Book Reviews

martin hospitality

Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she finds herself sleeping in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.

The Martins aren’t a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.

When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?

This book is one I’ve been wanting to read since it’s release into the world. Being very pro-life myself, and living in a state that’s had almost all of its abortion clinics shut down, I’ve wanted to read this for a long while. So I was excited when I saw it up for review, and I could finally read this book that I had read so many great reviews for =) Despite the setting this book was super clean, and written in such a beautiful manner that was so Christ-honoring, that I wouldn’t hesitate to let some of my younger siblings read it.

So, yes, it’s about a young girl who is pregnant and virtually alone, and basically a vagrant sleeping in a barn. Poor Gemma needed help, even if she wouldn’t admit it, and she lands smack-dab in the middle of a family that is unlike any other she has ever known. A family who is large, loud, sweet, helpful, caring, and hospitable in a way she has never experienced. This family also happens to have a mother who’s a midwife (talk about providential timing!) and children who know what they believe and why they believe it and are able to teach others *cue Josiah*. This family does family devotions together — something that is rarely modeled in books — and goes to church together. They even drive a 15 passenger van! Such a common family vehicle in large families, but something that is seen as foreign in the world of “family cars” =) I loved it!

And best of all, most of the members in this family are willing to forgive and overlook certain things that could obviously be held against Gemma. Instead of being afraid of her influence on their family, they are more concerned about their influence on her. I loved how the pastor in the book put it: “My friends, there is no sin too great, no heart too cold to be turned to the Lord. Who are we to judge those God may claim for His own?” <3

Because of this family, Gemma learns a new way to raise her child, she learns about unconditional love, and she learns about the love of the Saviour. The impact this family had on her, simply by living out their lives, was precious to read about, and I loved it. But I also greatly appreciated the way that there were still consequences for Gemma for what she had done — life wasn’t all roses just because she fell into favorable circumstances, and in that way it was true to life. There are always consequences to our actions, and Gemma had to find that out.

A small town in rural Kansas was the perfect setting for this. Perfect. The corn fields, the lack of big clothing stores, the long drives, the dirt road — this country girl loved all those descriptions through and through.

And speaking of descriptions, the writing contained in this book was perfectly done. I admired the way the author took you on a journey through her words. The pacing was perfect. It had a small-town feel that was slower moving than a lot of novels, but it worked for this.

The way the characters grew was so believable. Gemma’s character grew by leaps and bounds, and I loved reading every scene she was in. Somehow the author managed to fit in all the Martin kids and give them each their own personality, and I admired that. Josiah was another character I fell in love with — he was so patient and understanding and so diligent to seek the Lord. The heart he exhibited for evangelism, and the zeal he had, was amazing.

The one character I didn’t quite connect with was Mr. Martin. He was the only Martin who was concerned about the influence of Gemma, and he seemed a bit strict, overly so. Almost . . . grumpy. Then about halfway through the story, I saw that he wasn’t strict, he was concerned, and that he loved his family — including Gemma — dearly. He was protective of his family and he would go to great lengths to protect his children and his wife, and he just didn’t want them to get hurt. I do think this could have been a bit better portrayed in the story, but I got the message eventually. And I ended up appreciating him, as fathers who protect their children, especially their daughters, are so rare to see. And at the end, something that happened, involving a daughter, a young man, and a clandestine rendezvous reminded me of what my own father would do, so he earned even more of my respect. Also, the relationship between him and his children, especially his oldest son, was precious.

I would definitely recommend this for older readers, just because of the whole premise fo the story being an unwed pregnancy. There is nothing untoward in it at all, but I would recommend it for ages 15+ simply because it will be appreciated and understood more.

*I received a copy of this book from Stellae Books in return for an honest review. I was not required to enjoy this book, just give my honest opinion*

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I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.

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