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In her rich and heartfelt sophomore novel, Ewen (Walk Back the Cat) bases the story line on her grandmother's life as a missionary's wife in the 1920s in what is now Thailand. Barbara is a gifted opera protégée who gives up her dreams when she marries Harvey Perkins, a medical doctor bound for Siam. Feeling stifled and afraid, she loses her comfortable Christian faith amid the rigid fundamentalism of the poverty-stricken mission in rural Nan. The couple returns home after Barbara has a nervous breakdown, but Harvey's zeal for his work soon lands them in Siam again. The love between the two is endearing, and Ewen skillfully portrays Harvey's inability to understand his wife's deepest needs and her inability to understand what drives him. Ewen's prose is laudably rich in specific and colorful detail, which becomes a problem when it slows down the pacing. Judicious cutting would have improved this overlong narrative. Barbara's questions of faith constitute the core of the book, as she struggles to define what makes up a meaningful life. Some readers will be disappointed by her final choice, while others will cheer at the ending. Ewen is a talented writer, and this is a strong addition to Christian fiction.(May)
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ISBN-10:  0805447334
ISBN-13:  978-0805447330
Author:  Pamela Ewen
Publisher:  B&H Fiction
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review by . July 15, 2008
This novel is a fictionalized account of the author's grandmother's life in the 1920's in Philly, Bangcock and rural Siam, and Italy.    She tells the story as it probably was, not colored in a way to beatify her grandmother. The details are rich, and anyone who enjoys travel writing will enjoy this fictional account of all of these places.    It's long, and while the story isn't action-packed, it doesn't drag either.
review by . June 18, 2008
Barbara has given up her dreams as an opera singer to follow her husband and his career as a doctor. Unfortunately his dreams mean leaving the country for the other side of the world in Siam. There Barbara must adapt to a completely different way of life, where she finds herself being ostracized by the missionary women and lonely without Harvey being there all the time. She finds herself wondering if her love for Harvey is really worth the sacrifices she must make. Based on the true story of the …
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