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When I first saw the synopsis for Charleston by Margaret Bradham Thornton I knew I wanted to read it. Eliza grew up in Charleston but left for art study in New York and then London when things didn't work for her and her high school sweetheart, Henry. She unexpectedly meets up with Henry at a wedding in London, and he tells her to contact him when she's back in Charleston. Now she's back in Charleston for what should be a short visit. But as she absorbed again into the people and culture of the charming Southern cit,y, Eliza has to decide if one can ever truly go home again, go back to what was.
This book is beautiful. The descriptions of the people and places of Charleston were alive. I love Charleston, and, having lived in South Carolina all my life, I've been there many times. Reading this book I could see all the things I love about Charleston, and having things related from Eliza's point of view gave me inside information that I've never known as a tourist. It was truly amazing, and the book drew me in and absorbed me every time I sat down with it.
Eliza and Henry are great characters. They are well-developed, and I found myself liking them and pulling for them and their relationship.
Charleston has a haunting feel, however. There was a tone to the story, a foreboding if you will. And I just knew that the story wasn't going to end happily. I won't give the ending away, but I will say that I was very let down. I left the book feeling emotionally exhausted.
I'm still very glad that I read it. It was hauntingly beautiful, and I can definitely recommend it as a good read.
Just a note to my regular readers: Charleston is not a Christian fiction novel. There is nothing at all here in the way of descriptions of intimacy, although there is reference to casual intimacy several times. And the only language that I noticed was the fact that many of the characters say "Oh my G_d" or other similar statements. What bothered me most in the fact that it's not a Christian fiction read is the feeling of hopelessness it holds. The characters are swept along by the hand of "Fate" in a capricious way with no sense of stability because they don't have trust in anything higher than themselves. It is difficult to read a story like this with that sense of hopelessness, and I think it's why I felt emotionally depleted when I finished it.
I still give this one 4 strong stars and a PG rating for content.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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