Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review~Sacred Choices~Karen Hulene Bartell


An inspirational love story centered on self-growth, Sacred Choices weaves together the lives of three resilient women. Ceren is a newly-married and pregnant professor who learns her husband is a bigamist who urges abortion. Judith, Ceren's colleague - an older, more worldly professor and pro-choice advocate - provides counsel based on her experiences. Judith's sister Pastora, a nun, provides the voice of reason. Written for, by, and about women who have had or are considering abortions, Sacred Choices is Ceren's journey - from her positive pregnancy test, through her decision whether or not to have an abortion - to an uncanny conclusion. Sacred Choices has an offbeat charm steeped in the supernatural. The protagonists' search for the answer to whether it is the Aztec goddess Tonantzin or Our Lady of Guadalupe who has been revered for the past 500 years is interrupted by a giggling, young girl, who appears only to Judith. Is she a figment of Judith's imagination, a vision - or could she be an angel, as Pastora believes? Set near Mexico City and incorporating present-day Hispanic and ancient Aztec beliefs, culture, and cuisine, Sacred Choices deeply celebrates the triumph of the spirit.

About Karen Hulene Bartell

Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Dr. Karen Hulene Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, she enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings.

Karen Hulene Bartell resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her mews—three, soon-to-be four, rescued cats.

Find Karen

Web site: www.karenhulenebartell.com

Michele's Review

An interesting offering from Karen Hulene Bartell. I was very hesitant to read this book. It sat in my review request folder for many weeks before I finally made the decision to read it. Why? Because as a person of faith, I was afraid of what a book like this could contain. Would it be anti-God? Pro-choice? Church bashing? You get the picture here. I finally decided that I would read it. I am extremely glad that I did.

While the book flowed extremely well and made for an easy read, there were parts of the story that were difficult to read due to the subject matter. Deep, thought provoking, and complex were the range of emotions I experienced reading this book and were nothing short of a brilliant accomplishment on the part of Ms. Bartwell. I will be a big girl here and admit, there was more than one ugly cry. There were many story lines to follow throughout, however, each facet of the story came together like an intricately woven textile, I can see the potential for more stories from the different characters. I love the character Sister Pastora, I believe that she embodies the indomitable spirit of every Sister that I know.I look forward to learning more of their stories, especially hers and Judith/Faith’s.

Speaking of characters, well written characters, great depth, the 3 female leads were very different from each other, but found their way to work together toward a common goal. This was a story of their very different lives and how they intersect through choices, experiences, and influences. It was also a moving tribute to finding lost faith, finding yourself, discovering that you are not alone in the universe, but most importantly, the message that I found most profound, was the message of the power of love and forgiveness. 

Ok, now for the nitty gritty, there were some details of Catholicism that weren’t exactly correct, I think I understand the reasoning for the liberties, mostly with divorce and annulment. All in all, I don’t think it detracts from the story, in fact, it creates more confusion for the characters. It illustrates what Jarek was trying to put over on Ceren more effectively for the confusion that it does cause. Overall, I am giving Sacred Choices 5 stars, without hesitation. I think the story was executed extremely well, and I would not hesitate to recommend this book. There is so much more that I want to say about this book, but I think it would be better for you to pick it up and discover it for yourself, it’s a personal journey. I look forward to more stories from the author!

I was gifted a copy for an honest review.

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