This summer has been insane.
This review is coming late, late, late, late. I had everything in the world happen at the time I was supposed to review The Writing Desk. Car accident happened. Then Ocular rosacea–corneal inflammation, affected vision–couldn’t read without getting a migraine. Both vehicles needed repairs (not at once, though!) and went to the shop. Braces for one child. Four wisdom teeth surgically removed for another child. In five weeks. The last two weeks, I’ve been working on getting caught up on all of my behind projects. Including starting the new school year!
Now that the vision in my eye is completely restored, and we don’t have major back-to-back appointments, I can give The Writing Desk my full attention. Yay!
Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk is a dual-timeline novel that goes back and forth with two female characters–one from the early 1900s, and the other at current day. I love reading dual-time novels, but they’re hard to write, so they’re not books I frequently stumble upon. Rachel did a magnificent job toggling between one time and another. There was a smooth and natural transition.
Tenley Roth comes from a famous writing family, and when her first novel was a hit, everyone anticipated the second one would be, too. What they didn’t know was that Tenley had nothing. And when her estranged mother called asking her to travel from New York to Florida to be with her during her chemo treatments, Tenley went, hoping that the time would afford her plenty of writing opportunities.
Birdie Shehorn, one hundred years earlier, was born to a wealthy, high-society family to whom appearance and breeding meant everything. Birdie didn’t care about all of that. She wanted to write, but as a woman, it wasn’t supposed to be part of her station. She was supposed to marry wealth and host parties and look beautiful. Birdie wanted her stories and she wanted love, but her mother would have none of that.
Tenley and Jonas made me happy. The interplay between the two of them was so touching and riveting. Jonas’s love and respect for Tenley felt so natural. His faith shone through the choices he made and the things he said to Tenley. I’m not saying that his character was a goody-two-shoes or perfect. There were times I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him. Ha! Ultimately, I really liked his character, and he seemed very genuine.
The image on the right is my favorite quote from the book. In the story, Tenley was stressed with her life and looming deadline approaching. She chose to go on a bike ride on a busy highway in a robe and slippers. Motorists passed her, blew their horns–you get the idea. Jonas happened upon her and convinced her to get off the road.
“You look like the Wicked Witch of the West with that robe flapping behind you.”
“Careful or I’ll send out the monkeys.”
There was a good bit of humor and thoughtfulness with Tenley’s storyline.
Birdie. Poor Birdie. I wanted to lock her mom in a closet somewhere. What a meddler. The expectations of the day were hard for someone who was such a free bird–pun intended.
I love Rachel’s writing. She has taken these two characters and made them so realistic. Their joys and troubles are so true to life that I feel like I’ve stepped into a room with them and am watching from a corner. I love that.
The two ladies in The Writing Desk are pursuing dreams. They each want to be authors, to be loved, and to do the right thing. They both learned HARD, important lessons along the way. Very moving. This book is a keeper. Collectors of great Christian fiction, buy this one!
About the Author
Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.
She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.