Waiting for Daybreak

fall-into-reading-2008Back in September I entered into Callapidder Days’ Fall into Reading challenge. I chose nine books that I wanted to read between September 22 and December 21.

Well, as you can tell, it is a few weeks beyond December 21, so my challenge report is overdue. I’m not the best at these, you can tell, but Katrina is always gracious and lets me participate anyway.

Thing is, of the five and a half books from the nine I aimed to read, I have yet to post two reviews. I finished these well within the fall period, but wanted to spread reviews out—for some reason—then proceeded to forget. Anyway, yesterday, I read a blog post that jarred my memory

Katie Cushman announced on her blog that her novel, Waiting for Daybreak (Bethany House), will soon be available at Walmart.

Yes, the same Waiting for Daybreak I read back in October and have yet to review.waitingfordaybreaksm

The thing is, this story has stayed with me, so writing a review even after all this time, doesn’t seem like a formidable task. Without further babbling … 😀

The Story. Paige, a conscientious, caring pharmacist who is working in a clinic, is struggling to make ends meet when she learns that her mother is ill. If she can receive an expensive treatment, her prognosis is good, but her parents don’t know how they will pay. Paige offers to help, and she prays.

Soon thereafter an elderly man doing work in the clinic, offers Paige a job in an upscale pharmacy not far from her parents’ home. She will work, it turns out, under his granddaughter, Clarissa’s, supervision.

Paige gladly takes the job but soon discovers that all is not as it should be. The events that unfold open up Paige’s past and cloud her future, even as the days become more and more difficult to bear. But her parents are counting on her financial help for the treatments her mother has begun. She has no choice but to keep working at the pharmacy—if she can hold on to the job.

Strengths. I think the thing that stands out for me in Waiting for Daybreak, as it did in A Promise to Remember, Cushman’s first novel, is how well-drawn the characters are. As I was writing the short summary of the book, I immediately felt the anxiety I identified as Paige’s because Cushman made the character come alive. Her actions and reactions were believable. She had noble aspirations and I rooted for her to succeed. I felt for her when the noose tightened, and I cheered for her as she struggled to overcome the fears that led her down the wrong path.

Clarissa is a strong secondary character, maybe even a second protagonist. She is also well drawn and believable, though not as likable in the beginning. But rather than taking the role of hateful antagonist, she becomes sympathetic, and in the end I cared for her almost as much as I did Paige.

Truly, Cushman has a knack for drawing characters that clash with one another but which the reader understands equally.

I’m big on themes, and I felt there were some important themes running through Waiting for Daybreak. This book is a good example of “Christian worldview fiction.” The gospel message isn’t preached, but living like Christ is a clear theme. And it is delivered in a natural way through the characters and the things that happen to them.

Weaknesses. Given the task of bringing two conflicting characters to a point of resolution without making the story seem contrived or maudlin, Cushman does a remarkable job. Yet, in thinking about weaknesses in the novel, I’d have to say this one might have too many neat, tied-in-a-bow events at the end. Not all of them are happy. I seem to remember tearing up a time or two. But I also seem to remember a lot of things converged, perhaps a little too conveniently.

But that was minor, if it was an issue at all. The only other thing that bothered me was Clarissa’s grandfather, Lee Richardson. He plays a critical role, based on a deep hurt from the past. The thing is, earlier in the story, he makes a critical decision—to offer Paige the job in Clarissa’s pharmacy—that doesn’t seem consistent with someone who had experienced what he had experienced. It wasn’t a story stopper because when he made the job offer, the reader doesn’t know about his hurtful experience. But upon learning of it, I found Lee to be a much weaker character than I’d thought previously.

Recommendation. That being said, I didn’t find the story less enjoyable. Reading Waiting for Daybreak was entertaining and memorable. I highly recommend this story to readers. It is a must read for those who enjoy women’s fiction, especially Christian women’s fiction.

Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm  Comments Off on Waiting for Daybreak  
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