Good afternoon all!
I’ve decided to start some regular book reviews on the blog. I read some wonderful books and it always seems a shame to read and forget, so I’d love to share some of them with you. Today I’m reviewing one fiction and one non-fiction, both for the Christian market, which I’ve recently read, and loved 🙂
I took this on holiday to Mallorca, and found it an ideal read for chilled out poolside relaxing. There was much I enjoyed about this book, and I found that I related to the main character, Becky, in lots of different ways, not least the pressure we put on ourselves as mothers to ‘do better’. Sometimes this is even worse as Christians – we think that we should be matching up to some kind of ideal, some kind of perfect mum who never gets things wrong or shouts at her kids. This book explores something of this in a gentle, light humour which gives us permission to not be quite so perfect after all. I love that Becky is trying to read a book about the Ultimate Christian Mom who gets everything right and always looks perfect, as well. I won’t say too much about Becky’s journey, but it’s lovely to see how she comes to a realisation that she is loved by God and valued for who she is, and has much more to offer than she thinks.
Some of the writing style reminds me of Adrian Plass and his Sacred Diary series, which is great because I’ve loved those books for a long time, and it’s nice to see something in this kind of style for our time. I think much of it will resonate with a lot of people, especially mums with young children – although it struck many chords with me, and mine are teens – I think lots of people could identify with Becky and her desperation to be good enough, and the general drama and chaos of her busy life.
A warm, uplifting and funny read. Loved it – look forward to another book by Fiona Lloyd.
This non-fiction book is an important and compelling read written from a vulnerable place. The author has been so brave in sharing a story of a difficult time in her life. Claire Musters is open and honest as she opens up her life, in all its flaws, to explore an area which affects all of us. She shares how wearing her own mask caused problems in her marriage and her church, and how it was only in removing her mask that these things could be healed.
Many of us sometimes hide our ‘true’ face from those around us, donning our masks and pretending to be someone else, or pretending that all is well with us when it’s really not. This book explores the way in which we can wear these masks; in our identity, in our shame and guilt, our disappointment at God and others, in our church lives, our culture, our fear of what others think and of rejection. Sometimes these masks can be a result of our upbringing or our personality types, and sometimes we start wearing them because of events in our lives. We put them on because that is how we cope, or because we don’t want others to see our real selves.
I love how Claire burrows deep into our lived realities and suggests ways we can drop our masks and be liberated from these things which hold us back. It’s only in coming closer to Christ we can be who we really are, and growing to be more like Christ where we can leave these things behind and go forward with unmasked faces, loved and free.
It’s a courageous and thought-provoking book. I read it over Lent, and found it helpful to read a chapter at a time, taking time to let it soak in and to work through the personal reflections at the end of each chapter. Warmly recommended.
I blogged for Claire’s series ‘Unmasked’ a few months back, talking about my own mask of trying to look ‘fine’ – Embracing the Broken
I’d love to hear what you think about these books, if you’ve read them (and if you haven’t, do!) – and if you have any recommendations, or any you’d like me to review, please do get in touch.