Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Handfasting Book Review

Ten years had passed since they had joined hands in the ruins of the old abbey church. Standing before the high altar, they were handfasted in the Celtic custom, engaged to be married.

A rose bush had bloomed beside the ruined altar. Stephen had reached out to caress one of the flowers.

“I’ll find you,” he had said. “In ten years, when we have finished school, when we are able to marry, I’ll find you. Until then, whenever you see a yellow rose, remember me. Remember I love you.”

In those ten years, Katherine had finished college, completed med school, and become a doctor. In those ten years they had not seen each other, had not spoken, and had not written.

It was what they had agreed.

For a decade, she had been waiting, hoping, praying.

Today ─ her birthday─ she finds a vase of yellow roses when she reaches home.

Stephen, though, is not Katherine’s only suitor. Bill Wilson has known her since they were in high school. He has long planned to wed her, and he finally decides to stake his claim.

Although the action occurs primarily in New York City, psychologically, the story is set in a small town in Virginia. Change came slowly to the rural South in the nineteen-seventies, and attitudes toward women were most resistant to change. Women were expected to be subservient to men, to have children, to keep house. A woman was to be above reproach, and any hint of scandal was met with censure, with ostracism, with shame. These attitudes threaten to destroy Katherine and the life of which she dreams.

The Handfasting is a story of love renewed, a suitor spurned, a vicious attack, a struggle for healing. It is a story of love that survives.


Have you ever been so mad while reading a book that you just wanted to throw it across the room?  Well, I felt this way while reading this book, not because of the author.  I was mad because of the situation and beliefs during the time period in the book.  This does not make this a bad book.  On the contrary, it makes it a good book.  I became so invested in the book.  Anytime you have a strong emotional reaction, the author has done a good job.

I know I'm being vague about the situation but I don't want to give away what happens in the book.  I will say that I love that Katherine is a strong woman during a time when women were just beginning to really change the work place and to change the accepted roles of women.  While she is a strong woman, a doctor, she still battles herself and her beliefs of how others may look at her (or others) after going through a traumatic event.

David Burnett does a wonderful job with characterization, especially when I think of how he is male and has delved into the female psyche at this time period.  You will have such a strong reaction to all of the main characters.

I loved that this book gave me a better insight into my mom's time period and some of the stuff she had to deal with.  She is a doctor, too, except she is a psychologist not an md.  I know that she struggled with what was expected of women and her mom's beliefs and expectations.  She always worried about being the "perfect" mom and wife while working on her doctorate and then her practice.  You can't be perfect at anything.  It is funny because she was able to work with her clients on some of these issues while struggling with her own issues.  I still notice her trying to be her mom at times by trying to have the perfect home and manners.  I think my mom would really identify with this book.  She didn't go through the same traumatic event but I'm sure it will remind her of growing up and the feelings of that time period.

I give this book 4.5 stars.  This book is more for young adults and older.  Teens could read this but there are adult situations that you need to be aware of.  It is not graphic or explicit but parents may not want their child reading about these situations.

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David lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston. The Handfasting, his second book will be published this month.

He enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches.

David has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. He and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael's journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David spent years in school(!), and he has graduate degrees in psychology and education. He and his wife have two daughters.

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

1 comment:

  1. Reading their story was beautiful it was such an easy enjoyable read, then came an unexpected twist !!