Soon, the character of an intriguing angel named Margaret began to shape in the eyes of my heart. I would write a fictional story about her.”(Come to the Garden, pg. xiii)
In the Acknowledgements section, Jennifer even states: “I had a dream and wasn’t going to settle for a personal journal.”
So in essence, what we are reading is an allegory. Which in itself isn’t a bad thing.
Jennifer’s guardian angel explores her dreams. These dreams Jennifer has are about loved ones passing or being ill, and some dreams bring about hope, such hope that even you as the reader will stop and praise God for her vision, and then other dreams are wholly prophetic.
And her gentle, beautiful guide is right there explaining the metaphors and symbols(pay attention to these!)
I felt invited while reading. I felt that even my own dreams and fears were finally explained just by reading this book.
At the final page, I took a breath, read some of the Scriptures offered in the back and reflected on what I’ve read.
Perhaps Jennifer’s own events inspired her to create the angel Margaret. Now, whether this is real or if angels are guardians versus messengers is set for another discussion elsewhere. All I know is that I am now inspired.
*This book was received for free from Howard Books through Jennifer’s publicist.
Come to the Garden, Jennifer Wilder Morgan
Published by Howard Books(2016)
*Also available in audio. Want it free? Please visit my Come to the Garden free audible giveaway which ends May 16,2016 so you can share the experience! Also narrated by Kathie Lee Gifford, the Today show host.
You read that right. Within 48 hours, you will finish this book. Perhaps sooner. Please read a bit of the review below so you can get a “feel for it now.
In a story that can only be called raw and amazing, ‘Waters Fall’ is certainly a book that will make you flinch. It has infidelity, pain, bitterness, and is so well told that Becky Doughty now has fans under her hooks.
Waters Fall is about a marriage falling apart. Nora is tired of something or wants something more and the prologue introduces her sinking under icy waters at Anderson Hollow(the water is a very significant symbol in this book).
Eventually Nora meets Tristan- the very attractive, carefree artist and suddenly she begins to adore everything about him: his art, his his studio-his charm. All to the destruction of her marriage and what makes things worse, she has two children and a husband.” (Waters Fall Review continues here)
Okay so here is how I feel about each character- SPOILER ALERT!
Oh, and it is Christian Fiction.
My psychological profile for Jake the husband
Jake in the beginning, seems like such a great guy. However, in the prologue it seems he is bugged by Nora as she goes under the water fall at Anderson Hollow. All is revealed later. He fixates on Nora too much. He is addicted to her, he worships her and this is what the bible calls Idolatry. I could tell from the first thirty or so pages that Jake really adores his wife. Sure he had his drinking days a decade back, he has changed and he is a caring father and actually likes to be around his wife. Who wouldn’t want that? In my opinion, Jake failed in two areas: 1)Putting his wife on a pedestal, and 2) appearing too needy of her.
My psychological profile for Nora
Readers may disagree with me, but the entire time I was like, “Really Nora? Really?” She basically drives her hubby to drink again with her nagging and passive attitude towards him. Yes, she nags and is very passive at the same time. My heart hurt when the oldest child, Leslie –told her father, maybe he can help out a little more and that “Mommy made it because she is smart.” Why can’t he be like her…or something like that. Nora’s response was not that great of a defense for her husband.
I think Nora is a person who never forgives-we all have this trouble on some level. Maybe Jake did so many bad things that now she hates him for it. Funny, but in two separate scenes, they both scream that they hate the other(not in each other’s presence). Also, I think she fails to see that Jake may actually enjoy staying with the kids- that is not called earning a keep. There are so many deadbeats around here and here she has a husband who cooks, cleans, and cares for the kids.
He did have some kind of job that was not doing well, but he needed encouragement, not a stingray in his behind all the time. Nora fails in two places: 1) She is unforgiving and 2) well, she cheats on her hubby.
My psychological profile for Tristan
Oh, Tristan. The carefree artist who is very, very tall, very handsome and very much available to Nora. He was in her sights for a reason. Right when Nora began to let her spirit roam and fall away from God, here comes trouble(same syllables and word count as Tristan- hmmm.)
I think he never loved Nora, but he was in lust with her. He told her all the things her flesh wanted to hear. And maybe on some level he may have been truthful about wanting her for himself, but he is not her husband and he displays protectiveness over her in one scene.
To dally in lust and play in another’s garden is enough to encourage the blood to sizzle and roar and who doesn’t want that fascinating feeling of pure passion. Who doesn’t want someone to want them? Tristan fails in one area: messing with another man’s woman.
Question: Is Tristan the bad guy here? Who’s the big baddie here out of all three characters?
This is why the book is worth your 48 hours(some of you may take longer to read this book, it is okay). You will literally be glued to the pages trying to see if Nora can get her act together and will Jake even take her back.
Let’s try and gauge what Phyllis was trying to say in this poem, “On Being Brought From Africa to America”
Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic dye.”
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.´
I am not much of a scholar , but when Wheatley writes “Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land” all I can think is that Africans had a very different belief system than what were taught to them in America. Christianity according to the bible was not their native belief(according to my limited knowledge) in fact, paganism, Shamanism may have been what Wheatley was referring to. Not saying Africa was bad or had evil folks, but after finding the Lord, she see her former land as Pagan- which can be any land really.
It was a knowledge of holy redemption which she never knew. I keep saying she, but I am referring to Speaker of the poem.
Then the Speaker says, ” Remember Christians, Negroes, black as Cain” I am perplexed…what does the Speaker mean by Cain? Was Cain black? If you look for the Curse of Cain, you may some info there but beware there are some websites that promote hate instead of theoretical information. Some say his blackness was his mark but as usual, I am skeptical of all that.
Finally Wheatley poses a solution to getting rid of our paganism. Get “refined” so we may join in the “angelic train” or that ride up to heaven to be with the Lord.
I really enjoyed her rhyme scheme and rhythm for this poem, but the words make you pause and think for a moment. These are thoughts of a slave brought to America. Her own life seems dim-losing children and then husband leaves her but her poetry of hope and religion does still live on.
What other poems by Phyllis Wheatley or any other black poet have you read? Do share! 🙂
“Outside, a wolf howled in deep mourning. A hardened Israeli soldier patrolled. And ruby eyes burned with longing.”(Holder &Viguie, 2011, p.509: Damned)
Such words paint the picture of how deep and emotional the novel Damned(Crusade Series #2) really is. I will take some time and focus on characterization, because I think that is the strongest point in this series. The plot is great and the action scenes are incredible by the way.
But the characters are who touch the heart. From the most cruel to the most caring.
First of all, Damned was very good. Team Salamanca face fights on all sides: Keeping Jenn’s sister Heather together since she is a Cursed One (vampire), Antonio, ah, Antonio continues to fight with Team Salamanca and is devout to God but his bloodlust is no longer quieted; then Solomon, another vampire has new tricks up his sleeves all while Team Salamnca try to dodge new supersoldiers that are a mix of human, vampire, and werewolf. Geesh, there is so much going on and of course, just like in book 1 there are a myriad of flashbacks tripping me up while all I care much for is Jenn and Antonio’s relationship and will they ever get her sister back to normal.
Now, back to the characters. I will list them, along with my thoughts about each, but please be warned. There may be spoilers in here and let me know if I missed someone.
Jenn Leitner: I like how the authors portray Jenn as “Just Jenn” in book 1. Suddenly she is bumped up to Leader and I like her transition from “Just Jenn” to an alpha in her group. Tough decisions must be made all while trying not to cry over her sister’s transformation and father’s betrayal. I think she will be a tough one just like her grandmother Esther.
Esther Leitner: Part of the Resistance and has a shady past. Her husband “Che” died in book 1 and she cares so much for granddaughter Jenn and her family, but she remains strong; helping Jenn whenever she can. Even so, she can’t believe Jenn did not tell her that her boyfriend Antonio was a vampire…
Antonio de la Cruz: Antonio, Antonio…he has to be one of my favorite characters simply because he has faith in God but grows fangs too. He is a tortured soul and maybe that is because like most humans, we have a base nature that laws, morality, and religion keep under control. While Aurora was torturing him, driving a knife near his heart over and over and depriving him of blood- Anotnio finally breaks…does this make him a monster? He thinks so and Jenn is his heart but should he just be himself or who God called him to be?
Holgar: Poor chap, that werewolf. He is also Team Salamanca. He is strong and loyal and I think he and Skye or at least he and Jenn make a great couple(although Jenn is on an Alpha mode and will completely dominate him). Holgar has abandoned his pack and mate for life in order to fight the vampires. To him, a pack is everything, but Team Salamanca is his new family…
Skye York: The White Witch. Normally I am not fond of “witchy” characters and books, but Skye, the witch with the rasta braids is the team’s healer. She is not a fighter, because White Witches are not fighters but she teamed up with Team Salamanca after her own boyfriend, Estefan joined sides with the vampires. He continues to get inside her head and with all the spells for healings and protection, her memories, and Estefan on her mind- she is liable to crack.
Eriko: The Hunter; probably has a small frame according to the description novels, but with a scary past herself wants to kill all the vampires after seeing one kill her own best friend on a webcam. What’s really interesting is that a few years before, Eriko was a part of a singing trio called the Vampire Three. She quit that after her friend’s death. Joined Team Salamanca, drank the elixir required for the one who’ll be the Hunter. This powerful elixir allows a normal human to become superhuman with super speed, super hearing, and super strength just like the vampires. For Eriko though, the elixir is beginning to be too much and it is hurting her physically…
Jamie: Mr. Hothead. He is probably the one I hate the most. He is Team Salamanca’s normal human, like Jenn but his disdain for vampires and werewolves run very deep. His family was killed by those monsters which means he holds cold hatred for Antonio and Holgar. At one time he did trust Antonio, but in Damned, it changes again. But Jamie has a fury that can squash any monster in his path.
Noah: New to the team and has a fondness for Jenn Leitner. He is Israeli and handsome and strong. I sure hope there is a love triangle- sounds weird since the books has a some love but is 90% action.
Aurora Abregon: The most terrible vampire I ever read about next to Sita in Christopher Pike’s books. She wants to see Antonio turned over to the evil side but she was hurt herself. Long story but now she is on a war path.
Solomon: Red haired rock star looking vampire who promised everyone on the planet vampires were here for peace and not to start trouble. Whatever. He has Jenn’s father with him and he is just as ruthless as they come.
Bottom line, I love this series because it is showing what can happen in the real world if vampires were loose. Only Antonio is a vampire who has fell in love and prays to God, not all vampires are like him. None of them are. And it is a trying time for a team that starves, get injured, and yes- these authors do not mind killing off characters from previous books. They kept it real.
“My Lord?” I ask. “What is wrong? Is it my question?”
By now the day has grown dark and the pond water becomes filled
with creepy things:singing crickets, hopping frogs, and nagging mosquitos.
His eyes were black as the night pond and his gaze caressed my soul-
such as a lover’s.
“My dear one,” he began. “Out of all the questions that could fill you up in one lifetime. In this expansive universe with all the glorious stars made from His Glory and Beauty, you ask if you must go to church?”
When he put it that way I felt a little silly, in fact I felt angry that I could be so dumb.
But he placed a hand upon a green lily, slid it over closer to the frog eying us.
It shot his long pink tongue; caught something- I yelped because it was so long and nasty!
From green came pink, then green tinted my skin( at least I’m sure it did)
The frog caught its ride, caught up in the rapturous moonlight RIBBIT was its call.
“The frog can be nice,” my Savior said. “Its tongue and preference are biologically wired but it must do this to live. Others may not like it, but the frog’s grand purpose is for this: To eat. And serve as a lesson for you.
“It does not care about congregating with others, although that can be nice and sometimes fruitful. But does being alone negate its purpose? It catches the flies near your doorstep which if it hadn’t, the flies would have landed upon your food, birthed maggots, buzzed annoyingly in your ear. The frog does this and does not congregate. In fact if it was, it would miss its mission.”
I understood my Lord, but I secretly thought, “I am no frog.”
He smiled, a heavenly smile that made it turn day again. “All are small on this planet to Him who made you, but you are so significant. So precious.”
“I am told its important to fellowship. I must be in a church!” Desperation for a clear answer stained my voice. My Savior did not flinch. He knew everything.
“The world says you need it. Do you need it?”
“Sometimes.” Then I heard an owl say Hoo! “Sometimes.”
“Then if my word is being taught, if it is being lived out and if you can forgive each other in love, it should not matter where you fellowship. Do it in My Name. He is everywhere and in all places, you must choose to open your eyes and see Him.”