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am 13. November 2017
As an avid reader of Christian novels , I've been blessed again and again by Mr. Phillips' stories. Unfortunately, this tale just never really took off. It was much too " flowery" romantic and " preachy"... The endless reflections of the main characters, made for a rather dull read. Having said all that, I must admit their Christian walk was inspiring. My dilemma is whether or not to buy the next book in the series in the hope that the plot develops further....
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am 15. Februar 1999
Having been a Michael Phillips' fan since reading his ESCAPE TO FREEDOM, I looked forward to an idyllic country setting and the unraveling of a mystery in turn-of-the-century England as promised on the book jacket of WILD GROWS THE HEATHER IN DEVON. But the book only half satisfies. While Phillips' picturesque prose does capture the serene beauty of the Devon countryside and the manners of the period, the mystery of the hidden missive set forth in the prologue remains concealed through to the 447th and final page. The book is too long, too tedious, and the plot at times unconvincing. Charles Rutherford's conversion turns on a single encounter in London. Jocelyn accepts her birth defect as given deliberately at the hand of God, rather than as something God allowed to happen for the growth of her character. Amanda we sense from the beginning to be the prodigal. Better were the plot if she became the prodigal early on in the book with the resolution to her story coming at the end. Alas, we must await the next book in the series (or perhaps the one after that) to find out what happens to her. The build-up and lack of resolution are unfair to the reader. Despite the book's didactic tone superimposed on lengthy conversations, the author does deal with the intellectual ferment of the times: questions of Darwinism, communism, and a woman's right to vote. He also probes emotional and spiritual dilemmas as well, for he recounts Jocelyn's journey through the pain and rejection of a dysfunctional childhood to her wholehearted faith, and the burning questions and open rebellion a teenager Amanda who does not adopt her parents' faith and sees God as remote and unreal. He does not skirt these issues. When the secrets of Heathersleigh Hall will be revealed remains just that--a secret. If the reader has the patience, perhaps he will discover how Amanda's future and the hidden note will come together in a later volume. Perhaps at that time the discovery of that missive will somehow begin to pierce the cloak of independence Amanda has drawn about her. As a reader, I am not sure I have that kind of patience.
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am 17. März 1999
I just finished this novel. In the end, I was forcing myself to read the book in hopes that the plot would actually develop beyond the very subtle hints dropped throughout the voluminous pages. I must confess, I learned more about heather plants than about the secrets of Heathersleigh Hall. Nonetheless, I will give the next book in the series a chance in hopes that the many nuggets of possible golden plots will be fully mined by the author as the series progresses.
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am 26. März 1999
I got this book because I love history. The more I read of it the more I came to realize that Mr. Phillips has touched on nearly every problem that is common to us today in a very powerful way. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to think about the wisdom of God and why He does things. I am truly grateful to Mr. Phillips for the depth of understanding of human nature he has show here.
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am 10. Februar 1999
I have just finished this book two days ago,and as I did like it greatly,it had nothing to do with the synopsis Amazon has put on......I believe what they have put on is the second book in the series......is there a second book? If so,I would love to read it. Phillips ended the book as if there was......sort of just hanging. I did enjoy the book.....would recomend it to anyone!!!!!
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am 3. Juli 1998
I just finished this book, and was a little disappointed. The paperback version of this book is a whopping 447 pages, and the description of the characters takes about that long. I believe the author may have been setting the stage to read the rest of the series; however there was little substance to this book. The author puts in "teasers" of a secret that exists in heathersleigh hall from two generations before its main characters. There are glimpses of subplots for books yet to come and/or read; however, I was greatly disappointed when none of these sub-plots were revealed in all 447 pages.
The opening chapters of this book descibe an event concerning the first generation of Rutherfords. In this "hush-hush" event, it appears that possibly a birth was concealed (as a midwife is present, along with a vicar), and the senior Rutherford exclaims that he wants only a son to inherit his estate.
Suddenly, the reader is thrown into two generations later, when the senior Rutherford's grandson now runs Heathersleigh Hall and is loving things of the world, and reveling in the early 1900s when "change and thoughts" are prevalent and exciting. Charles Rutherford (the grandson) experiences a spiritual awakening when he is introduced to Christianity and embraces it fully, leaving his political/worldly ways behind. Charles' wife, Jocelyn, also embraces the Christian lifestyle, as do their two younger children. However, the oldest daughter, Amanda, has nothing to do with their new life, and rebels. The novel climaxes with a "prodigal daughter" theme which leaves the reader wondering what happens to turn Amanda (presumably) back to the Christian way of life. However, the author assumes you will want to read another of his novels before you find out.
Also, the title of this series "the secrets of Heathersleigh hall" is not revealed one iota. There are teasers where the secret may be revealed; however, I was disappointed to not receive any more "! ;clues" to the secret in all 447 pages.
The author does a beautiful job of portraying the lifestyle and scenery of the privileged Rutherfords; however, the character development could have been done in half of the time. Overall, I do not believe that I will want to read the rest of the series.
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am 7. Juni 2000
This book is wonderful! Not only does it capture the true flavour of the times (the Technological Revolution in England) but it gives you a whole host of characters to learn about and love. The story of how Charles and Jocelyn Rutherford discover Christianity will inspire you. Make sure you read every book in this series!
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am 1. Dezember 1998
Mr. Phillips does a marvelous job of beginning to re-tell the parable,'The Prodigal Son'. One of the many things I enjoyed about the book was the time setting and place. It proves that children of the early 20th century had many of the some problems children have today (rebellion and wanting to belong to society). Amanda Rutherford and her family struggle through everyday challenges as they adapt to the newly adopted Christian life-style. As Amanda tries to pull away from her parents, they pray strongly for her to choose the Lord Jesus as her best-friend. With the "Suffragette Movement" in full-swing, Amanda is anxious to join in with it with a dream to change te world! Her parents and siblings watch to see what will happen as they continue to pray faithfully.... I have already recommended this book to many friends, and I hope you will read and enjoy it to!
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am 26. August 1998
Mr. Phillips writes very interesting descriptions of the time period and the country. I find his characters very real and identified with the mother and father in their efforts to raise their children and teach them their values. I especially liked the prayers he included. I am not very articulate and so I appreciate finding prayers that express my feelings, and address issues that I am dealing with. I think this is a very "gentle" book and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
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am 26. September 1998
I enjoyed this book very much and am waiting for the series to be finished before I pass full judgement. I was able to identify with Jocelyn Rutherford as she struggled to accept her physical deformity. I found the book to be interesting, especially for people who enjoy learning about different time periods and lifestyles. I heartily recommend this book to woman who enjoy reading a long series, as I do. Michael Phillips always gives you your moneys worth - don't you just hate short stories?!
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