Maggie Bright

Book Review:  Maggie Bright

Maggie Bright, Tracie Groot, Tyndale, 2015

Maggie Bright is a World War II era novel which revolves around a ship by the name Maggie Bright.  The ship is inherited by Clare Childs, an orphan who seems to find an identity in the yacht.  Through the course of the book, Maggie Bright brings her to  a number of close relationships.  Concurrently, a small group of soldiers are making their way across France to Dunkirk, which will be the sight of an historic military evacuation.

While I’m a big fan of 1940’s fiction, I had very limited knowledge of the operation at Dunkirk prior to reading Maggie Bright.  It prompted me to read historical accounts of the operation and I am certainly happy to have learned about this event which brought together English people from all walks of life to rescue the British Expeditionary Force.  The novel also focuses on the British push to get America involved in the war effort and the atrocities that the world needed to fight to stop.

I found Maggie Bright extremely hard to read.  In fact, had I not committed to reviewing the book, I would have put it down numerous times.  I often felt like I had jumped into the middle of a conversation and could never quite catch up.  I never got a good “picture” of the characters and frankly often had trouble following who was who.  At one point regarding an injured man she says, “Captain Jacobs checks him now and again…” – I had to page back several pages to remind myself that the injured man is in fact Captain Jacobs.  One of the early characters, Mrs. Shrewsbury, is initially referred to, in thought only, as “The Shrew” but later in the book, everyone is calling her that aloud as though that is actually her name.

The two groups in the novel, those on the boat and the soldiers, never actually converge and have only a single connection who is himself not a main character.  That surprised me; it seemed like it was really two stories sharing a book jacket. 

Most troubling of all was the language Mrs. Groot chose to use in this Christian Fiction Novel.  There are a number of four-letter words dispersed throughout the book.  While this is all too common in all forms of modern media, one of the main reasons I read from the CBA aisle is because I do not want to put those things in my head.  I am disappointed in the choice of both the author and publisher. 

Tyndale House supplied a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.