3 out of 4 stars
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The following is a re-review of At the Feet of Serenity by Eve Gwartney. This novel comes under the genre of other fiction.
Henry Clayland and Grace enjoyed a loving courtship. While they were dating, they happened to snap a photo of Henry in front of a statue called Serenity. Years later, their youngest daughter claimed this photo and wrote a family history comparing the changes in the Serenity statue to the changes in the Clayland family. Through the years, Serenity was defaced, cracked, broken, and repaired. This iconic photo of Henry became an allegory of how Serenity had been present when this couple first declared their mutual love. As the family changed, so did Serenity.
The Claylands owned and ran a hotel until Grace became sick and died. When Henry was left alone to raise their five children, he had to make a difficult decision concerning his children's future. Could he give his sons and daughters what they needed? Would Social Services force him to place the children in foster care? The story follows the lives of the children and chronicles the consequences of the father’s choices.
At the Feet of Serenity by Eve Gwartney recounts the story of Henry Clayland's and his descendants' lives. The youngest of the five siblings narrated the family history with vivid descriptions and realistic dialogues. I enjoyed the author's analysis of how one choice made by their father touched so many lives. The author used her father's photo in front of the Serenity statue as the starting point for his family history and Serenity's influence on this family. The photos of Serenity and those of the young family were a great addition to the text.
The author has improved this version of the novel by filling in some of the time jumps with additional facts and dialogues. The photos have also been inserted in appropriate places throughout the narrative. The updates on the two oldest boys in the family, Tom and Derek, inform readers of the latest happenings in their lives. I congratulate the author on the excellent improvements made to the narrative. Unfortunately, the text still needs to be proofread as I found several misspelled words, grammar mistakes, and some sentences with missing words.
The Clayman family adhered to the Mormon religion. The author explained several central teachings of this religion and some historical facts about the church and its founder. A cousin invited one of the brothers to join a radical Mormon break-off group. The author detailed the events that motivated her beloved brother to join this cult and become one of their leaders.
I rate this book three out of four stars. The author wrote a compelling story detailing how the Serenity statue eavesdropped on a young couple in love and continued to influence Henry's choices through the years. This story leads readers to reflect on the effect our actions can have on future generations. Sadly, I had to lower to score because of the number of errors I found in the text. Readers who enjoy books that follow family histories would enjoy this story. This book would appeal to people who study religions as the author has described several teachings of the Mormon Church. The book contains no profanity and no inappropriate scenes.
At the Feet of Serenity
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