Humbled by reviews I hadn’t seen

Today I was looking for good media entities for Zondervan to send ARCs of Daisy Chain to, and I stumbled across crosspurposesbooks.com. There, to my delight, were several reviews of Watching the Tree Limbs I’d never seen. Here they are, if you’re curious:

Not your ordinary Christian novel …  Dec 22, 2006
When I first heard of Watching the Tree Limbs, I was intrigued but apprehensive. The scope of Christian fiction has been steadily widening over the last several years, covering such previously taboo topics as divorce, drug addiction, homosexuality, and abuse, but it’s still rare to find a book that treats such subjects with an even hand, not softening the harshness of evil while not wallowing in the misery it brings. I heard some say that they weren’t interested in this story from the outset because it sounded “depressing”–it deals very openly with childhood rape. Being a survivor of abuse myself, I wanted to see how the author handled it, but was afraid on the other hand of it being too realistic. Well … it was not depressing. Tense at moments, heartwrenching much of the time–but so infused with grace and beauty that I could hardly put the book down … except for the moments when God “breathed” on me so heavily I just needed to stop and soak it in. What an amazing story … I could so relate to Mara in the first book–disreputable parentage, betrayal by someone I should have been able to trust, the fear of telling anyone, the feeling that *I* was somehow responsible as well as defiled … and yet God reached down and claimed me for His own, as He did Mara.
 
A book you’ll never forget  Dec 1, 2006
Watching the Tree Limbs is a meticulously crafted story of a nine-year-old orphan girl who is shuffled from place to place. Never believing she belongs, and never able to accept love, her journey takes her through rejection, abuse, and constant loneliness. Written with richly drawn characters, against backdrop of a small town in Texas, her plight could take place anywhere; in fact it probably does. Despite her circumstances, your heart will be uplifted as she finds her way to the God of love, who never once abandoned her. I couldn’t recommend this book enough. It pulls you into the story immediately and never lets you go. Mary Demuth is an author to watch.
 
You Can’t Put This One Down, Nor Will You Want To!  Oct 24, 2006
Rarely do books stay with you over time. But some stories beckon you to return and ponder the deeper meaning held within their chapters. Line by line, this is the case with Mary DeMuth’s first novel, Watching the Tree Limbs. The language is lyrical and infused with vitality and fresh word pictures. The main character opens (for one page) in adult perspective, pondering her life story with a moving metaphor that nails time, place, and gripping emotion, enticing the reader to turn the first page to the last in one sitting. Mara’s is a riveting childhood story of sexual abuse and wounded hearts, of generous friendships and relatives unknown, of her journey to find home–a torrential heat wave sprinkled with cloud bursts of grace. A redemptive God turns the bitter to sweet despite the abusive people stuffing Mara’s life with lies, secrets, and deceit, but not in a simplistic or trite way. This story is a tribute to survival and triumph beyond traumatic childhood abuse. Watching the Tree Limbs won’t let you go until it has harvested deep truth from your soul.
 
A child shall lead. . .  Oct 23, 2006
While reading Watching the Tree Limbs, I wanted to take Mara by the hand and lead her away from all the trouble she faced. Instead, she took me by the hand and led me through her story as she discovered her past, overcame her fears and found the true meaning of her name. Mary does a beautiful job developing Mara’s story, keeping the reader involved in the mystery of her past and presenting her with hope for the future. A great read that leaves a profound impact on the reader.
 
Two fabulous reads  Oct 6, 2006
I just finished _Wishing on Dandelions_ and I am overwhelmed. The book is fabulous!  In spite of the darkness of this young heroine’s experience, the story sparkles. Although her perceptions are colored by her horrible past experience, Maranatha presses on.  I confess, I was a little timid about reading such a heavy theme. I like my entertainment light and cheerful, or a suspenseful crime story. But the abuse from _Watching the Tree Limbs_, which I also loved, is alluded to, not graphic, and while I hurt with Mara, I also laughed, rejoiced, and cheered her on, because there is much more to both books than the abuse. With courage, irony, humor, hope and often faltering faith, she triumphs with the help of some friends, her own strong spirit, and Jesus. And the faith message is woven through naturally.  I imagine I will sometimes call upon Maranatha’s example of doing the right thing when it was very, very hard. Sometimes I laughed out loud, sometimes I wiped away tears. I loved both books

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