I generally like to rave on great father/daughter relationships in books I read and I adore a good father character. However, that was not to be the case with this book. Five pages in (yes, I checked… lol!), I already disliked Emmalyne’s dad. By the end of chapter 3, it was official: I could not stand the man! At this point, my family was getting an ear full (or, rather, several ears full) of my frustration with and anger at this character. Finally, Brother #3 asked me, “Why don’t you just stop reading it, then? Find another book to read.” And I replied, “I just might!” But, as you know, I didn’t stop reading. Honestly, I couldn’t stop. Something about the story just pulled me in and I could not stop reading until I knew how it ended. And I don’t mean how the romance ended — come on, I knew as soon as I read the back of the book how that was going to end! I’m talking about needing to know exactly how it would all work out and how Emmalyne’s dad would change by the end of the story.
One thing that surprised me was that Tavin and Emmalyne’s story was almost like a side story for me. It really should have been more important, but I already knew how it would turn out, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I was much more interested in the story of the Knox family — in particular, Mr. Luthias Knox. (Did I mention that even his name drove me crazy?! Is it just me, or does it make you feel like you’re saying Lucius with a lisp? Gah!!)
Mr. Knox is bitter, hateful, selfish, rude, inconsiderate… Yeah, you probably get the picture. Several times, he made me so angry that I had to put the book down for a moment and remind myself that he was just a fictional character.
Then, the author begins to give glimpses into what makes Mr. Knox the was he is. Mostly, he’s dealing with bitterness anger toward God over things from his past. This, of course, has separated him from God. The result? A very unhappy man who is hurting inside and not dealing with things the way he should. This is when my feelings toward him changed to pity and sadness. when I realized what he was dealing with in his life beneath the surface that everyone could see, I just couldn’t hate or despise him.
During the first “conversation” between Tavin and Mr. Know, Tavin tells him that he’s not a man of honor because he went back on his agreement to let Tavin and Emmalyne get married. I think this was the first time Mr. Knox had ever thought of his actions that way. Tavin tells him, “Your word means very little to me. You broke your word…” (Just a side note: How easy it is to lose someone’s trust and respect) I think this got him to thinking about how he had been treating his family and greatly influenced the change in him.
When Emmalyne is talking to her dad about loving him, he gives us a glimpse into his heart. He tells his daughter that he doesn’t deserve love, especially from her; he says he has never done anything to deserve her love. Imagine living this way! It would make you miserable!
Through others getting right with God, they were able to influence Mr. Knox life in a positive way that drew him back to God.
By the time I came to the end of the book, I found that I loved Mr. Knox. His ability to humble himself before his family and friends in order to make things right really impressed me. Many people wouldn’t be able to do that. He really did love his family, he just didn’t know how to show it to them because he was so consumed by his bitterness. When he finally got things right with God, he was able to forgive and love again. He ended up being one of my favorite characters.
Another thing I really liked about this book was that Mr. Knox was a secondary character, so the story wasn’t told from his point of view. I think that might have ruined it for me. It made it more real to me to be able to “get to know” this character much the same way I would get to know someone in real life — through my eyes and the eyes of others. Seeing how my opinion of him changed throughout the story made me re-think the harsh opinions I’ve had of people in real life. People I didn’t know. People who have gone through and are going through things in their personal lives that I may never know about. Who am I to immediately judge them the way I did Mr. Knox? Instead, I should pray for them, love them, and be willing and ready to help them if I can. And, perhaps, my prayers and love will help draw them to God. It would definitely be more likely to help than would a bad, judgmental attitude.
Anyway… I realize that this isn’t really much of a book review, but it is what touched me the most about this book. Though I think I enjoyed the first book in the Land of Shining Water series better, The Quarryman’s Bride is a really great read! I gave it 4 of 5 stars. 🙂