Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review: Nourish & Strengthen by Maria Hoagland

About the Book

Title: Nourish & Strengthen
Author: Maria Hoagland
Release Date: November 2011
Publisher: Sisters Ink Publishing
Genre: LDS Women's Fiction
Received from the author for review.
Chloe Taylor has the perfect life: a model’s figure, a husband who adores her, three healthy children. So why does she feel so much less than perfect?

After losing forty pounds, Chloe Taylor is finally happy with her body. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s not the one in control. When Chloe is called as the Primary president, she discovers that managing the highs and lows of a chronic illness may be easier than the ups and downs associated with family, friends, and church callings. Consumed by her own challenges, Chloe fails to recognize the issues her friends are facing and is in danger of losing their friendship. As Chloe strives to develop Christ-like love for herself and those around her, she learns that outer appearances are far less important than inner peace and spiritual strength. But is she strong enough to face her most difficult trial yet?

Read Chapter 1

There are a couple of different themes addressed in Nourish & Strengthen. For one, it addresses diabetes and its affect on one family. However, on a deeper level, it reveals a very realistic and relatable look at the life of a Latter-Day Saint woman and the pressures she deals with on a daily basis.

In Nourish & Strengthen, the medical elements relating to diabetes were very extensive, well-researched, and thorough. And because diabetes is a personal subject for the author, they were also depicted on an emotional and physical level. I knew that diabetes was difficult to live with, but was overwhelmed by just how all-consuming it can be. Those that share this common disease will surely relate to Chloe and her family's battle with it.

The title of this book obviously relates to the diabetic elements of the story but more subtly it also references how the women involved in the story "nourish & strengthen" one another. I liked how Chloe and her group of friends were able to lean on each other and gather strength from their friendships. (Not to say that there wasn't the normal gossip and misunderstandings found in any group of women :)

I also liked how the author not only described the affects of diabetes on Chloe's life but also delved deeper to uncover her hidden struggles. On the surface, Chloe looks completely capable, confident, and put together. However, underneath she feels inadequate, insecure, and burdened by her trials. These characteristics are very common ones shared by many women, especially those who are wives and mothers and homemakers. I found myself relating to Chloe and her friends' emotions and empathizing with their day-to-day problems.

Nourish & Strengthen is a unique story, depicting the struggles of diabetes as well as the physical and emotional toll it can have. It is also a surprisingly insightful look at how attitude plays a huge role in our everyday struggles and how developing a positive outlook can help us accept and overcome our trials.

                                         About the Author
Author of Nourish & Strengthen. Writer of LDS Women's Fiction. Long distance runner. Type 1 diabetic. Oboe player. Algebra tutor. Lucky wife. Mom of three. Resident of Texas. Loves soft green grass, a breeze in the trees, and a good book.

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  1. Excellent review. Right on about everything! Loved the trailer, too.

  2. I've just started reading this and am loving it also. Thanks for the review!