Tuesday, 2 June 2015

ARC Review: Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu


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Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Pages: 336
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Received from: publisher
Status: standalone

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.

***
There are a lot of things in the world that make you question your faith, but when Rachel Walker's life starts unfolding, and the people around her seem to be changing, she discovers that maybe her devoution might be the reason why.

Rachel's story was a very heart-breaking, yet wonderful journey of self-discovery. Rachel grew up in a very closed off religion (think, Duggar's lifestyle, just without the cameras). She's essentially, from day one, taught to eat, breath, sleep, think, and act in the light of Christ, and has been told that her main purpose of life was to become a loving mother and servant of the Lord. But unlike others in her family, she's always craved knowledge, understanding, and has found herself questioning practices of their Church.

Mathieu delivers a powerful story, and her writing style (in my opinion), has flourished immensely since The Truth About Alice. Rachel's journey moved me to tears, because she knew that if she followed her heart, she'd be cut off from her family completely, but if she stayed, she knew that she'd live an unhappy life. It really moved me, especially since I am a Christian- a Catholic specifically- and I am pretty into my faith. I'm not devouted as much as Rachel was, but I believed in God, and I do practice. This novel made me wonder how devouted people could be to use their faith to harm others, and it hurt me knowing that Rachel's faith was hurting her. And what really hurt me more was the fact that such devouted people were not supportive, nor did they forgive sinners when they erred- they essentially punished them, and punishment and forgiveness should never go hand in hand. That's not how it should be, and I was really proud of her growth as a character, and her fierceness as well.

This story was thought-provoking and heart-breaking, and it will captivate you from the very beginning! I highly recommend this book to everyone!

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