Title: Uncut Diamonds
Author: Karen Jones Gowen
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Release Date: July 30, 2009
Size: 386 pages, 6×9, softcover
It is the late Seventies. Gold medallions and disco dancing, bell bottoms and bushy sideburns, Star Wars and Saturday Night Fever are all the rage. Jimmy Carter is President during a frightening recession, with mortgage interest rates at 13% and fuel bills higher than house payments. In the heartland of the nation, a young Mormon couple, Marcie and Shawn McGill, struggle to save their home, family and marriage, during these uncertain times. And they find help in unexpected places…
Follow the lives of Marcie and her two sisters as their lives intertwine. Beautiful Cindy who is single and dating, often the wrong guy. Linda who married rich and lives in Denver with her husband and young daughter. And their parents, the kindly Methodist minister and his cheerful wife, who do what they can to help everyone out.
I finished reading this book yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The main character, Marcie, goes through a wide variety of emotions very similar to myself, for us being young moms forty years apart.
Most of us will be able to relate to the high gas bills (not that high), making bread and beans and rice because we're saving money, and feeling frustrated with our husbands because they don't help out at home.
The beginning of the book started out rough for me; there were a few typesetting errors and fewer commas than I'm accustomed to. Also, the characters were introduced by their first names and then referred to by the last name, leaving me a bit confused as to who was who in the first two or three chapters. Things smoothed out from there, though, and the book was an enjoyable, compelling read. Very relaxing.
The protagonist, Marcie, feels very real as a loving and conflicted stay-at-home mom. This is the type of book that is ideal for a mother needing to commiserate over the joys and trials of motherhood. The time is unique, set in the seventies, and has some rich insights into the LDS culture.
The author, Karen Jones Gowen, has some excellent "writerly" moments (a term coined by publisher Sol Stein), including several refreshing similes.
I also found the pioneer excerpts in book two to be especially touching.
I don't usually read LDS fiction but I wanted to read this. Uncut Diamonds is based on the author's life. There is an excellent Mormon lingo dictionary in the back.
I liked the book, I suggest writing a family tree to get the characters straight (I have more problems with this than most). I took the book to our houseboat vacation at Lake Powell last week with some other reading material and ended up finishing "Uncut Diamonds" first. I kept thinking about it and reading it every chance I got. A few times my daughter had me rub her back and the deal was… she had to read it outloud to me to get the massage.
No huge climax in the book but real life. I enjoyed the side story too. I am interested in Karen Jones Gowen's other book.
I just got done reading the book last night. I absolutely loved it! I felt like I related to both Marcie and Cindy. I to am a convert and my husband and I are trying to start our family at the ages of 28 and 29. Reading Marcie's story helped me to think about what kind of mom I would like to be, and that is to be just like her!She also made me want to become a better person and the book actually has strengthened my testimony!
Thank you everyone for your comments. Gen W., I don't know if you will see this or not, but your recent comment here really made my day just now when I read it. I haven't gotten a lot of feedback either positive on negative (and yes, more negative from LDS readers than I had expected!)
I am so glad that my novel helped strengthen your testimony and inspired you to be a better mom. That was a whole lot of my purpose in writing…to do this while entertaining as well. And to create characters that LDS women especially could really identify with, regardless of their ages.
I am thrilled to know that I succeeded in this for at least a few readers!!