Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

5 Kleenex worthy Stars
Arc provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Wow, just WOW!  Yes, “Making Faces” is a story of friendship, family, heroes, loss and beauty but it is also a story of love. Love of family, love between friends and unconditional, innocent love between two broken souls. 

Fern Taylor may not have been a pretty girl, but her beauty radiates from deep with in her soul, and it shines as bright as the sun.  It is that “beauty” which causes Ambrose to fall deeply in love.

The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has never meant more to me than when I was reading this tale. Fern, an ugly duckling, is a gifted girl.  She is loving, caring, intelligent, imaginative and loyal. We see all the good that is Fern in the way she loves and cares for Bailey, her cousin and best friend who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy.  She is a true heroine that possesses immeasurable strength.  Her relationship with Bailey is symbiotic – Bailey depends on Fern physically and he is her emotional rock.  The bond between these delightful characters made me laugh out loud as much as they brought tears to my eyes. 

As a little girl, Fern fell head over heals for Ambrose “Brosey” Young, the all American jock and school wrestling champion. His good looks are as great as his talents.   He is a combination of Adonis and Hercules, the embodiment of beauty and strength.  But “Brosey” overlooks Fern.  When given the opportunity to express her feelings for him through writing love letters, Fern poses as her friend, Rita (a drop dead gorgeous girl) and aids in the blossoming relationship between the two. Once the truth is revealed that Fern has penned these amorous notes, the results are disastrous. Ambrose does not take kindly to being duped. Leaving Fern broken hearted.

"Victory is in the battle"
After high school graduation, Ambrose, as well as his friends, enlist in the armed services and stationed in the Middle East.  After a tragic accident, Ambrose must learn how to live his life sans his physical handsomeness.  But Ambrose is no monster.  His inner beauty, which now emanates more than ever, causes Fern to fall deeper in love. It is Fern’s strength that saves him from a life of painful loneliness and it is Fern who fills the void when his loved ones are lost.  

Fern’s journey into Ambrose’s heart is an inspiring story.  It brought tears to my eyes and filled me with joy. I could not get enough of this story….I wanted more,  more insight into Ambrose and Fern’s life together.  And the letters – I craved to see his reaction to Fern’s notes written while he was overseas. I fell in love with the gentle giant that is Ambrose. He is a softhearted, tender man... SWOON.

“Making Faces” is a story that will stay with me for a very long time. It is not a steamy read, but it is passionate in so many different ways.  The events of 9/11 play a small part in this story, but had a huge effect on me.  I have lost friends that day, in a place where my footsteps were imprinted, wondering if the family members that work near by the WTC would come home. (Thankfully, they have). But difficult stories are often the most beautiful.  And the most difficult story line, for me, was Bailey. His character is seared within my soul.  Oh Bailey, you are truly an insightful sage.  Your story is one of beauty as well.  Where others may have seen only weakness, it is you who lives life with such vigor and displays Herculean courage. Your story shredded me. It is a gift when one’s words stir so many feelings.  Amy Harmon’s masterful writing talents sent my emotions into a tailspin. 
"There are times when I think I just can't take anymore...But there are times when you just need to acknowledge the shit..."

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