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Author: Rachel Hauck
Published By: Zondervan (2017)
Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?
With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.
A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.
Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase. (Taken from Goodreads)
Oh, I loved this book. I was very frustrated by the characters at times, but for the most part, I loved it. The author’s impressive ability to combine two totally different plots together—both full of unique casts of characters—and do so without much confusion on the reader’s part was astounding. Both storylines—Birdie’s and Tenley’s—were unique and completely separate, and yet connected, somehow, through this mysterious writing desk for which the book is named. The sections on Birdie read very authentic to the time period and I thought that while her story of forbidden love wasn’t necessarily a new concept in the historical fiction genre, it still felt new and different—and probably mostly due to the incredible characterization. As the reader, I felt truly connected to both characters and could picture their separate realities clearly and easily. I really liked the similiarities and parallels between the two stories and thought together it produced some powerful thematics to think on, such as the risks and rewards of following your dreams and the struggle of finding yourself.
This was a long book, but not terribly long, and it did not feel drawn out much at all. It just took me a while to read, for there wasn’t much action and most of the story is character driven—but I love character-driven stories, so that was fine by me.
There are some scenes that go into slight detail about two characters on their wedding night. Nothing directly inappropriate, but just a lot more mature than I’m used to reading–though it was only a sentence or two at most. Jonas tells Tenley he won’t sleep with her until they’re married. *SPOILER* Tenley walks in on her ex-fiancee in bed with his coworker, Nicolette.*
Aside from a couple mature sexual implications, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It perfectly captured a writer’s life and also wove in some beautiful and adorable romance, along with some themes about finding yourself and trusting God. The ‘follow your heart,’ theme was also very prominent, which I did not like as much ( “The heart is deceitful above all things” Jeremiah 17:9 — I believe in leading your heart, not following it).
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Recommended to: Because of a few more mature scenes, I’d probably say at least 14 and up…maybe even higher. It was definitely intended for adult readers, though I am 17 and I enjoyed it.