Review—Renovating Becky Miller

Undoubtedly, many who know me and read that title are thinking, It’s ABOUT time; that woman has needed renovating for longer than I can remember. 😀

Sorry to disappoint you. I’m not the target of the renovation: the fictitious Becky Miller is.

I’m referring to novelist and soon-to be-fantasy-author Sharon Hinck’s sequel to The Secret Life of Becky Miller.

Renovating Becky Miller

I need to preface my review of Renovating Becky Miller with a comment about the timing. I feel quite funny posting a review in early November for a book that won’t be released until February. I’ll chalk that up to my inexperience with the business because I got my Advance Reader’s Copy from the PR guy at Bethany, publisher of Sharon’s Mom-lit books.

So here goes. You might be familiar with the notion that second books often don’t live up to the reputation of the first. It’s the equivalent of baseball’s “sophomore jinx.” Thankfully Hinck shatters that image in connection to her writing.

Renovating Becky Miller picks up the protagonist’s story where The Secret Life left off. Becky, hampered with a limp and a cane because of her accident, is working part-time in the new church to set up their women’s ministry department.

Through the tangles of busy-ness, she realizes some key relationships are not what she wishes, and the harder she tries to fix things, and people, the worse it all seems to get.

I’m not telling you more. I firmly believe that knowing the plot in advance dilutes the power of the story. This one is too good to let that happen.

As she did before, Hinck begins each chapter with one of the protagonist’s daydreams, but these are adaptations of a host of popular movies. Part of the fun is recognizing which hero Becky Miller is envisioning herself to be—or more accurately, which hero’s harrowing circumstances she likens to her own.

Besides the fun, Hinck once again delivers a powerful truth through the story without lecturing or moralizing. Her character digs herself in a hole, lots falls in on top of her, and because of her circumstances she discovers the truth she has been missing. We readers are just along for the ride.

And boy, are we. This story captured me to the point that I fell asleep at night reading and awoke early only to think of the story and grab the book to read more. Hinck’s writing put me into the protagonist’s skin. I felt for her, worried with her, ached when she did, and cried when she realized what she needed to know.

Here’s the tell-tale anecdote—true story. The day after reading Renovating, I left my seat in front of the computer to pour a glass of milk. My knee was a little creaky, and I thought, “I should have used my cane.” I stopped myself, had to laugh. “No, Becky, you are not the one who has a bad knee and hip; you don’t walk with a cane. That would be the fictitious Becky Miller.” 😀

What more can I say? When an author transports you into that other world and lets you live what the characters live, there’s no better writing. There’s no more-satisfying read.

I will say, at the beginning I experienced momentary uncertainty. The protagonist’s initial struggles sounded too familiar, and I thought we might be in for a reworking of the same issues that she confronted in the first book. I was pleased to be wrong.

Hinck has a wonderful way of leading you to paths you least expect, but when you get there, you realize that’s where you were headed all along.

The story is fun, moving, surprising, full of truth and characters that seem as real as you and me.

Renovating Becky Miller is a must read for Christian women, and I highly recommend it for Christian men.

The good thing about publishing a review this far in advance: it gives you time to read The Secret Life of Becky Miller if you haven’t already. Not that you need to read the first one to enjoy the second, but why not get in on the fun from the beginning?

That one, by the way, would make a GREAT Christmas present, especially if you have someone you’re buying for with young children. But, SSSHH. Don’t tell my nieces! 😉

Published in: on November 2, 2006 at 1:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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