Josie Brooks is hot, thirsty and nearly fifty. Her life is organized, settled, predictable. Except for that nagging feeling that it’s not. As a woman in that same age range, I was looking forward to reading Divine Appointments.
Charlene Ann Baumbich’s opening pages did not disappoint, and initially I found Josie very likeable. Unfortunately, despite large blocks of narrative and description designed to tell me about her and those around her, I didn’t get to know her – or any of the other characters in the novel - nearly as well as I’d have liked.
Baumbich introduces three other point-of-view characters in addition to Josie, and the unfortunate effect of the multiple points-of-view is that rather than getting to know Josie deeply, I got to know four characters on a superficial level.
To the author’s credit, I was disappointed. She created characters I wanted to know more about, and who I wished desperately would interact more often, because when they talked to each other, the story and the characterizations deepened. Sadly, those interactions were greatly outnumbered by blocks of narrative, which I found tiresome by the middle of the book.
Baumbich also does subtlety well. For example, she has some really nice images surrounding the snow globe on the front cover. My favorite image, though, is one of Lyle Waters thumbing through his Rolodex – a simple act that advanced story, backstory and characterization in one beautifully written scene.
Baumbich also carries the thirst metaphor through the book (though I had difficulty "getting it" at first), with little touches that astute readers will pick up on and smile at. And while the story embodies a Christian world view, this is gently woven in through story and characters without being preachy.
Divine Appointments was an easy read, but one that left me wanting more showing and less telling.
*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.