Book Review: Rocks and Flowers in a Box by Cynthia Hilston

Rocks and Flowers in a Box is the first book I’ve read by this author and the second book in the Lorna and Tristan series. Set in Ohio in the 1940's this inspirational Christian fiction piece also contains references to WWII. Lorna and Tristan Blake are an unlikely pair. Newly married and working through their emotional baggage together, they are clearly in love though they struggle at times with that newlywed-getting-to-know-you phase of life that couples experience. While they can’t keep their hands off one another, they are continually seeking the other’s reassurance of love and commitment. This need for reassurance is exacerbated as the couple deals with family conflict and are haunted by past mistakes.

Although this book is the second in a series, it does well as an independent read. The backstory is woven throughout the novel and I didn’t feel like I was missing any pertinent details. In fact, I would have liked fewer reminders of the past events and more details in Rocks and Flowers in a Box. The setting was not painted as well as I would have liked, given that I’m a visual learner. I prefer to be immersed in the setting the author has created.

One of my favorite things about this book is the way the author balanced inspiration and Christianity with real life struggles. While I found the ultimate premise of the couple’s conflict to be a bit of a stretch for me, the concept of forgiveness was well done and written in a way that I wanted to keep reading to find out just how far this set of characters would go. Is forgiveness a possibility in this character line up? How does God forgive even the most vile sin? The author leaves the reader wondering right up to the last line without being preachy.

There were some aspects of the book that didn’t quite work for me. The contradiction between the frivolous money spent at a restaurant during a time when war rations are being used to purchase a household’s most needs seemed off to me. However, I will admit, my knowledge of those things during that time period is limited, so perhaps the scenes and events are accurate. The story is rather fast paced and I felt there some missing details that might have been captured if the author had slowed things down a bit.

Overall, the book captured my attention and I read it over a period of two days. I appreciated the characters and their struggles. The author did a great job of creating characters that I rooted for all the way to the end.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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