Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Painted Table by Suzanne Field

The book opens with a note about the origin of the table, then a brief look at Saffee's grandmother (who she never met) and the difficult life of Saffee's mother, Joann.  Joann's childhood has been indelibly marked by hardship, loneliness and sorrow. Longing for her mother's attention, Joann seeks solace under the table her grandfather had crafted. She imagines herself invisible and protected under its shadow.  In the wake of her mother's death, her father moves the family to a fishing resort where her education is put on hold while she cleans cabins. At 18, she walks away from her family and never looks back.

All seems well with life when she meets and marries Nels. But the war drives a wedge between their marriage as Nels joins the Navy and Joann has to work and care for their children alone. The strain continues upon Nels return. Saffee witnesses her parents bickering and experiences the jealousy over her mother's preferential treatment toward her sister April.

Then one day Joann receives a visit from a brother-in-law delivering to her the table that played so prominently in her childhood. Her sister only knew of her constant hiding under it, not the tormented memories that drove her there. Its presence becomes a source of anxiety and flashbacks of childhood fears. In an effort to cover the pain, Joann repaints the table. Again and again until it becomes an obsession.  Saffee slowly watches her mother descend into madness; a deterioration her father refuses to see.  Until the day Joann visits a neighbor wielding a butcher knife and she's taken into custody. Nels gets a court order for her admission into a mental hospital. It's the first of many trips in and out, trying various treatments, that do not seem to penetrate her illness.

In the midst of so much pain, the sisters sadly suffer alone in their private torment. Can either daughter find happiness in their own lives?  Will they ever be free from the haunting memories of their childhood?  And worse yet, will they succumb to the illness that has robbed their mother of her sanity?

You will have to read the book to find how each finds redemption and healing in the midst of such agonizing pain.  The key to some of the healing comes from the table itself as it yields a surprising message. Read The Painted Table and see how God can work all things together for good for those who love Him.

To learn about the story behind this book, visit Litfuse Publicity.  You may also enjoy visiting the Suzanne Field and "The Painted Table" Facebook page to connect with the author and other readers.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Painted Table from Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze program for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

I review for BookSneeze®

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