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Heroine: Fern Taylor – Beautiful Soul, Writer
Hero: Ambrose Young – Wrestling Star, Soldier
Making Faces is a phenomenal and powerful read. This book reminds me exactly why I love to read and it’s by far the best book I’ve read in 2013. Amy Harmon has created a brilliantly authentic and emotionally impacting story, written with beauty and soul in her words. Each character is written perfectly flawed and beautifully broken. The emotions I felt slowly and relentlessly snuck up on me and continue to tug and pull on my heart strings. This story kept me in a constant state of tears with a lump in my throat. I will never forget this unforgettable story.
“Victory is in the battle.”
Fern grew up feeling ugly with her flaming red curly hair, bad teeth, large glasses, and awkwardness. But this girl has the most beautiful soul and heart of gold. She has a positive outlook on life and great gentle strength. Her character is so incredibly easy to love. She shines with beauty on the inside and, as she grows into a young woman, her beauty shines on the outside. But Fern has ugly girl syndrome where she doesn’t realize just how pretty she truly is. She’s been in love with Ambrose Young for as long as she can remember. He’s the boy that she always wanted and the boy that never truly saw her. But that changes when Ambrose comes home from war badly scarred.
Ambrose Young, with his physical strength and gorgeous looks, this wrestling star was considered the town hero. Feeling the need to escape the pressure, high expectations, and attention, he joins the military and talks his four best friends into going with him. All five go off to war, but only Ambrose comes home after a tragic event happens in Iraq. It wasn’t easy to go home to face the town that had so much pride in him. He feels like he failed them and his friends. Ambrose is stricken with grief and guilt, unable to move forward in his life. Fern still loves Ambrose – scars and all – and decides to reach out to him and helps him find his place again. She never judges nor does she care that he is scarred. She loves him for him.
Bailey Sheen is Fern’s cousin who has been facing death all his life, as he suffers from muscular dystrophy. Facing death can make a person view life differently. Bailey has this undeniable strength and positive energy about him that makes him such a remarkable person. Unable to do the things a normal person can do never stops him from living his life to the fullest. His strength, optimism, and simple love of life had me smiling and laughing with tears in my eyes. Bailey has always looked up to Ambrose as his hero, but he is definitely a worthy hero in his own way.
“I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy, and when you get tired of looking at me, I promise I’ll sing.”
The romance between Fern and Ambrose was extraordinary. What they have is more than just a romance--it’s about friendship, acceptance, loss, and forgiveness. It’s about seeing inner beauty and not caring about the imperfections. It’s about living in the moment; dancing your heart out, making funny faces, writing love notes, laughing until your cheeks hurt, and loving unconditionally. Fern and Ambrose’s love story is a gradual process over the years, where the connection they form is deep and meaningful. When Ambrose came home from the war as a broken man drowning in sorrow and guilt is when this love story came to life. Fern with her spontaneity, honesty, passion for life, and heart of gold showed Ambrose how to live again. Ambrose, in turn, showed Fern her worth and beauty – the things she never recognized in herself before. Together, they are a beautifully imperfect pair.
It’s fascinating when a story can make you feel uplifted with the spiritual and religious undertones and emotionally wrecked at the same time. I am utterly floored by Amy Harmon’s ability to move me so deeply and dramatically. Her writing is soulful and flawless as she takes us on Ambrose, Fern, and Bailey’s life journey along with many other characters. Have you ever finished a book and all you can do is think about it for the rest of the day? That was me. Forget starting another book. My mind kept wandering back to this thought-provoking story. Honestly, there are no adequate words to describe how I feel about this book. Making Faces is one of those books that must be experienced to understand the pure unadulterated love I feel for it.