Friday, July 5, 2013

Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix

This was my first book by author, Michele Phoenix.  The premise of the book looked pretty interesting.  There were two stories happening throughout the book.  The first story took place in 1944 when the Nazi's were occupying France.  They had taken over the small town of Lamorlaye and were using a grand castle, and manor for the endeavors to further the Furher's kingdom.
The second story takes place over 50 years later.  Marshall Becker, better known as Beck or Becker, has reluctantly taken on a historical restoration project overseas in France.  The historical restoration just happens to be the grand chateu in Lamorlaye.  Beck has no idea of all that has taken place in that castle or the secrets it holds.  One of the secrets includes a squatter, named jojo, living on the property that keeps to himself.  No one really knows who he is or what he's doing there.  But when a horrible fire almost takes a life, the truth begins to emerge.  Becker is also fighting many of his own "demons" which end up hurting everyone around him.  When he meets the beautiful Jade, the shell he has built up suddenly begins to crack and he's faced with dealing with all the hurt he's been through or running away. 

What can I say about this book...  Parts of it were so interesting, but it was overshadowed by aspects that I really didn't like.  Beck is a drunk.  And while I waited for Beck to finally become a true believer in Christ and for God to be exalted, it never really happened.  His nasty language is implied  never actually used in the book, and I really think we hear enough of that in the world that I rather not read it in a Christian novel.  Beck is angry all the time.  He never seems to get over what has happened in his past and it becomes just a heavy weight.   I think the story was rather depressing and pretty sad in parts.  I had a hard time enjoying it.  The only interesting part was the mystery of who was doing the vandalism, who Jojo is, and the story from 1944.
Unfortunately, I really can't recommend this book as it was really not enjoyable for me to read.

If you're interested in seeing pictures of the castle in France that Michele Phoenix referenced, you can view her photo album and watch a YouTube video about the place on her website here.

From the Back Cover

After invading Lamorlaye, France, Nazi officials don’t hesitate to take over the beautiful Meunier manor as their headquarters, hiring two young Frenchwomen, Marie and Elise, who clean and launder to help supplement their families’ meager incomes. But the girls begin to grow suspicious when medical equipment arrives, followed by an influx of pregnant women. As the Nazis’ plans for the manor become clear, the girls must decide where their loyalties truly lie.

More than fifty years later . . .
Architect Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.

Becker explores the castle’s shadowy history as he seeks to cope with the demons from his own past. Only Jade, the feisty nanny of the owner’s children, is willing to stand up to him. But Becker soon discovers that every one of the château’s inhabitants seems to have something to hide and something to protect—and something worth fighting for.

***I checked this book out from my local library to read for the Summer Reading Program by Tyndale House.  

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