Y’all have heard me gush about The Carpenter’s Daughter by Jennifer Rodewald ever since I reviewed it a while back. Guess what? I’m gonna gush about it some more today 😀
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: Christian, Contemporary, Fiction
Publisher: Rooted Publishing
Publication date: April 15, 2016
Number of pages: 349
Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.
Born in Colorado, she experienced both the seclusion of rugged mountain living and the busy streets of a Denver suburb during her growing up years. Somewhere in the middle of college, she married a Husker and found her way back to the quiet lifestyle of a rural area, which suits just fine.
Blessed with a robust curiosity, Jen loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new. Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence.
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.
First Person: A Unique Key (by Jennifer Rodewald)
I’m not sure what it is about first person. Turning “she” into “I” polarizes readers: They either love it or hate it. I don’t really know why.
First person, from a writing standpoint, is tricky. Those tenses, staying consistent with them—man they’re a killer! I’m very bad at them, just ask my editor! Writing in first is intimidating—partly because of the strong preference of readers, and partly because we know as writers that a first person story leaves very little room for grace. You simply have to nail it, or it will fail.
So I avoided first person for years.
And then I wrote a Young Adult story in first person (still not released, I’m working on the rest of the series). YA is done more and more in first, so I thought, “hey, why not try?”
Guess what? I LOVED it. It was sort of like a singer finding her perfect key. My voice seemed to come alive in the minor chords of first person.
But I wasn’t sure about the Women’s Fiction genre. Adults haven’t embraced first the way the younger generation has.
I had started The Carpenter’s Daughter in third person about five years ago and had set it aside. The story wasn’t coming to life. Some ideas aren’t meant for the books, and I kind of thought Sarah’s story fit into that category. My husband disagreed. He liked the premise, felt like it was original and relatable, so he pushed me to write it.
I love his support—truly I write because of his unwavering belief that I am supposed to write. But sometimes he’s pushy!
Sometimes I need pushed.
So one day I was reading some writing blogs, and I came across an author’s “interview notes” for her characters. I’ve tried that technique before, and it didn’t work for me. But the idea got me thinking about other strategies. What if I let her journal through my pen?
I still wasn’t thinking about actually producing this story in First. I just wanted to see Sarah’s heart through her words. What I found was thrilling.
Her story, and Jesse’s, began to harmonize in first person. We were singing in our perfect key, and I knew this story was one that needed the unique intimacy of first person.
Interestingly, I’ve heard from several readers saying that, “usually I don’t like first person, but…”
Makes me smile.
I’m not saying I’ll always write first person from this point forward. My current WIP is in third (I have to admit, it is very hard to switch methods), but The Carpenter’s Daughter was, simply put, a first person kind of story, and I love the way it turned out.
How about you? Do you prefer first or third person? Have you ever come across something that you thought you wouldn’t like, but found that it was just right for that specific situation? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I posted my review for The Carpenter’s Daughter back in April (spoiler alert: I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!) but here’s a little snippet for your perusal.
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. Read the full review here.
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