February 1, 2014
"Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us." - Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Nancy here hero girls, and I really need to talk to you about Ambrose Young. He is a hero that scored off the chart in every single category, and is now very much ingrained in my soul, as is his novel. This book is one of the best I've ever read in my life, and I read a lot of books. That said, the novel contains some four letter words, which left me with a dilemma that only resolved itself a few hours before the writing of this post.
Most of you know that for me as a reader, language is automatic disqualification for the blog. So is explicitness, as the only shades of anything we want here at FHF is shades of orange. Part of the reason I read Christian fiction (also known as CBA) is I trust the publisher to safeguard me from language and explicitness. With an Indie author however (one that self-publishes), I must rely on the blurb, cover, and reviews to give me a hint of what to expect. Amy Harmon is the favorite author of a Christian fiction colleague of mine, and when I read Amy's book A Different Blue, I finished that book blown away by the writing and strongly suspecting the author was a Christian. So when I read Making Faces, Ambrose's story, (in one sitting) and halfway through, I was certain Amy Harmon is a Christian.There is so much God and exemplifications of biblical truths in this novel, it is one I would give an Olympic Gold Medal for as cross-over fiction. (Honestly, there's more "God" in Making Faces than many of the CBA novels I've read the past year.) This is part of why the story impacted me so deeply and I'm championing it to anyone who will listen. Because while this book was gritty and raw and honest in a way I don't usually find in Christian fiction, it was also completely redemptive, showing that bad choices bring consequences, and the life-changing power of friendship, unconditional love, and sacrifice.
Then there's Ambrose himself.
Ambrose Young is one of the most orange-head heroes I've ever head the privilege/torture to read. Privelage because he's an incredible character whose Gallantry, Woundedness, Softie Side (the cookies, ladies, oh the cookies!!!), Stupid Strikes (and yes, Ambrose would have been a full five there too) and Swoon Score were just seriously off the chart. But I also know the trust that you place in our recommendations, which is why I chose to ultimately share Ambrose with you without featuring him in the usual way. Because I very much value that trust, I'm very clear about the fact that because of the language, some readers will find this novel objectionable. I completely respect that. (If you're wondering about the "heat", I can tell you I had no objections there and found the level of sensuality was in keeping with traditional CBA standards while still being extremely emotional for me as a reader.)
That said, I'm going to finish with something that has the potential to come off really obnoxious.
This is my blog.
I share it with Joy (God bless her, who had no idea I was going to write this post at all), and all of you as followers, and together you are very much what makes this blog so rewarding. But at the end of the day, it's still my blog, Ambrose deserves recognition, as does his novel, for all the reasons I've shared. If I had a daughter, Ambrose is the kind of man I would pray for her to marry. He is a fiction hero that made my heart sing, pound, melt, and at times, bleed, and for all that, I had to share him with you. So I'm giving away three copies of the e-book to the first three blog followers whose comment below includes "I WANT THIS BOOK" in all caps, and be sure to leave your email address. For everyone else and my non e-reader gals, of whom there are still many, we'll randomly draw for another giveaway copy (paperback or ebook) on Valentine's day if your comment includes "throw my name in the hat" along with your email address.
And if you find Ambrose's novel isn't for you, I respect that and hope to see you back Feb. 15th where we return to the land of CBA and bring you a feature that Joy and I are really, really excited about. =)