Ornamental Graces: Book Review
Today is Day 1 of the Virtual Book Tour for Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk.
After his duplicitous girlfriend left, Dan Malone spent six months in a tailspin of despair and destruction: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Just when his life seems to be back on track, he meets Emily Kowalski, younger sister of his new best friend.
Emily’s the kind of girl he’d always dreamed of—sweet, smart, and sincere. But he’s made a mess of his life and ruined his chances for earning the love and trust of a woman like her.
Could Dan be the man Emily’s been waiting for? How could he be when every time they get close he pulls away? And will he ever be free from his shady past and the ex-girlfriend who refuses to stay there?
Carolyn Astfalk is a gifted writer who had me hooked from page one in Ornamental Graces. This is not just a good love story, but it is a great one! It is hard for me to believe that this is only Carolyn’s second novel! While her first book, Stay with Me was intriguing and is one of my favorite inspirational Christian love stories, this one was even better. Similar to Stay with Me, Ornamental Graces contains all the ingredients of a great story — romance, suspense, action, and humor. However, there is more character development and even more mystery involved in this plot. The characters are more complex, which makes them true to life and very easy to relate to.
In Ornamental Graces, Dan Malone, who is basically a decent, handsome Catholic man, has recently been jilted by a physically beautiful, but completely selfish and spoiled woman who has contributed to his emotional, physical, and spiritual destruction. Like all of us, he is flawed. Dan is weak and is prideful, but he has the potential to be humble, holy, and pure. He begins to recover from the pain, but meets the sweet, innocent Emily, who is completely the opposite of his first girlfriend. He falls for her, but is unable to commit, for many reasons. Emily is kind and loving and sees the good in Dan, but is perplexed by his mysterious behavior and his lack of commitment. He runs hot and cold, but she has no idea why and things only grow more complex as the plot progresses. Continual interference in his life from the previous woman as well as other temptations and situations only add to the confusion. Emily is a smart, attractive woman, strong-willed woman who is determined to live her own life and to move on.
Ornamental Graces is remarkable because it is an extraordinary story of faith, redemption, healing, forgiveness, and the true meaning of love. It is a beautiful, inspirational pro-life account of the miracles that can occur when we honestly face the consequences of our actions and when authentic love exists in our relationships. If you’re like me, this is a book that you will treasure and want to share with those you love. It is a great Christmas love story that would make an excellent Christmas gift! However, Ornamental Graces is a great read any time of year.
Carolyn Astfalk lives with her husband and four children in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where the wind carries either the scent of chocolate or cow manure. She is a CatholicMom.com contributor and author of the contemporary inspirational romances Stay With Me (Full Quiver Publishing) and Ornamental Graces.
Read an excerpt from Ornamental Graces HERE.