Reviewed: January 27, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A ~ (Non-Series / Stand-Alone)
Rating: 5 Stars
Length: 378 Pages
Formats: Print, eBook
Disclosure: This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
I read a lot of books - a lot of books. Some are technically superior and I like how the author translates ideas. Some are just brain candy and I like the escapism. Most are good, though perhaps a bit forgettable. Very few - very, very few, touch my heart and feed my soul and triumph over my cynicism. Deborah Smith's The Crossroads Cafe is definitely one of them. I can easily say with complete honesty that this book was the most emotionally satisfying book I've read in at least five years.
Was it technically perfect? No. There were some typos and editing mistakes. Was it the most thought provoking or surprising book I've ever read? Not even close. Were there some things that seemed a little too hokey and a little too pat to feel really realistic? Was there blatant emotional manipulation in the description of the tragedies that struck Cathy and Thomas low? Yup. Definitely. And I couldn't possibly care less, because what this story did - what no other story has done for me for years was give me joy. I cheered for these damaged, broken people. I cried for them and with them. I chuckled with them and over them. I winced and raged and was horrified on their behalf.
I was there - totally there emotionally - through every step of the journey, and I don't care what anyone thinks about boilerplate plots or syrupy romance, that almost never happens. I'm usually an interested observer only.
What a gift this was. What magic.
We live in a cold, often cruel world. A world that gave us the death of a princess and brought to harsh, bitter light the unspeakable price of our voyeuristic, cannibalistic culture. A world that watched two towers - and the lives of thousands - buckle and crumble and perish as the awareness of an insidious hatred crept across our land and burrowed into our lives, stripping freedoms and leaving fear and frustrations in its wake. We were all children once - innocent to the realities that maim and disfigure not just our faces and bodies, like Cathy's, but our hearts and souls, like Thomas'. We are children no more.
So yes, I was there - through every step of their journey, and at the end, regardless of technical trivialities, I felt better. A little more hopeful and a little happier. And that will last for a little while. While it does, it's joyous.
On a...slightly...less emotional side, I want to give kudos to Smith for the southern flavor and down-home feel of The Crossroads Cafe. There were gems of truth and witty truisms scattered throughout that touched a chord and connected me to this story in a lot of ways. As a southerner myself, there were details that were comforting for their familiarity and held a specific southern-style wisdom. I appreciated them immensely.
There are lessons in this book, and reminders. And truth. And in the end, through all the imperfections of body, mind, and soul, and after all the damage and tragedy, one unalterable fact: A body lives through tragedy, a heart survives tragedy, and a soul triumphs over tragedy.
There's triumph here. Enjoy it.
Do you have any thoughts, feelings, and/or questions about this review?
This is your chance to express yourself. I would love to hear from you!