It wasn't until this edition was announced that I even knew Catherine Marshall had written anything other than Christy. And while I was super excited to see another book by her, I was also disappointed that it was not a sequel to Christy, which I had felt ended on a cliffhanger with some unanswered questions. However, Julie stands on its own as a really good read, and I am so glad that I finally learned about it.
Set in the mid-1930's in Pennsylvania, Julie's story is one quite a bit removed from that of Marshall's other novel. Yet it still explores some difficult questions of faith. Where as Christy was just entering the ministry, Julie's family has only just left it. Her and her father struggle with the question of who God is to them and what it means to live out Christ's teachings. These questions were explored in a way which was honest and heart breaking, with a pastor having to leave the ministry to find God. And even though I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion reached, I appreciate that this real life struggle of someone who was raised in church but still doesn't really believe in or understand God was not glossed over.
The history aspect of this novel was also very well researched. Part of that was because the author actually lived through this time period, something which very few people can say today. Yet she also researched the events of this story, along with so many different industries involved, and all without the help of the internet! Her research allowed her to write one of the most horrifying and heartbreaking endings which I have ever read, made all the more real by the fact that these events actually occurred.
Perhaps the down side of reading this book for the first time at this stage in my life is that I have read many books before it. So, for me, love triangles are a trope which I have been frustrated with for sometime now and so it became the one down side of this really amazing read. Yet, as with Christy, the romance is far from being the center of the story, so I was able to get by with it, though I still wish it hadn't been there. However, though I know that I enjoyed it, I also know that this story will not be for everyone.
I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy of the book through the publisher and JustRead.
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