Most helpful critical review
Typical Lori Wick...as of late
on March 7, 2003
Once again, Lori Wick has provided a confusing story with many characters. Agreed, one "couple" can become tedious and a tad boring at times, but she shifts the action so many times in each chapter that I found myself turning to the front of the book to the cast of characters to confirm who they were! And I have read all of her books and am used to a big cast. The subplots were fine as subjects, but there were so many characters and so many story lines it was almost as if she couldn't come up with the main story and had to "fill" the gaps.
In my opinion, her earlier work still outshines her more recent, more "mature" books with regards to plot development and execution, character development, character description, and just plain likability of the characters. I was soooo taken with the Donovan family in "The Californians" and the Cameron's in the "Fireside" series. I wanted their stories to go on! Even The Texas Trilogy left me wanting more of the life of the characters...but these "English Garden" characters leave me shrugging with indifference.
Cassie and Tate are the main focus of the story (Cassie is the "Visitor") and they fall in love as she reads to him as he recuperates from an accident that has left him blind. Will he regain his sight? And if he does, will he still want Cassie, who doesn't see herself as beautiful as her sisters? Then there are Lizzie (Cassie's sister) and Moreland. Moreland is a friend of Lizzie's brother Edward, and she has loved him from afar. Moreland, blind to Lizzie's feelings, is certain she doesn't care for him! Once he finds out her true feelings, the gentle chase is on.
I found Lizzie and Moreland to be more fun than Cassie and Tate. And I thought Henry, who struggled with quietness (I didn't see him as shy, but rather someone who didn't like to interact with others), to be realistic as he overcame his selfishness. He finally realized that "living" his Christian life was not enough, and that by being quiet he was failing to tell others about his Lord. He asked God to change him and, althought he struggled and suffered through it, he began to turn around and become the family leader he should.
If you are a Lori Wick fan, and don't get me wrong, I am (I love the way she always presents the plan of salvation in her stories and the way her characters work on their prayer lives!), then this book will be appealing. If you are new to Mrs. Wick, read this book, but investigate her earlier publications. I promise, you won't be sorry you went on the treasure hunt.