Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: To Rise Above

To Rise Above

To Rise Above

By Julianne Jones

Summary: Katie, Samuel and Rhiannon have settled into a distant land but soon their faith will be tested beyond anything they had ever imagined...

After being wrongly accused and forced to give up everything, Katie Donovan has found new friends, new faith and a new family. But when it looks as if she’ll have to face even more heartache and loss will she have the strength to bear it?

Samuel McKinnon has accepted God’s plans for his life but he is about to come face-to-face with the harsh realities of colonial life. Will he give up or will he have the faith to persevere?

Rhiannon Sanford finally has the siblings she has longed for but then tragedy strikes and it looks as if she’ll lose everything she holds precious. Will she have the courage and faith to rise above?
Genres: Christian, Historical Fiction, Romance, YA
Published: January 22, 2013

Similar: Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke
My Rating: 3.5 stars
This book was unexpectedly good, though there were a few things that I felt could have been improved upon.  It is a teen book, but it is not at all a fluffy read, though still very enjoyable.  The writing style in here reminded me of Janette Oke.
I'm going to start with the positives first.  The characters were very real and likeable.  I really felt bad for Katie.  I kind of felt bad for Rhiannon as well, but Katie was definitely my favorite character.  Seamus and Moses were really adorable, and I loved reading about the Sanford's adoptive family. It was so sweet!
I also liked Samuel, though he isn't exactly my favorite guy I've read about.  I didn't connect with his character the way I could with the others, but I didn't dislike him either.  If I could describe him in one word, it would be 'nice'. He didn't have as much personality as Katie and Rhiannon, but I still liked him.
The setting was very interesting and unique. I haven't read too many books where the setting is Australia during the time it was a penal colony. It was very interesting.
Now...onto the negatives.
The first one isn't truly a negative, just a warning. THIS IS A SEQUEL!!! I didn't know that until after the book was finished, and I kept thinking, I wish there was some more background information...what happened to Katie? How about Seamus? I had a general idea, but because I didn't know it was a sequel, I didn't know specifics. So, if you do read the book, read To A Distant Land first! I didn't, and while it isn't too noticeable, there are some things that will be clearer.  (Note: this warning did not hurt the book's rating because it was my own fault.  This is just a head's up so others don't make the same mistake.)
Also, everything worked out a bit too neatly.  (This paragraph has a lot of SPOILERS.)  It started with Seamus possibly getting taken away by his father...but it ends up not being his father. Then, Katie's family is coming when Katie is about to be adopted...but her dad dies, so her whole family can get taken in by the Sanfords and there's no real conflict. Rhiannon can't walk again...yes she can, with some leg splints. These were the main instances, but there were a couple smaller ones as well. I can't stand when this happens because it's not realistic, so I was sad that it was in an otherwise extremely good book.
Over all, this is a really good book perfect for lovers of historical fiction.  I really liked it, and, though it had a couple of things that irked me a bit, for the most part it was very well written. 

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