Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Painted Dresses" Book Review and Giveaway!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Painted Dresses

(WaterBrook Press - July 15, 2008)


Patricia Hickman

Patricia Hickman is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, whose work has been praised by critics and readers alike.

Patricia Hickman began writing many years ago after an invitation to join a writer's critique group. It was headed up by best-selling author Dr. Gilbert Morris, a pioneer in Christian fiction who has written many best selling titles. The group eventually came to be called the "Nubbing Chits". All four members of the original "Chits" have gone on to become award-winning and best selling novelists (good fruit, Gil!).

Patty signed her first multi-book contract with Bethany House Publishers. After she wrote several novels "for the market", she assessed her writer's life and decided she would follow the leanings of her heart. She says, "It had to be God leading me into the next work which wound up being my first break-out book, Katrina's Wings. I had never read a southern mainstream novel, yet I knew that one lived in my head, begging to be brought out and developed." She wanted to create deeper stories that broke away from convention and formula. From her own journey in life, she created a world based upon her hometown in the 70's, including Earthly Vows and Whisper Town from the Millwood Hollow Series.

Patty and her husband, Randy, have planted two churches in North Carolina. Her husband pastors Family Christian Center, located in Huntersville. The Hickmans have three children, two on earth and one in heaven. Their daughter, Jessi, was involved in a fatal automobile accident in 2001. Through her writing and speaking, Patty seeks to offer help, hope and encouragement to those who walk the daily road of loss and grief.


In this story of sisterhood and unexpected paths, Gaylen Syler-Boatwright flees her unraveling marriage to take refuge in a mountain cottage owned by her deceased aunt. Burdened with looking after her adult sister, Delia, she is shocked to find a trail of family secrets hidden within her aunt’s odd collection of framed, painted dresses. With Delia, who attracts trouble as a daily occupation, Gaylen embarks on a road trip that throws the unlikely pair together on a journey to painful understanding and delightful revelations.

Steeped in Hickman’s trademark humor, her spare writing voice, and the bittersweet pathos of the South, Painted Dresses powerfully captures a woman’s desperate longing to uncover a hidden, broken life and discover the liberty of living authentically, even when the things exposed are shrouded in shame.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Let me start off by saying that I had really been looking forward to reading this book when it arrived. But at the same time, women's fiction (as a genre) is probably not my favorite - tends to be very emotional without lots of action. When I started "Painted Dresses" I might not have been in the right frame of mind for emotional writing, it was one of the first books in a long time that I almost put down without finishing. I just couldn't seem to get attached to the characters and I felt like I didn't know what was going on. At about chapter 4 I almost put it down, but decided to wait one more chapter. At that point something finally clicked and by the end of the book I couldn't put it down because I needed to see what happened and how it ended. I needed to say that, but now let me tell you why I finally got attached...

It is the story of two sisters, very different from each other but with a need for each other that neither of them really realized was there until their road trip. There is an interesting story that unfolds as they travel to different relatives and try to uncover the hazy past. Neither of them are bad people, just different - but they do discover someone bad in their family and they have to deal with that too. I liked the way it reflects real life in that not all the strings are neatly tied up in bows at the end of the book. I wouldn't say that storylines are left unfinished, just not tied up beautifully. In real life things don't always work out perfect either (do they ever work out "perfect"?) but we do sometimes get closure and that is more like what Gaylen finally gets.

It is a good women's fiction book, I just think there was a lot of groundwork to lay at the beginning and that is why it took me awhile to get pulled in. Very interesting storyline with some unanswered questions at the beginning that you walk through with Gaylen as she tries to get them answered. I am having a drawing for this book so leave a comment if you would like to win this book - make sure you leave your email address or your entry will be disqualified. If you like women's fiction you will probably enjoy "Painted Dresses" too.


traveler said...

Thanks for the peek into this fascinating book and the interesting review. It sounds extremely appealing and unique.

stampedwithgrace said...

I love the name of the book; it sounds like women's fiction :)

lisa said...

please enter me!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This delightful book sounds great! Thanks for the great preview.

kamewh said...

The story sounds interesting :)

Lindsey said...

I love this author and would be thrilled to win this book - please enter me!

Thank you!

ladyufshalott at yahoo dot com

bigguysmama said...

This sounds like a really good book. I appreciate your honesty in your review. Please enter me to win.

Mimi B

mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com

Carolynn W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolynn W. said...

I would love to read it, please enter me, thanks!

windycindy said...

Hello, I just love the cover of her book! Books that have a story line of women's relationships are great to read! Becoming our authentic selves is not an easy thing to do for women. I don't know why! Please enter me in your drawing for this book. I appreciate it! Thanks, Cindi

Anonymous said...

This compelling novel sounds wonderful. I enjoyed your review and thoughts about this great book. Thanks for the great giveaway.

Anonymous said...

This unique story interests me greatly. Love the cover artwork too. Thanks for this chance.

Lora Lease said...

Please enter me in the drawing. :)

Carole said...

Patricia is a new author for me and I would love to read her book. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Theresa N. said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.
Theresa N

Anonymous said...

That looks super good! Thanks for the giveaway.

ForstRose said...

Please enter me in this drawing.


Janna said...

And the winner is Lora!!!