encouraging to me.