Sarah Sharpe has grown up as a carpenter’s daughter, knowing only the rough and work-heavy world of her father’s blue-collar profession. Abandoned by her mother as a baby, she’s lived twenty-one years content to drive nails at her dad’s side. Following her father into the world of construction was a natural path, and she took it without a second thought. But a harsh comment about her “butch” appearance sends her on a search for identity.
Enter handsome and easygoing Jesse Chapman, the roofer she meets on her first foray into volunteer work for Homes For Hope. In every way, the quirky man is her opposite—confident, a people kind of guy, and most importantly, happy. His likable qualities continue to draw her in, and for some reason he keeps coming back to her. But they can’t be more than friends—he’s made that crystal clear. Except for a handful of times…and the confusion is driving her crazy.
Sarah’s quest for self-definition becomes more tangled than she ever imagined, and she discovers that the journey will take her deeper than clothes and makeup. Filling the void in her heart becomes an obsession she cannot escape. How far is she willing to go to discover who she really is?
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction, Christian, Romance
PUBLISHER: Rooted Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 15, 2016
“Crazy how one tiny, inconsequential conversation could change the color of the sky.”
The Carpenter’s Daughter by Jennifer Rodewald is heartachingly beautiful. I say that because my heart ached nearly from word one all the way to the last punctuation mark. And because even in the heartache, sometimes because of the heartache, it was beautiful. 🙂 My heart ached – twisted, really – for Sarah. I’ve been in her clunky boots. Maybe not the exact size or style but the hurt was the same. My heart ached – in all the best ways – at Jesse’s exquisite tenderness for and toward Sarah. At how he saw her on a level that no one else had noticed before, and valued her just the way she was. But most of all, my heart ached and brimmed and smiled-through-tears over reminder after reminder after beautiful reminder that Jesus loves me. And you. And Sarah.
As you may have read already, one year ago today I officially reviewed my first book. It was a book about church hurt. A book about a young woman who couldn’t quite believe that Jesus loved her. A book about the young man who set out to – gently – change her mind because he saw something in her that no one else had bothered to see. What a sweetly tender touch from Jesus, therefore, that the book I have the privilege of reviewing today touches on some very similar themes but in a distinctly unique way. He’s so amazing like that!
I’ve actually been staring at my computer screen for a while now, trying to process and put into words ALL THE FEELS I have for Jennifer Rodewald’s latest book. I know what you’re thinking – “but, Carrie…. I do see two paragraphs of words.” Yes, well…. I still need to somehow convey to you how very deeply I loved The Carpenter’s Daughter. 🙂
Sarah is tough and solid on the outside. But on the inside, she’s a fragile bundle of insecurity and doubt. Of purposelessness. Of inferiority. Of a need to belong. “The hunger to belong growled in her soul.” (Don’t you love Jennifer’s way with words?)
Jesse …. oh, Jesse. He’s going in my book boyfriend collection. But not because he made me swoon (although I did do that a couple of times) – because he made me teary more than once. He sees the beauty in Sarah, is stunned by it, almost literally swept off his feet by it. A beauty that others overlook until she’s all dolled up. He saw her covered with dirt and dust, in baggy clothes, sweaty from a day’s construction work… and was enthralled by her beauty anyway. And because he sees her beauty – the kind that’s inside as well as out – he sees her truest value and he longs for her to know that he’s not the only one who loves her. Jesus loves her too.
And y’all. This is where Jesse and Jennifer Rodewald shine. The quiet dance of yearning for a life with Sarah, yet knowing he needed to stay out of the way until Jesus claimed her heart first. His conversations with Jesus are some of my favorite ever in fiction – simple, real, honest. Not perfect. Yet exactly what Sarah needed.
“Love her enough to let her love Me first.”
Oh. Y’all. THAT is a hero worth swooning over. Jesse – and the Hero who acts as his role model. The Hero who loved Sarah enough to die for her. For me. For YOU. <3 The Hero who didn’t let a tiny detail like death stop Him but totally came swaggering back through the door like Aragorn in the LOTR. The Hero who one day will return on that white horse to rescue His princess, just like the fairy tale image carved deep in the heart of nearly every female on earth.
Rest there, my soul. That is enough.
Bottom Line: In The Carpenter’s Daughter, Jennifer Rodewald has crafted a tender and poignant story of love. Not just the love between man and woman but also the love that Jesus has for each of us. The first person perspective, shifting between three main characters, adds depth of both insight and emotion and breathes vivid life into these names on a page. Every woman who has ever felt like she wasn’t pretty enough… or smart enough … or creative enough… or just enough needs needs NEEDS to read The Carpenter’s Daughter. Because in Sarah, we find a kindred spirit. In Jesse, we find a hero. And in Jesus, we find ourselves. Fans of Katie Ganshert or Varina Denman will find another favorite in Jennifer Rodewald! And as Sarah Monzon said… even if you aren’t fans of either of those, you’ll still love this book!
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
Disclaimer: There are a couple of very minor profanities in the book. Very minor. Like, two words. The story is so much more than those two words, but I didn’t want anyone to clutch their pearls and write me letters because I didn’t warn them 😉
My Rating: 5 stars / A Must-Read!!
KissingBook Level: 3.5 / Will forget to breathe on occasion and may need that fan a time or two
Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that pointed to the grace of God. Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic. She would love to hear from you! Please connect with Jennifer on:
Great review Carrie! I completely agree with everything you said. Fantastic story. 🙂
Thanks, Christina!! 🙂 Such a fantastic book, yes!
Thank you so much, Carrie! What a beautiful review. 🙂
my absolute pleasure 🙂
Oh wow — I’m running over to Book Depository to order this now. Awesome review and I do so love a deeply emotional read…and this sounds like that. At least, I’m guessing based on your review. LOL
Carrie, I just finished this book. There are no words. It ripped my heart and sewed it back. The Gospel is so beautifully intertwined. Redemption is the theme and Jesse’s patience through the process was so wowing. I’ll have to think a while before I can properly post my five star review on Amazon.
YES! I know exactly what you mean! Beautifully said, Amanda!