Friday, March 11, 2011

Love Me Back to Life by Missy Horsfall and Susan Stevens

book cover

Love Me Back to Life
by Missy Horsfall and Susan Stevens

ISBN-13: 9781616263287
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Released: February 1, 2011

Source: ebook provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Book Description, my take:
Mallory Carlisle's marriage is being torn apart, and she doesn't understand why. She wants her husband around more but sometimes she can't stand to have him touch her. He claims he can't seem to please her, so he'll give her what she obviously wants: space. He moves out in hopes it will help her figure things out, but she sees it as abandonment when she needs him the most.

Ashamed by how her husband's leaving her will look, Mallory stops going to her church Bible study and avoids her friends. But, finally, the news of a seven-year-old girl being raped and murdered at a nearby park sends her into a breakdown where she remembers abuse from her childhood--a memory she'd repressed. Now she must face a long struggle toward healing if she wants to regain everything she's lost.

My Review:
Love Me Back to Life is Christian general fiction about a woman who suffered sexual abuse as a child. The story was about how this abuse caused Mallory to react to her husband in ways that caused tension in her marriage, a breakdown were she remembered the repressed memory of the abuse, and her journey to healing assisted by a Christian therapist.

The authors used vivid details that brought the various settings and the children alive in my imagination. However, in the first half (which was the lead-up to Mallory's breakdown), all the scenes were of Mallory fighting with someone at her home or in an extended family setting. It felt like she had no life beyond the fighting. Mallory's and Jake's inner thoughts also came across as simplistic, somehow...not fully fleshed out. Perhaps this is because I've never come across two more self-righteous characters in all my reading. Nothing was their own fault (even in their inner thoughts), so I had a hard time liking them though I did feel sympathetic.

In the second half, Mallory's recovery was very interesting and drew me into the story. However, some things happened very abruptly (from the reader perspective) since time would pass and we missed some of the struggles. For example, we knew she had a shopping addiction (which played a major role in the marital discord). Suddenly, near the end, we find out she's dealt with and conquered this addiction without us getting to see her confront and overcome it.

There was a lot of God-talk in the novel. Though Christian, Mallory initially avoided praying and later simply told God what she wanted. However, at the very end, she finally talked with God (instead of at him), listened, and showed her reliance on God in her actions instead of just her words.

There was a minor amount of "he cussed" style bad language. There was no graphic sex. I think I would have enjoyed this novel more if the first half had been condensed and more time spent on Mallory's struggle for healing since I found the writing more engaging in that part. However, if you've been abused as a child and it's affected your marriage, you may be engaged by the characters from the start.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read chapter one using Google Preview.

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