5 Minutes for Books: Sometimes a Light Suprises

by Guest

Looking for summer reading recommendations for you or the kids? Come browse around 5 Minutes for Books!

I’m thrilled to welcome 5 Minutes for Books reviewer Lisa today for her first guest post here at 5 Minutes for Mom:

Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….

And so it falls to me to attempt to review a book I really, really liked by an author I really, really like. I think I’ve told you before that writing reviews of books I really, really like is way harder than one would think. I mean, really, how many superlatives can one use without losing credibility altogether? Think on it and get back with me. I need to know.

Meanwhile, let me tell you about my most recent favorite read (I have to say “most recent” because like most bibliophiles my favorite read changes from week to week and book to book). Sometimes a Light Surprises is Jamie Langston Turner’s newest novel and, like the rest of her books, belongs in my beloved “Southern fiction” genre.

The review quoted on the back cover of the novel describes Turner’s writing as “elegant…detailed…and richly textured.” Yes indeed. I love a good story well told and Sometimes a Light Surprises does not disappoint on either count. It is a good story, interesting, intriguing, and not neat-n-tidy but satisfying just the same. It is well told, beautifully written with honest and complex characters that are both believable and likeable.

He had drawn the curtains tightly around his soul–could he trust that glimmer of hope quietly beckoning to him? Ben Buckley has never gotten over the loss of his wife. More bewildering than the mystery surrounding her death is the radical change that occurred in her shortly beforehand–a “conversion,” she had called it. Baffled, angry, and still feeling guilty for the way he’d withdrawn from her during those final weeks, Ben now lives behind the protective walls of severed relationships and rigid routines. An unlikely young woman knocks on the door of his narrow world. Her simple honesty and childlike faith are incomprehensible to him, but in spite of his misgivings Ben finds himself on a journey he never would have begun on his own

Turner writes with an obvious English teacher prejudice (and no wonder, she’s been a teacher for 37 years, currently a professor of creative writing). In each of her novels, the main character’s story is intertwined with some literary element, poetry for example. Sometimes a Light Surprises is no different; protagonist Ben Buckley is fascinated with idioms and their origins, trivia that is interspersed throughout the novel–not overtly but as part of Ben’s conversation and characterization.

A smart, Southern novel, a good story well told, Sometimes a Light Surprises is a wonderful read.

Intrigued? Publisher Bethany House has provided an excerpt here.

Leave a comment if you’d like to win a copy
. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s column.

#66 Staci A. won the 3 Summer Bridge Workbooks. If you didn’t, I highly recommend that you check them out. I love mine!

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mozi Esmes Mommy June 29, 2009 at 1:14 am

I’d love to read this!


2 Jenn June 29, 2009 at 7:34 am

Oh, I’m always looking for good books. Ilove to read and so does my two year old daughter. Right now we are reading Little House in the Big Woods together. SHe loves it!


3 Marilyn Rice June 29, 2009 at 7:57 am


As a lover of books and author I thought you might be interested in my book.

please visit, http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/LookAfterEachOther.html

happy Reading


4 denise June 29, 2009 at 8:28 am

I would love to read this book.


5 Ashley G. June 29, 2009 at 9:21 am

Sounds like a great read! Love that it’s set in the South :)


6 Mama Zen June 29, 2009 at 9:29 am

This sounds marvelous!


7 Heather H June 29, 2009 at 9:56 am

Would like to give this a read!


8 Elli June 29, 2009 at 10:57 am

looks like a great read! i’m always looking for something new.


9 Cascia June 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

That sounds like a great book. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good novel.


10 Becky June 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

Jamie Turner was my Creative Writing professor in college, and I LOVED her class! We wrote poetry, drama, short stories. . . those were the days!
I didn’t even know about her latest book, but it’s so exciting to randomly come across a review of her work!


11 JDSG June 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm

This sounds like an enjoyable book.



12 Laura K June 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I’m intrigued and definitely looking for a new wholesome fiction book to read this summer.


13 Michele June 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Looks like a good one!


14 Linda W. June 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Sounds like a book I could use for myself!


15 Amy June 29, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I’m a huge fan of JL Turner myself, so I’d LOVE to win a copy!!!


16 Dena June 30, 2009 at 12:27 am

Sounds like a great book to read!


17 Shelly W. June 30, 2009 at 9:16 am

Really, really great review, Lisa! :) I’d love to win a copy!


18 Tricia June 30, 2009 at 9:32 am

I have loved all the reviews, I am a huge reader. I would love to win a copy!


19 Letessha June 30, 2009 at 9:58 am

I like reading wonderful books. Loving this giveaway!


20 Beth June 30, 2009 at 10:22 am

This sounds like a good story. I’d love to win.


21 Selinda McCumbers June 30, 2009 at 2:21 pm

This sounds like a great read!




22 Jenny Martin June 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Oh how I would love to win this book–give me a reason to put up my feet and relax!


23 Trish June 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Love, love, love this writer! I just spent the last month re-reading several of her books. Thanks for letting us know about her newest one.


24 sito July 1, 2009 at 12:04 am

Yes, I’d like to win a copy. The review sounds like it’s a delicious read.


25 Michele July 1, 2009 at 11:36 am

I enjoyed the excerpt – count me in!


26 Linda W. July 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm

I would love to win this book. It sounds so good. Thank you.


27 J. Lynne Johnston July 1, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Jamie Langston Turner can sure “turn a phrase”. I would love to own this book. Thank you for the opportunity to do so.


28 Angela C. July 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm

I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

accoupons at gmail dot com


29 Beth July 3, 2009 at 10:03 am

When someone says that they really liked a book I immediately want to read it! Thanks for the chance to win this one.


30 CherylS22 July 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Looks like a good book.
Please count me in – Thanks!


31 kathy pease July 5, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Thanks for the GREAT giveaway
please count me in :)


32 Jen Nutzhorn July 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm

This looks like a great book- thanks for the review and the giveaway!


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