Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"At Every Turn" Review

When Alyce Benson hears two missionaries speak at her church, she immediately pledges to give $3000 to their work. Alyce knows that, especially in 1916, this is a substantial sum, but she is deeply moved by the stories and pictures of the children in Africa, and she knows that her wealthy father will give the money to her.
But when her father refuses to help, Alyce must find another way to raise the money. Relying on everything she knows and loves about driving, Alyce conspires with her father’s mechanic, Webster, to secretly enter several car races, hoping to win a least a part of the prize money. Webster has been a good friend to her over the last couple of years, but the more they work together to prepare for the races, the more Alyce wonders if there is more to this young man than meets the eye.
As Alyce falls deeper and deeper into the secrets surrounding the races, she wonders if she is really doing the right thing. She knows her ability can help raise money for the missionaries, but is she doing things God’s way or her own?

When I first signed up to review this book, I was only moderately interested in reading it based on the summary. I was mainly reading it because of how much I enjoyed the previous book by Anne Mateer, Wings of a Dream.
Once again, just like in Wings of a Dream, I thought the story started out just OK. I thought it was nice and that it was different, since it is about a girl who drives race cars, but I wasn’t really expecting much else out of it.

Over the course of the novel, however, I got more involved in the story, and the novel just really grew on me. By the end of the book, I had enjoyed it so much that I almost wanted to go back and read it again to make sure I hadn’t missed anything!
I think the main reason I connected so much with this novel was that I really understood Alyce and what she was dealing with. A lot of times it is so hard for me to understand whether or not I am doing something because God wants me to or if I am just jumping in without waiting for Him. Alyce gets involved in a tangle of lies because she tries to take things into her own hands instead of trusting God for the outcome.

I also felt a bond with Alyce because she wasn’t seen as a “normal” girl. She liked to race cars rather than do things that would typically be more girly. This is how I feel sometimes, since I am not really a “girly-girl.” I would rather watch college football on a Saturday afternoon instead of go shopping. I liked how the author pointed out that God had given Alyce the ability to race cars and that she should do it for Him instead of trying to fit into some sort of mold. Oh, and being an Indiana girl, I loved the setting and mentions of the various places close to me!
The characters in this novel were written extremely well. They really came to life and were distinctive. I also really liked the relationship between Alyce and her grandmother. It was so sweet to witness the bond they shared in Christ and their desire to see Alyce’s parents come to know Him as well.

The romantic side of this story was interesting, but something about it kept me from liking it completely. Maybe it was because Alyce seemed to go back and forth between Webster and Lawrence so much. Or maybe it was because Alyce seemed to be naive in her judging of people. Whatever it was, the good thing about it was that it was there throughout the story as a main plot point but also didn’t get in the way of the greater story of Alyce and the racing.
I especially enjoyed another theme in this book that came through loud and clear for me at a time in my life when I needed some encouragement in this area. I loved how several times it was pointed out that we can a blessing to people and show them the light of Christ wherever God has placed us. I loved how at the end a character said that they could have their own little mission field right where they were, even if others wondered at their choice of where to serve.

At the beginning of this novel, I was wondering if it was really going anywhere. But once I got into it, I was liked it more and more at every turn of the page
I will give At Every Turn ... 4½ BookWorms.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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