Friday, December 4, 2009

"Essie in Progress" Book Review & Giveaway!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Essie in Progress

Kregel Publications (April 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Marjorie Presten for sending me a review copy.***

I heard good things about this book before receiving it so I was really looking forward to it. I found it to have good, fun characters, humor in conversation and situations, an interesting premise and some out of the ordinary instances.

I was a little surprised with a few of the talks the main character, Essie, had with herself regarding her relationship with her husband though... she talks about their "negotiations" and basically their relationship being run more like a business deal - and she seems proud of it. That was actually a little unsettling to me, but I should point out that by the end of the book you see how Essie has changed and so has her relationship. The other odd thing to me was that Essie is the main character, but half the book is seen from her father-in-law's perspective... I really like her father-in-law, but I found that a little odd.

Those two little quirks aside, I really enjoyed this book. A wife and mother of two with one on the way and a big career - how can she balance it all? Especially with a mother that disapproves of her working outside the home and a husband that is not living his dream. A fresh perspective on an old situation (working mother balancing life... or trying to!).

********For a chance to win this book, leave me a comment telling me if you have ever struggled with the whole career / home life balancing thing... and leave your email address too! Open to US entrants (I just paid $9 to mail a book to Sri Lanka, I just can't afford to be doing that - sorry!)


Marjorie Presten is a native Georgian who has her own fair share of experience juggling career and motherhood. She lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, Tom, and their three children.

Listen to a radio interview about the book HERE.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082543565X
ISBN-13: 978-0825435652




In a thirty-second phone call, Hamilton Wells would make a decision that would earn him more money than he could spend in his lifetime. Everything was on the line, but he was not nervous, euphoric, or eager with anticipation. In Hamilton’s mind, the matter was not speculative, debatable, or anything less than a sure thing. Hamilton had the gift, and it had never let him down. Yet even before he made the call, he knew money wouldn’t cure the unrelenting pain of his grief. He sat at his desk with only a single orange banker’s lamp for illumination and cried silently.

Her death had been inevitable, but feelings of helplessness still overwhelmed him. His young son’s dependency on him only multiplied his grief and anger. Six-year-old Jack Wells had insisted his father do something to help Mama, but the only thing Hamilton could do was sit at her bedside and try not to cry. Now it was six weeks after her death, and Hamilton knew his son needed him to be strong, to return life to normal. A neighbor had enrolled Jack in the local church baseball league. They played a game every Wednesday afternoon. It will be good for him, they’d said. Life has to go on.

Hamilton cradled his head in his hands and groaned. The enormity of the risk he was about to take didn’t concern him. It was purely mechanical. He would surrender all he owned for just one more blissful afternoon at the lake he and his wife both loved, but now that was impossible. His wife was dead. Nothing he could do would change that.

He remembered the book of Job. Would a loving and caring God do this to the love of my life? Well, he did, Hamilton thought bitterly. Earline had lingered for months. The doctors said it was miraculous that she had endured as long as she had. Be grateful for these last days to say goodbye, they’d said. But for Hamilton, the prolonged end only added anger to his bottomless sorrow. Standing alongside his son as a helpless witness to her slow deterioration and suffering in the final weeks was more than he could bear. It was the worst time of Hamilton’s life. Nothing really mattered anymore, and it seemed he had nothing left to lose.

Under different circumstances, he might have played it safe and put the proceeds away for his son’s education, bought a new house, or perhaps invested in a bit of lake property. He could have become like the rest of the players and worn monograms on his starched cuffs so everyone could remember whose hand they were shaking. Instead, he had gone it alone. His brokerage business had few clients. He was the only big player left. Now he planned to risk everything on something happening on the other side of the world.

Ham couldn’t remember exactly when he had recognized his innate ability to pick the winner out of a crowd. It had always been there, ever since he was conscious of being alive. The talent had blossomed in the military when the card games occasionally got serious. Now, with every dollar he had to his name, Hamilton approached wheat futures with that same instinct. The Russian harvest had been a disaster, and the United States was coming to the rescue. The price of wheat was going to go through the roof, and then through the floor. He was going to make a fortune on both ends.

He picked up the phone and dialed a number on the Chicago Mercantile exchange. He listened for a few moments as the connection was made. Young Jack tugged at his father’s shirtsleeve. “Pop? Can we go now?” Jack held a baseball in his hand and a glove under his arm. Hamilton swiveled his chair, turning his back to his son.

A familiar voice announced his name. “How can I help you?”

“It’s Ham,” he said. “Short the entire position.”

“What? Everything?” the voice asked.

“Everything.” No emotion colored his voice.

Young Jack crept gingerly around the chair to face his father. “Pop,” he whispered, “come on, the game is about to start.” Hamilton shook his head and looked away.

The voice on the phone was still talking. “Most folks are still enjoying the ride, Ham. You could get hurt.”

“It’s not going a penny higher. Short it all.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Warn me? My wife is dead. What else matters?”

The voice mumbled something about her passing.

“She didn’t pass. She’s dead. Just do what I ask.”

“OK, Ham.” The phone disconnected.

Jack was standing there in front of him, shoulders slumped. The ball hung loose at the end of his fingers, and the glove had fallen on the carpet. “Pop, can we go now?”

“Sorry, Son. Not today.”

“It’s not fair!” Jack erupted. Hot tears sprang up in his eyes. “What am I supposed to do now?”

Ham looked down, silent.

Jack hurled the ball to the floor, wiped his tears angrily, and stormed out of the house.

Ten minutes later on the futures board, wheat ticked down.

It ticked down again.

And so it would continue. Ham would be richer than he’d ever imagined. He’d never experience another financial challenge for the rest of his life. It was not really important, though. Scripture came back to him: “what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

He would trade it all to have his love, his life, back again.

But that was not an option.

Out his window, Ham could see young Jack riding his bicycle furiously down the street. He watched with a passive surrender as his son’s small frame shrank into the distance.


Abi said...

Can't say I've ever struggled with career /home balancing game. Since I've had kids I've been SAHM. That's my place.

Please enter me in this book drawing Thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Linda said...

Once I was saved, God had me home til my son was graduated from HS. I did work part-time around the school session. I didn't work full-time until he graduated. It was a God thing.

Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

traveler said...

Thanks for this unique and lovely giveaway. Luckily I was fortunate and did not have any problems with career/home balancing at all. saubleb(at)gmail (dot)com

Anonymous said...

Luckily, I haven't had problems (yet) w/ career and homelife. Thanks for this giveaway.


hippmom said...

As a single mom, I really struggle with my desire to be home with my kids full time and my need to make a living! God keeps making a way~

THanks for the giveaway, Janna!

angelahipp (at) charter (dot) net

rubynreba said...

My kids are out of school now but I did struggle with this problem when they were younger.

Winning Readings said...

Have I ever struggled! I did the WAH thing in Mozambique, but had someone watching my daughter while I was working at home. Then the SAH thing here in Oregon, which I loved (though I went a little crazy at times). Now I'm working part-time (financial reasons) and missing my daughter like crazy while I do...

wmmahaney said...

Yes I have struggled with it. Right now the struggle is whether to get a job to help with pay bills or continue staying home with my 4 year old.

misskallie2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
misskallie2000 said...

Yes,in the 60's wives/mothers did not work..Dad's did not change diapers etc. I worked full time, full time mom, wife, etc. Everything was left up to me as far as care of children (2), housework, etc. In-laws did not understand I had to work because their son spent all his extra money so mine was used to provide for children (bdays, Christmas, etc. So different now. Please enter me for contest, Thanks for the great giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Jennifer said...

I struggle every day but in the end its worth it.. one day I will quit work and become a full time mom

Anonymous said...

I am a stay at home mom, I love being home with my children.
I did work when my children were little and it did weigh on me heavily.
I hated leaving my children with others to raise. I felt it was my God given responsiblity to raise them myself.

mommiesgotfivechildren at hotmail dot com

debbiejackson said...

I do struggle with this. I'd love the book.

Linda Kish said...

I struggled to raise my son as a single mom. It was very hard but we survived and are better friends today because of all we went through.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Deb K said...

I have struggled as I was a single Mom and it was hard but we made it and I now have 10 grandchildren!


Misusedinnocence said...

I have struggled as a single Mom, to try and make enough to provide my son with what he needs, and also to be able to be around as much as he needs me. It's a fine line.

Anne J said...

I used to struggle with my career/home balance, but then I quit working and my problems were solved. I'm blessed that my husband's income is enough to allow me to stay home.

ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

Diana D said...

I'm an avid reader and would like to read this. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

dianad8008 AT gmail DOT com

Nancye said...

I'm not sure if this giveaway is still open. If so, I would like to be entered. I have struggled with home and career. There was just never enough time for everything.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Jolene said...

The struggle to find balance was always there. Priorities must be kept. Would love to read this book.

Anonymous said...

We made a decision before having children that I would stay home with our kids. I haven't regretted it one bit.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Janna said...

And the winner is...