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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review: The Dickens Inn Series Conclusion AND Cinderella

Lately I have been having a HATE relationship with the TV.  Instead I am in a "listen to music" and "read" mood.

The last 2 books from the Dickens Inn Series by Anita Stansfield have been sitting by my bed for a couple of months. I decided it was time to get them read.

For me this series is about forgiving yourself for past mistakes. I think Satan is very deceptive in making us feel bad about ourselves, so that we don't move forward. It's easy to think "I have made too many mistakes in my life compared to others" and that "I am not worthy of forgiveness or blessings". When we continue to beat ourselves up, Satan wins because we don't live our best life and move forward.

I am thankful to know that we ALL struggle with certain things. I am also comforted to know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, my sins are forgiven when I repent and try to do better each day. I am glad to have the knowledge that I am a daughter of God and He loves and blesses me.

That is what this series is for me...forgiving ourselves and moving forward.... These books are uplifting for me, I loved them.

Book 4 was probably my least favorite in the 5 book series. I liked it and it was good to see that most people struggle with individual challenges.The book seemed a little slow.  There was a group of women that stayed at the Inn for a get away together. They were able to support each other in the trials they were going through. They helped each other keep a positive attitude so they knew they could tackle and overcome their individual trials by being there for each other. Isn't life always easier to endure when you have a listening ear from dear friends and family?
The other obstacle explored  in the book was about Chas and Jackson preparing to go the the temple to be sealed together and have their children sealed to them. They had to overcome challenges Satan threw at them as he made them feel unworthy for this great blessing. The theme is overcoming trials and challenges to obtain gospel blessings.

 Here is the review of the book:

Dickens Inn, Vol. 4: Tranquil Light

When a group of friends reunites at the Dickensian Inn bed-and-breakfast, little does Chas realize that the promises of a blessing are about to be fulfilled. As these women share their tender feelings and innermost secrets, the words of Charles Dickens take on greater significance for them— The pleasure of a generous friendship is the steadiest joy in the world.

But even as these heartwarming events unfold, a secret from Jackson’s past threatens to sabotage the happy life he and Chas have created together.

Jackson finally turned to look fully at his wife. . . . He tried to form the words to tell her about his relationship with Serena and all that he was feeling upon realizing that she was dead. . . . He’ d believed his past was put away. He’ d believed that his skirting the truth and omitting facts had been sufficient in his relationship with his wife. . . . Now it suddenly felt like he’ d sinned against her.

Will Jackson’s doubts and guilt jeopardize the plans he and Chas have made to be sealed as a family for all eternity? Is their love strong enough to overcome the painful shadows of the past?

Beloved, bestselling LDS author Anita Stansfield delivers a startlingly soul-searching and richly romantic story that resonates with emotional truths and captures the essence of the meaning of redemption. Tranquil Light is a triumph.

Book 5, Every Graceful Fancy... I LOVED this book!! It was the best book of the 5 for me. I pondered it for several days - trying to understand why it effected me in just a warm light. It may be the Cinderella theme. I LOVE Cinderella stories, since I was a small girl. Every year I would watch Cinderella and cry and cry for that poor girl and then she was swept away by her Prince Charming. Always my dream - to find my Prince Charming and have a fairy tale life.  
When I came home from work that day after pondering the book and the Cinderelle feeling, I checked the blogs I follow and the first blog I read was "One Shoe Can Change Your Life". I tingled! She wrote everything my heart was feeling as I read the book and pondered it.

This is a quote from the link above - which you should read:
"Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten".

An answer to a silent prayer that she wrote this blog on this day? My feelings were very tender after reading her blog that day. It is inspiring to know how we touch each others lives - even when we don't know it.

Also there was another post I read next day from a divorced/single mom I follow called The American Homemaker. It was about Cinderella too - wow! It must have been in the air.
She has a sign in her house and it says:

"It's Never To Late To Live Happily Ever After"

That is a great saying for me too - a divorced woman who failed at "living happily ever after". Isn't there always a hope of "living happily ever after". I believe in fairy tales and Prince Charmings and 2nd chances that there is always the hope that  "One Shoe CAN Change Your Life" !

ANYWAY, back to the review - from the book:

Dickens Inn, Vol. 5: Every Graceful Fancy

What could be more unlikely than a romance between a traumatized and unwed expectant mother and a charming, wealthy, and ambitious young man with philanthropic dreams of astonishing proportions? Acclaimed, bestselling LDS author Anita Stansfield does not hesitate to take on tough and sensitive issues, and has a gift for handling them with wisdom and compassion.

In this compelling conclusion to a remarkable series, the Dickensian Inn once again proves itself to be a place of warmth and welcome — a place where, under the gentle tutelage and friendship of proprietors Chas and Jackson Leeds, the light of the gospel and the miracle of forgiveness change people’s lives and bring peace and healing.

Every Graceful Fancy is a story of courage and quiet heroism, a captivating novel about people and the choices that define them. Ms. Stansfield’s gift for creating an engaging story with characters we know and love sweeps the reader along in these pages toward a genuinely satisfying, happy, and graceful ending.

Filled with an artful balance of tension and conflict offset by a tender love story, this final volume of the Dickensian Inn series provides a compelling read, proving that the Inn is indeed a haven for healing and comfort, friendship and unconditional love. A gentle and satisfying conclusion to the Dickensian Inn series. - Shauna, Utah

I really enjoyed The Dickens Inn Series and am sad it is over - especially after book 5.


Ann Marie said...

Thanks for the reviews! I will have to check them out... I used to read Stansfield way back with her first series of books.. but I havent for a LONG time.

Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney movie. It is the first movie that I remember watching as a little girl.. and I was in love with her.
There are MANY lessons to be learned from Disney movies/stories... one of our girls camps was "Camp Disney" and each night the leaders took a show/story and did a devotional on it.

I remember Cinderellas well.. as her Father died.. she was alone and not loved by her Step Mother and sisters.. but yet she woke up everyday with a song in her heart. She always served and was happy despite her problems. In the end.. she found her Happy ever after...

I LOVE that a blog friends writing helped you out so much. Blogging is such a blessing to me.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm grateful you loved Just Wright. :)

Patty Ann said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. I haven't read these books, but will definitely be trying them soon! I have also learned in my own life that it really is NEVER to late to live happily ever after. Sometimes, we just have to redefine our vision of that dream. I love the fact that the things people write or say can touch our hearts and change our lives for the better. I think that is what sisterhood is really all about.

Zoey said...

Wonderful! I will have to read the other posts. I would like to read this series. Is this the one that grandma has right now?

Sondra said...

Yes, Grandma has the first 3 and I will bring the next 2 at Thanksgiving.

Valerie said...

I've never read Anita Stansfield, but my sister loves her books.

I read both of those blog posts when they were posted and loved how they went together too. And now yours with them!


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