The Muir House – Finding Peace Amid Chaos
Hello one and all! My name is Jennah, and – like most of you, I am sure – this is my first time participating in a blog-based book club. I am excited about the possibilities that it holds, and honored to have been given the opportunity to join in.
Let me kick this whole party off by saying WOW! What a heady and multi-faceted book! Twists, turns, family secrets, love, intrigue – The Muir House has it all in one speed-read package! I read the whole thing in 4 hours…I could not put it down if I wanted to, to be honest. I loved the foreshadowing and hidden gems sprinkled throughout the book, as if I were a detective on the hunt for the truth right along with Willa. I have long been a fan of books that allow me to climb inside them and explore as I read, and this was definitely one of those books.
As a quick recap of my thoughts before I get into the meat of my post:
- LOVED the characters – very diverse, believable, and well-developed. My favorite? I actually liked feisty old Mrs. Skye (Genie); from the start I had a feeling she was highly connected with Willa…although I never suspected she would be an aunt, of sorts.
- LOVED the setting. I am from the Seattle area originally, so I really identified with that part of Willa’s life. As I have never been to the South, I also enjoyed reading about that area as well.
- LIKED the storyline. It was a great plot – I am, however, one of those people that cannot stand suspense, especially when it pertains to family/child types of things. So I must confess that when I got halfway through, I skipped to the end and found out what happened and then returned to my happy reading blitz. I know, I know: that is a cardinal sin to many, but I did find that (personally) I enjoyed the second half of the book much more, since I knew where all of the characters were coming from.
- DISLIKED the ending. I am a sucker for complete endings, whether it is a wedding neatly wrapped in bows and confetti, or a knock-down, drag-out fight that separates a few characters forever. I know that Hale and Willa end up together, but I could not help thinking about other loose ends that my OCD-self would love to have seen resolved a bit more.
This brings me to the thought I had last night that kept me awake until I could open my laptop lid and start getting those thoughts out onto this post: the idea of chaos as a comfort zone. It comes up throughout the book, but mainly on pages 126-127. Indulge me as I quote 🙂
Willa: “That makes no sense. Why would chaos be a safe place?”
Hale: “Because it’s what’s comfortable for you, what you know. What if God were calling you to something radically different? What if He wanted you to let go of the drama, to turn your back on it, and walk confidently in a new place.”
Willa: “So you’re saying that to live a normal life is a risk for me?”
Hale: “Guess what Willa…You have a choice. Chaos or wholeness. I know it sounds wacko, but your comfort zone is chaos. Take a risk for wholeness.”
Talk about powerful! These lines hit me like a baseball bat. As a mom to two little ones, the wrangler of two puppies, and the manager of three businesses, controlled chaos seems to come with the territory, and until now, it has been something that I have just accepted. To be totally transparent, I would have to agree with Hale in that at its core, my chaos is probably a comfort zone for me. It allows me to make excuses – viable excuses – when I am tired, overwhelmed, and perhaps not running at my best pace.
It pains me to realize this, but I think that, like Willa, I hide behind a mask of busyness and self-inflicted chaos, when all that I need to live in peace and serenity is effort. In all fairness, it will be a LOT of effort, but this raises another question: at what point does the risk and effort it will take to let peace reign supreme in my life become worth the accountability and vulnerability that I will be stepping into? Being on the ball and not allowing emergencies and chaos to lead me does, by definition, require that I am prepared. That I stop procrastinating. That I live with – dare I say it – a focused purpose instead of flying all over the board every day.
I really look forward to hearing what you all have to say about this valuable insight that Willa and Hale’s relationship brings to light for my life and for your lives – Let the conversation begin! 🙂