Fiction Friday: Of Stillness and Storm and Portrait of Emily Price

Cara Fiction Friday 0 Comments

This week I want to introduce you to Of Stillness and Storm and A Portrait of Emily Price. Each book is like taking a vacation without leaving home. One takes you to the wilds of Nepal, while the other takes you to Tuscany. Both also take you into the questions we ask ourselves, whether we admit it or not. What do we do when life is falling apart, or we aren’t welcome where we live.

First,Of Stillness and Storm. This is a book I honestly didn’t expect to like. It’s about a missionary who doesn’t want to be where she’s sent and the ways her life falls apart. It’s about rekindling old relationships and the dangerous webs that can weave around our current lives. But from the first pages I was swept into a land I’ve never visited (and really don’t want to) and into a story of how do we mesh our calling with our family, of what happens when one spouse feels highly called…and the other doesn’t. Of the danger of rekindling old friendships that an turn into emotional affairs when we’re already weak and battered.  It’s a story of brokenness and of letting serving God become our god. This is a story that will pull you in and lead you through soul searching to the other side and grace.

“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

Of Stillness and Storm tells the story of Lauren and her husband and their process to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

A Portrait of Emily Price is a different vacation.

Katherine has such a way with creating stories that woo me in. One fun aspect of this book was that it was like a return trip to Tuscany. I could see and imagine the whole setting, the characters were richly drawn, and the storyline sweet yet angst filled. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, just like I knew I would.

It brings Katherine Reay’s beautiful writing and story-telling to the front. It’s a story of trying to control everything and falling into a place where you realize you can’t. It’s a story of art and how it affects us. Of how the need to fix broken things doesn’t always work. It’s the story of launching into an adventure and doing the hard things, of working to build relationships with others through all sorts of barriers. But ultimately it is a beautiful story of how much God wants to take our cracks and distorted places and bring full healing and restoration. It is a truly beautiful story that includes the benefit of a side-trip to Tuscany. Where’s my plane ticket?!?

Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom?


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