Book Review: The Shadow of Your Smile

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Title: The Shadow of Your Smile
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date: December 2011
ISBN: 978-1414334837
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Laura V. Hilton

Noelle Hueston, on her way home Deep Haven after talking to admissions about enrolling in the art institute in Duluth, stops for coffee and interrupts a robbery. She escapes, but falls, hitting her head on the pavement. When she awakes, she’s in a hospital, 25 years of her life gone, and a male visitor and two boys claiming to be her husband and sons.

With nowhere to go, Noelle allows these strangers to take her home. But she has no memory of this place, these people. Moreover, she’s shocked that the life she lives is nothing like the life she always thought she’d live. Did she loose herself in this marriage?

Why does her husband, Eli, sleep in the den? What happened to her ambitions? Does she even have any friends in this remote town? And if she had this life, why had she been talking to admissions in Duluth about enrolling in college?

The Shadow of Your Smile is the newest novel set in Deep Haven, Minnesota, by Susan May Warren. It’s rare to find a book that seems to minister to all your deepest emotions, but this book does. I found myself crying with some of the lyrics, praying with some of the prayers, and even quoting the verses, begging God that they be true in my life, too.

I absolutely loved this book. I can’t say enough good things about it. Noelle; her husband, Eli; their son, Kyle; and a neighbor lady, Lee, and her daughter, Emma, all had points of view in this book-were all main characters-and I fell in love with every single one of them. My heart broke; it soared; I cried. The Shadow of Your Smile is going onto my keeper shelf. I highly recommend it.

Susan May Warren is an expert at deep point of view, drawing you completely into the characters’ lives. Even if a character makes a mistake, heading for trouble, you understand the motives behind the actions and are sympathetic. She brings each of the main characters totally to life to the point that I felt I could run into Noelle in the coffee shop and know her. I loved her sons, her husband. And the setting, northern Minnesota in winter, is like another character. I felt the wind chill, sleet pelting my skin, and blizzards ripping across the area making the roads slick. The Shadow of Your Smile is an excellent book to read-not just to read, but to study and learn from Susan’s techniques.

Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children.

Her publishing credits include Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past from Treble Heart Books; a devotional in a compilation from Zondervan; and the first book “Patchwork Dreams” in her Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House released in April 2011, the second book, “A Harvest of Hearts” in September 2011, and Promised to Another in April 2012. Laura has her business degree from Ozarka and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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