Top critical review
She finally missed one - big time!
on August 14, 2001
I am a Lori Wick fan and own all her fiction books. The Texas Rose trilogy was somewhat disappointing, but "Bamboo and Lace" was downright awful. Because I always look forward to Mrs. Wick's books, I had this book read within 12 hours of it arriving in the mail. Unfortunately, I kept waiting for it to get better. This is the first Lori Wick book I had to force myself to finish (although "Texas Sky" was a close second and I really loved the Dakota Rawlings character).
The characters in "Bamboo and Lace" were totally unrealistic and acted uncharacteristically from the personalities they were given. The only one I really liked was Jeff and he was a secondary character. Even though this is fiction, characters must act realistically and true to their given personalities. The major characters in this book did neither.
The heroine, Lily, came across as not innocent or simply trying to fit into a different world, but as timid and stupid (just because she was self taught in physics did not make her smart.) Lily was a whiner/weakling and much too perfect-even more so than that other fish out of water character, Sunny Gallagher in "The Hawk and the Jewel". The ways in which Lily were raised (in seclusion in the mountain village she called home for over twenty years) were completely abandoned after only six months in the U.S. This is totally unrealistic, uncharacteristic and highly improbable. This change in mannerisms and thinking would take a LIFETIME to accomplish.
Gabe had such potential but as far as heroes go, he was a let down. I was disappointed that Ms. Wick would not realize that any young man in modern days would take the health precautions that Gabe did not to ensure his future fertility (I also don't think it realistic that a man as young as Gabe was when he got sick-his early 20's-would be convinced he would die. Men and woman of this age think they will live forever). Gabe obviously had a caring family and he normally listened to their advice, but he didn't in this case. Thus, his infertility only served as a conveneint reason to require this couple to adopt from a foreign country.
Not that this is not noble and it goes without saying that these children surely need good, loving homes. But many an American couple will have their own child and then chose to adopt others-my church is full of these parents. It was uncharcteristic for him to not listen to listen to his family when life was involved. Again, the character made uncharacteristic choices. Gabe made me long for the men from any of the Kensington Chronicles (now those were heroes!)
Now to Lily's father, the disciplinarian missionary. I cannot imagine an American man moving to an Asian village and subjecting his daughter to live the submissive and subservient manner Lily's father required her to. In the village was one thing so as not to alienate the villagers he was trying to witness to, but living this way in the home is something completely different, and no believing man that had been raised in the U.S. would treat is daughter this way (requiring her not to meet a man's eyes, or not able to speak until she was "commanded" to). Sorry, Mrs. Wick could not convince me that a modern man would do this. He just came across as a cruel man and not as a believer afraid of being left alone. Why was his reasoning not expanded upon??????
And with regards to submission and obedience. Sure, this story has that, but only if you can overlook the fact that the man (Lily's father) was asking her to be obedient outside of Scripture. I suppose this is a weak protest on my part, but consider this. If he had asked her to do something illegal or ordered her to marry an unsaved man, would she have been right to be obedient to him? Not hardly. Obedience to man and parents must follow Scripture and Lily's father was not following Scripture. Lily admitted this herself.
In summary, the story is passable, but the characters were unrealistic and they deviated from the personalities given by the author (hey, I know it's fiction, but fiction has to be based on probability and there wasn't any here).
"Sophie's Heart" was great, but otherwise, Mrs. Wick's contemporary fiction always falls short of her historical work. Always. She needs to stick to the historical settings where she shines. (Like the Californians and Rocky Mountain Memories series-now those I couldn't put down and practically went into mourning when they were finished).
If you would like a great writing example of historical fiction romance, read Lauraine Snelling's "A Secret Refuge" series about the Highwood sisters during the Civil War ("Daughter of Twin Oaks", "Sisters of the Confederacy" and "A Long Way Home".) And for a great example of contemporary romances, read the "O'Malley Family" series by Dee Henderson. The heroines are wonderful and the heroes are fantastic, and the writing superb.
However, if you are a true Lori Wick fan, read the book. But think twice before you spend your money on it-borrow it if you can.