Book Review: The Willow Basket
I’m happy to announce that I have joined a network called Speakeasy, which provides books for bloggers to review. I will, from time to time, be adding book reviews from this network to the Book Review page of my website. Email subscribers will automatically receive new book review posts when they are published.
The Willow Basket is a historical romance novel by Adrienne Peterson. I was first interested in reviewing this book because of its claim to involve elements of mysticism and faith through dreams, which greatly intrigued me. I was excited about the possible connections to be made between the spiritual life and the ordinary, daily life and the resulting possible implications for our ongoing discussion of holistic body theology.
Unfortunately, I was largely disappointed by this book, in part likely due to the expectations I brought to the experience of reading the novel. In addition to its poor writing style, undeveloped characters, and plot holes, I actually didn’t realize The Willow Basket was going to be a romance novel, which is not a genre I particularly enjoy. But that is all the literary critique I will offer.
What I appreciated about the novel was its attempt to paint the main character as an unintentional mystic who despite the lack of support and understanding from her boyfriend and family, not to mention her own apprehensions and confusion, managed to stay with the unexplained experiences she was having. Instead of shutting it all down, she willingly and intentionally opened herself up to the dreams/visions/ghost visitations (the plot was never very clear about that point), received from them what they freely offered her, and then used what she experienced to inform her work and even her life choices. Although the main character was clearly aware that her experience of the spiritual realm was counter-cultural, she leaned in anyway and chose to surround herself with those people (namely, her archeologist friend) in her life who would encourage and help her understand her experiences. I also liked that the mystical experiences she had were connecting her to past generations of women in her family history, which I think in our American culture we are often all to quick to forget or appreciate.
Ultimately, it was not my kind of fiction, and I found myself too easily pulled out of the story and distracted by the overall lack of craft. But if you like romance novels, then it might be worth a read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.