morning light book coverReviewed by Holly Madison

The description of Morning Light states:

“Emily, a twenty-four-year-old dancer and choreographer, confronts her husband’s fixation with right-wing Catholic dogma that condemns her use of birth control. His faith is so powerful that he refuses to have sex with her, even though he desperately wants to. As awful as this broken faith feels, she is troubled more by her best friend’s losing fight with cancer, and seeks to help her friend’s grief-stricken, precocious, son–the seventeen-year-old David. But the boy’s willful ways turn the tables on her. Denied intimacy by her husband, the boy’s passion asserts itself, and everyone’s life is explosively altered.”

In theory, this is a very intriguing story that would make me dive right in. Stories about battling cancer, romance, forbidden love, and marital problems are packed full of drama and emotion that usually result in wonderful tear jerkers. Unfortunately, this book did not provoke any intense emotions for me, and was a rather dull, if not frustrating, read.

Emily, the heroine of the book, is in a marriage with a man that she continues to describe as wonderful and loving, yet the side of her husband  that is portrayed is completely different. He comes off more as an angry man who is religious enough to not want to sleep with his wife for fear that she’s using birth control, yet swears like a sailor and has violent outbursts. His snide remarks about Emily and her baby (the result of an affair with David, her best friend’s 17 year old son) border on verbally abusive, and she continues to let him treat her badly. It also really bothered me that Emily told him she wasn’t using birth control, yet he openly admitted to not believing her. I think that her husband needed to be more likable for me to really be able to empathize with him–and I think that Emily needed to stand up to him better for me to empathize with her.

I think that the worst part of this book is that none of the characters are very relatable, or even likable. Even as Emily’s best friend is dying of cancer, she agrees to stay away (her friend’s wishes) and doesn’t see her for several months before her death. This should be a point of complete and utter devastation, but her emotions are only lightly touched upon and the focus centers more on her failing marriage and feelings towards David (which aren’t even discussed in a very provocative way).

The narration was also peculiar. The story came from David reading Emily’s journals, so instead of actually seeing things through Emily’s eyes, David continues to refer to things like, “Emily said” or, “Emily felt”. It is an unusual way of narrating a story and I don’t think that it worked very well. A better way to go about it would have been to jump straight into the story from David’s point of view, then jump into Emily’s point of view completely once he starts reading her journals.

The only truly redeeming part of the book is the ending, where a glimmer of hope remains and the unknown makes me wonder what will happen next. That mystery was the perfect way to leave the characters.

Reading this book did not make me feel happy or sad, just a little bit depressed and slightly bored. I think there was a lot of potential for an interesting story, and I have not ruled Holland Kane out as a good author yet, but so far I am not impressed.

Holly has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and owns a small business with her husband selling fleece and hand-spun yarn. When she is not spinning yarn, she does freelance work as a graphic design artist and is highly involved in animal rescue.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Rumor House Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.