27 April 2010

"A Woman's Place" by Lynn Austin

A Woman's Place: A Novel A Woman's Place: A Novel by Lynn Austin

Genre: Christan fiction
On my TBR list?: Yes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:

As America rises to meet the challenge of World War II, the call for defense workers unites four women at Seneca Shipyards in Michigan. As their lives intersect, this unlikely gathering of women will encourage, shape, and influence one another as they learn valuable lessons about themselves and about life, love, and faith.

This book, while not unpleasant to read, is a reminder of why I usually don't like to read modern books set in the recent past. Since I often seek out books that were actually written in the 1940s, modern texts set in that period can suffer in comparison. That was the case with this book. The attitudes of the characters about things like racism and women in the workplace seemed to be too modern for the time period. All the main characters are so enlightened and forward-thinking that it doesn't seem realistic.

Other than that, I liked Austin's writing style. She fleshed out the four female characters at the center of the story in such a way that they weren't just types to fill an ensemble quota like the quiet one and the bossy one. I think the most fully-realized character was Helen, the older school teacher. Austin gave plenty of good reasons in Helen's background to explain why she reacted the way she did, instead of pinning it all on one factor like a failed romance.

The Christian aspect of the novel is not as prominent as I expected. There is barely a mention of God in the first half of the book, and it is unclear until the end whether one of the women is a Christian, at all. This book definitely isn't as preachy as a Lori Wick romance. I enjoyed the book as a general work of fiction but as Christian fiction it doesn't offer any weighty issues for a long-time believer to mull over. Strangely, this is the one area where the book does emulate the 1940s well. In most movies I've watched from that era, God is mentioned without shame but without much discussion, either.

All in all, A Woman's Place is a quick read about four women and how they affect each other's lives. It's not on the top of my recommendations list, but I wouldn't shoo anyone away from it.


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2 comments:

Kristen said...

Interesting comment on books written today but set in the recent past. Makes you wonder how some of the very historical fiction we read really stands up in its depictions of the past, doesn't it? I wonder if we see the anachronisms in the stuff about the recent past more than we do about something not in living memory.

Dani in NC said...

Kristen, I'm almost certain that is the case. I know that most authors who write historical fiction do their research, but they can't emulate the voice of the times without sacrificing their own writing styles. When I read historical fiction, I tend to pick books set in the 1800s because I don't have anything to compare them to.