Saturday, February 2, 2013

{Review} Beauty Rising by Mark W. Sasse

ISBN #: 978-1481211284
Page Count: 246
Copyright: January 12, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing


"My heart sank. I dumped my father's ashes in the heart of communist Vietnam - over a thousand miles from the death of his comrades - over a thousand miles from the smile of that girl. How could I have been so stupid?"

Only the bumbling, overweight, thirtyish, stay-at-home Martin Kinney could have mistakenly flubbed his dying father's request with such gusto. This thousand mile mistake awakens the ghosts of long-held family secrets and puts Martin on a fateful course with an unlikely romantic interest - a young, beautiful, yet troubled Vietnamese woman named My Phuong.

Charlene's Review:

Martin Kinney, Jr. is a 30+ year old living in his parents' home, with a job at a local retailer. On his father's deathbed, Martin finally hears the secret that transformed his family into a bitter, angry existence. His father's last wish is for Martin to go to Vietnam and leave his ashes in a field where the memory of a beautiful woman haunted him and he lost his buddies to the war. So begins Martin's journey of redemption from a past he didn't know had dictated his life until this point.

When Martin arrives in Vietnam, he is immediately robbed of his wallet in a busy street. Left stranded with no money, he is befriended by two men, a Vietnamese and an American, who help him finish his duty to his father, and return home. After several years, Martin is surprised to see a beautiful woman at his door, with his long-lost driver's license, and the key to his future.

Let me say, this was a one-night read. The flow of the story and the emotional stakes were so high, I had to finish it in one sitting. Mr. Sasse puts a spotlight on the effects of the Vietnam War on the men who fought, and ultimately, their families. This is a tragic story, and yet it was written so beautifully. The peoples of Vietnam are described richly and with such spirit, I felt as if I was there on the streets among them. The emotional toll the War and its aftermath took on Martin's family is devastating, and while a dark, tragic tale, is a story people need to hear and understand if we can relate at all to the men that returned from that era.

I want to give nothing away to the ending, as it is explosive, but at the same time, tied up as neatly as a life can be. I will say only that I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Vietnam Era. The culture and land of Vietnam are given much attention, and the story just resonates with redemptive beauty.

5 out of 5 stars!

*A paperback copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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