October 16, 2011

REVIEW: Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable

Title: Stealing Jenny
Auhor(s): Ellen Gable
Publisher: Full Quiver Publishing
Release Date: September 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 203 (208 on GR)
Source: Goodreads First Reads


Summary from GR:
After three heartbreaking miscarriages, Tom and Jenny Callahan are happily anticipating the birth of their sixth child. Their neighbor, however, is secretly hatching a sinister plot which will find Jenny and her unborn baby fighting for their lives.

My Review:

Ellen Gable’s Stealing Jenny was incredibly hard to put down. It was a quick read once you really settled into it. I don’t know what it is, but there’s no words that come to mind right now about this book. I like the novel, but I don’t have much to say about it. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, or a good thing. I’ve been sitting in front of my computer screen trying somehow to put my thoughts in order (albeit not very well) and figure out how I should word this. 

There are a few things I like and dislike about his book. Certain things I’m uncomfortable with as well, but let’s start with a little summary first. 

Stealing Jenny is about Jenny Callahan, her baby, her family, and the struggle that they unexpectedly are caught in. We are told; from the very beginning, that Jenny has had three miscarriages. She and her husband are heartbroken each time. Unbeknownst to them is the fact that their seemingly innocent and quiet neighbour, Denise, is stalking Jenny, ready to put into action a plan that will change their lives forever. 

I don’t read much Christian literature and fiction, and so I’m not an expert in the genre, however I can still tell you what I think about this novel because I enjoy reading, and I enjoy reading almost anything. There are always thoughts and ideas that come to mind when one is reading, no matter if they’re an expert or not in the genre. 

Therefore, this is what I have to say:

Stealing Jenny is a gripping novel that grabs you and does not let go. 

This statement is true. It doesn’t let you go once you start reading it. The words grab you and pull you in, opening a hole to watch the lives of these characters. Ellen Gable makes the words easy to read and comprehend, and somehow, along the way you realize you’ve almost reached the end. Although, I enjoy this aspect, I wasn’t as impressed with her writing as I thought I would be. Gable writes well, but I didn’t like how some of the dialogues seemed somewhat unnatural and forced, or choppy. I got used to it after a while, but it just seemed weird to me. Her writing isn’t horrible – because god knows I write much worse – but it didn’t scream “wonderful author” either. However, even though she writes rather plainly, Gable is able to tell a story – and she tells that story well. 

One thing that stands out to me that I particularly wasn’t fond of was the fact that there are certain situations (most of which were of religious principles) in the novel that made me cringe. Maybe, it’s because I’m personally not very religious and have my own ideals, but these things bugged me. I mean, I know this is a book about faith, but there seemed to be so many unnecessary scenes and thoughts that had nothing at all to do with the story. I understand praying, but it is mentioned so many times that I almost rolled my eyes. I also didn’t see what NFP had to do with anything in the story. I probably would not have been bothered so much by this small little fact of mentioning praying and other religious traditions if one of the main characters was a Minister or Priest or Nun, but they were not, and so in this case, these things had nothing to do with the story. I see here that Gable is trying to fit many things in the novel, little plots, messages and lessons. Unfortunately, I was just uncomfortable with them, and they just took away from the great plot. 

Something that surprised me though, a thing I particularly did like and felt was interesting, was how Gable dealt with premarital sex. I’m thinking this is definitely a different spin on the subject than most traditional Christian novels. I first assumed that the book had a message to tell about pre-marital sex when it explained things about Denise and how her life went to hell. However, I was a little wrong since Jenny practically experienced the same thing and she turned out okay. This, I was happy with. Gable shows the reader two sides of the same coin, one who let all the things that happened to her bog her down, and the other who let life takes its course. 

The characters are somewhat interesting, a little bland or unbelievable at times, but interesting. The plot is predictable, but at the same time, suspenseful. It is a very...well, Christian thriller. 

In short, I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I enjoyed certain aspects, while I disliked others. I would recommend this to people who are comfortable reading about religion. Those who are not should keep away from this unless you can completely ignore those parts and just focus on the good suspense, drama and action. 

Thank you Ellen and Goodreads for the copy to review!


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