Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: The Fragrance of Geraniums by Alicia G. Ruggieri

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Description: Told from multiple perspectives, this is a powerful story of three women – of the threads of mercy that connect them – and of heart-wrenching sorrows alchemized by the Heavenly Father’s overwhelming redeeming grace. Rhode Island - 1934
A GIRL: Grace Picoletti has nothing going for her – but she’s determined to succeed in life, nonetheless. Born to severe destitution, she claws her way up from the pit of family shame and secrets. She avoids close friendships – even with the likable, persistent Paulie Giorgi...
A WOMAN: Despite her own agonizing emotional pain, childless Emmeline Kinner reaches out to a young woman so far beneath her. She could never have known whom else God would set in her path through her friendship with Grace...
A MOTHER: Long ago, Sarah Picoletti resigned herself to a loveless, abusive life – and she believes that her daughter Grace must inherit the same fate. Yet Sarah’s own soul cries out for the blessed peace and hope of which the radio minister speaks.

I bought this book because I had been following the author for a bit and liked what I saw, but I really didn’t know what to expect from the book. The story it contained was nothing like what I expected, and at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I ended up really loving it.

The story really gripped me from the opening. Grace’s poverty was heart-wrenching, yet you could see that she was striving to higher and better things. Grace was a character you could root for and also travel the ups and downs with. She tugs at your heartstrings as well as becomes an inspiring person.

The big thing that I was not prepared for was the fact that Grace’s father is having an affair that he is very unashamed about. The affair is the center of the story for much of the book, which makes it a bit uncomfortable at times. However, even though Ruggieri never sugar-coats the situation, but she also never becomes crude. My only other complaint is that some of the medical terms and information felt very modern.

The setting of the great depression helped paint a vivid landscape for this story. It was as if I had been transported back in time. The research that went into this story really showed. Small details like using rubber bands to make shoes stay together, made the story seem so real.

As I am a lover of redemption stories and stories where Christians reach out to the hurting, this book was right up my alley. Ruggieri made the struggle as well as the redemption feel very real, and very powerful. Because she didn’t sugar-coat things or make it easy, the ending was all the sweeter.

I highly recommend this book for older readers who enjoy historical fiction and fiction with a deeper message.

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