This week's Wednesday Wonders is part of a blog tour for
by Rachel Ward
Before the mission, Quinn’s future was uncomplicated, straightforward and involved a wedding. Now, eighteen months later she is without a fiance, without a job and without a direction. Slowly, things begin to fall into place, maybe not the way she would like, and definitely not the way she imagined, but after much trial and error Quinn creates a new path. One that will open her eyes and change her life.
You know that Primary song? I hope they call me on a mission. When I was about seven I learned that one for the first time, and I took it literally. When my mom wanted my brother Nathan to do something, like try a new food or meet new people, she would always say, “When you’re on your mission you’ll have to eat crazy stuff . . .” or “When you’re on your mission you’ll have to talk to all kinds of people.” But she never said it to me. And then we learned that song. I hope they call me on a mission. I remember asking my Primary teacher if girls could go on missions too, or if boys should just sing it.
“No!” she replied emphatically. “You sing that song, sweetie. And you go on a mission. Can’t let those boys have all the fun.” And since that day, I was going on a mission and nothing was going to stop me. Especially not falling in love six months before my nineteenth birthday. No man would keep me off a mission. Even if he was the perfect man—my best friend’s big brother.
My Book Review of Dear Jane:
Fantastic story. Many young men in the military or on missions have received “Dear John” letters over the decades. With the increase of young women serving proselyting missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it only stands to reason that some of them who leave sweethearts behind with a promise of marriage at the end of the mission will receive “Dear Jane” letters. That is exactly what happened to Quinn Matthews about three months before the end of her mission.
I thought from the title much of the story would deal with Quinn as a missionary doing her best to carry on as a devoted missionary while attempting to cope with the loss of her sweetheart. Only a small portion of the story touched on it. The bulk of the storyline dealt with Quinn’s situation once she returned home. Without marriage to look forward to, she found herself living at home while started college courses, searched for a job and worked towards getting her own car so she didn’t need to share with her sixteen year old sister. The author did a masterful job of expressing Quinn’s challenges and her feelings as she made the adjustment back to post-mission life. She had a lot more depth to her after she returned, and some of the shallower values and relationships, although not necessarily bad or evil, were no longer right as her closest relationships.
There was love interest in this story. Two for Quinn. It was like a tennis match as Quinn moved back and forth between two men, deciding which was best for her as the woman she had become as a result of her mission.
The characters in the story had complex personalities. Although most were L.D.S., they had their own weaknesses and challenges which created a lot of tension. Some went off the deep end and had to struggle to come back, some found it difficult to cope with their lives and that of their families not turning out perfectly even though they made the best effort to stay close to the church and live the teachings of Christ the best they knew how. Quinn found herself in the center of the dynamics between several people, including her own family, with their dysfunctions. How she worked her way through those relationships kept me engaged to the end of the book.
Although this was written geared to an L.D.S. reading audience, I do not think a non-L.D.S. reader would have difficulty following along. The story is worth it.
About Rachel Ward:
Rachel grew up reading every book she could get her hands on and spending time with her cat. At least, that was the report in every annual Christmas letter. The humiliation was enough to spur her into action, and she began writing. And she never stopped. Rachel studied English at Brigham Young University-Idaho and then wrote and blogged in between the births of her six children. She currently lives in West Jordan with her family, and while she no longer has a cat, she still reads every book she can get her hands on.
Connect with Rachel Ward: