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On This Day    by Melody Carlson order for
On This Day
by Melody Carlson
Order:  USA  Can
WaterBrook Press, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Five women come together for a wedding. Elizabeth is the bride's aunt, Suzette the wife of the groom's boss. The maid of honor (Ingrid), the bride's grandmother (Margaret), and the groom's sister-in-law (Laura) round out the bunch. Most don't know each other, or are only passing acquaintances. But the wedding brings out feelings in these women, who form relationships to help them deal with different issues.

Laura is a brand new mother struggling with sleep deprivation, body image problems, and the overwhelming emotions that go with parenting an infant. Margaret, facing heart surgery, is not sure that she wants to prolong her life since she lost her beloved husband the year before. Elizabeth and Suzette, two complete opposites, feel insecure in their marriages. And Ingrid, facing her own wedding, has second thoughts. One woman's strengths are used to support another in her trials. The wedding is the central event that brings them together, but their individual dilemmas cause them to forge new friendships and support systems.

On This Day is an interesting tale. Each chapter is told from one woman's first person viewpoint. But because some of the incidents are told rather than shown, even with the first person perspective, it's easy to feel distanced from the action and storyline. And occasionally we have to backtrack to see the same situation from another woman's viewpoint, which gets confusing. However, the tone is intimate and offers more behind-the-scenes insight than another format would have.

We get to know Elizabeth, Laura, and Margaret best. Their motivations are clearly described. Laura's struggles struck particularly close to home, and I found descriptions of the feelings of new motherhood incredibly realistic and touching. Suzette's story, although detailed, was not concluded very clearly. Though I could imagine what probably happened, it was unsettling to have the entire thing left hanging. Overall, On This Day is an enjoyable character-driven story offering food for thought. Carlson easily gets to the heart of her characters' turmoil, giving readers a glimpse of their lives and how they deal with different problems.

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