Monday, June 9, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Read Chapter Excerpt Here
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

"Fear Not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:1. These words are central to A Broken Kind of Beautiful, because Ivy has never been wanted by anyone for anything other than her beauty and her body. As a result, she is an empty person who has been broken by harsh circumstances and a lack of love but who remains a mask of beauty on the outside. Except for Davis, who seems to see beneath her mask, and his family, who longs to show her the love of a real family and a true Father. This novel masterfully relays both the sad reality of the physical beauty-consumed world we live in and the awesome truth of the power of the great forgiveness and love that can be found when we are redeemed by our Heavenly Father. I was greatly convicted of the fact that we often overlook the inner beauty of individuals for the physical. In addition, we ignore the true needs of people, even the 'beautiful', to be loved, cherished, and respected. The setting of the novel is varied and descriptive and demonstrates both the true beauty of the natural world (like the small town of Greenbriar, SC) and the flashy and gaudy 'beauty' that often rules the club and fashion scenes of New York and other cities. The plot line is well written and filled with truths about love, forgiveness, and beauty. I was drawn into the story right away as my heart hurt for Ivy, Marilyn, Sara, and Davis who all lived with their own demons and as they struggled to turn their worries and past mistakes over to God.

The characters of this novel were vibrant and realistic. Each character had their own weaknesses, their own broken areas in their lives, and the novel became a beautiful picture of true redemption looks like for those who seek to be redeemed by God. Davis and Ivy had a very interesting story together, and I loved watching them interact and seeing as Ivy's walls began to slowly break down. Even the moments of pain and sadness were orchestrated in a way to point towards God and the forgiveness and hope He offers. Overall, I highly enjoyed A Broken Kind of Beautiful, and I found to be a poignant and powerful story of love, hope, and forgiveness that touched my heart. I was left thinking of the lyrics of the song Beneath Your Beautiful, which states, 
"You've carried on so long,
You couldn't stop if you tried it.
You've built your wall so high
That no one could climb it,
But I'm gonna try.

Would you let me see beneath your beautiful?
Would you let me see beneath your perfect?
I want to see inside
Would you let me see beneath your beautiful tonight."

I received this novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

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