A Broken Kind of Beautiful
About This Book
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?
Every time I read a Katie Ganshert novel, I wish I owned stock in Kleenex. I also despair of ever being a good writer myself, because she continually raises the emotional, spiritual, and lyrical bar. She’s the kid who constantly wrecks the curve. All us other writer-kids hate her. And envy her. And not-so-subtly peek over her shoulder to try to copy her.
The themes of beauty and identity really resonated with me not because I could relate to supermodel Ivy, but because I couldn’t. I’m part of the self-loathing world that aches for just a smidgen of the beauty and adoration the fashion world represents; whereas Ivy is a reluctant, empty-shell peddler of that artificial ideal. And the message of this book works both ways—the beauty that this world worships not only doesn’t last, it doesn’t even exist.
I really wanted more from the ending. I felt a few promises had been made but weren’t fulfilled. The half-page epilogue did nothing for me: it felt so impersonal and detached from the story, a totally omniscient POV that left a sour taste in my mouth after all the beautiful pages before it. I wanted to see Twila’s recovery, the reaction to giving her the money for her medical expenses. I wanted to see Davis in another photo shoot, perhaps photographing more ill children like Twila as a form of ministry/outreach. And I really had this picture in my head of the story ending with Ivy and Davis on the beach watching the baby sea turtles. After being so expertly woven into the story as a metaphor for both their journeys, I wanted that fulfillment of the imagery, these two characters watching the turtles find their way home to sea just as they had both found theirs. Corny, perhaps, but a final chapter of them just picking up trash after the charity show and making googly eyes at each other? So not enough for me after such an emotionally gripping story.
This story took a few days for me to get into. I found myself easily putting it aside when the latest Thor movie arrived from Netflix. Which is totally bizarre. But Katie’s writing is fluid and descriptive and languid—the complete opposite of my own punchy, Hemingway-esque writing voice—so it took a while for me to get into the flow and rhythm of the story. Once it got going, however, I couldn’t put it down and was blubbering like a baby, as usual.
Available April 15, 2014 from WaterBrook Multnomah