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Review: The Mailbox

October 7, 2011

Lindsey’s home life isn’t too great, so spending her summers with her aunt and uncle on Sunset Beach, North Carolina has always been the highlight of her year.  The summer when she’s fifteen, she meets, and falls in love with, Coleman, a local boy.  He shows her a mailbox on the beach that people leave their hopes, dreams, and worries in.  The mailbox is attended by “The Kindred Spirit” but no one knows who that is.  When Coleman and Lindsey break up, their lives go in different directions, but Lindsey still makes her annual pilgrimage to the mailbox.

I generally don’t read Christian fiction because I find the characters to be too preachy and perfect, so I was a little leery going into The Mailbox, by Marybeth Whalen.  I wanted to give it a try, though, because I met the author at SIBA last year and just adore her – she’s kind, smart, and unpretentious.

I didn’t love The Mailbox, but I liked it a lot, and found much to appreciate in it.   The characters are Christian, but they’re far from perfect and they struggle with their faith.  They don’t condemn others who don’t share their beliefs and they’re not out to convert the world.  They do talk about their faith several times and if that bothers you, this may not be the book for you.

The story is told in the third person and the past is filled in with flashbacks.  I found Whalen’s writing to be solid, even if the story is somewhat predictable.  The characters are realistic and relatable – most people will recognize someone they know in the pages of this book.  The mailbox in the story is based on a real mailbox and reading about it made me want to go to Sunset Beach and discover it for myself.

Overall, I found The Mailbox to be a comforting, sweet read.  It won’t be one of my favorites of the year, but I did enjoy it and I look forward to reading Whalen’s next book.

Review copy provided by the author.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
25 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 6:37 am

    I enjoy Christian Fictions, but I don’t like it to be too preachy. I think I would like to try this one. It sounds like a good read with relatable characters.

  2. October 7, 2011 6:52 am

    I would probably enjoy this one. I don’t always have problems with predictability if I’m not expecting to be blown away by surprises.

  3. October 7, 2011 8:01 am

    I enjoy an occasional Christian fiction book but like the message to be subtle. They are usually predictable but can be quick, comforting reads. I will have to put this one on my wish list. I like to share these types of books with my mom. It’s fun to read and discuss them together. We have not read this author yet so we will add her to our list!

  4. October 7, 2011 8:10 am

    Very cool about the real mailbox! It kind of reminds me of those places where people leave locks and keys (don’t know how that got started!)

  5. October 7, 2011 8:42 am

    I love Christian Fiction. Love the idea of the mailbox. I’d probably love this book. Sorry you didn’t.

  6. October 7, 2011 10:49 am

    I’ve been meaning to read this too since meeting her af the UCF thing and because of Heather’ recommendation. I think it still sounds like a nice story even though it’s a bit predictable. I definitely like that the characters aren’t preachy I’d judgmental!

  7. October 7, 2011 10:53 am

    That should say preachy OR judgmental.

  8. October 7, 2011 10:57 am

    I met Marybeth at the UCF Book Festival too, and I’ve been meaning to read both her books, but time/book stacks have held me up. I’m also fine with Christian Fiction if it’s message is more subtle.
    Thanks for the review.

  9. October 7, 2011 11:24 am

    This sounds good – I dont mind Christian Fiction but I dont like perfect characters and perfect endings either so unfortunately I dont read as much of this genre as I would like.

    I love the idea of the mailbox!

  10. October 7, 2011 11:34 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this. It looks reallly good 🙂 So glad you liked it.

  11. October 7, 2011 11:51 am

    My only issue with christian fiction is sometimes its a little preachy but this sounds like a good story and relatable, identifiable characters struggling with life issues is the kind of story I like. It’s very cool that The Mailbox is based on a real mailbox!
    Thank you for a terrific review, Kathy!

  12. October 7, 2011 12:16 pm

    Marybeth is the nicest person anyone would ever meet, so I figured her books have to be very thoughtful and sweet. I have her most recent one sitting right on my nightstand and will be reading it soon! And did you know that I’ve actually vacationed at Sunset Beach? What an absolutely GORGEOUS place.

  13. October 7, 2011 1:04 pm

    Oh my gosh. My husband’s grandparents used to live down there and we spent several vacations on Sunset Beach. I’ve heard of the mailbox, but never actually seen it. I’m pretty sure my husband has, though.

  14. October 7, 2011 1:12 pm

    I stopped reading Christian fiction awhile back because of the whole preachy thing. Glad to hear this book isn’t like that.

  15. October 7, 2011 2:28 pm

    What I liked best about this book was the realism of the characters. They weren’t perfect people, which is what you expect when you pick up a Christian fiction book. They were flawed and had their own troubles. I am glad that you mostly enjoyed this one, and am looking forward to seeing what you think of her next one. It’s a very different kind of book.

  16. October 7, 2011 2:41 pm

    You do so good with still promoting the positive and you will read another book by author, that is a good sign.

  17. October 7, 2011 3:40 pm

    I still have this one on my shelf to read! My goodness though I did not realize it was based upon a *real* mailbox! How very cool! I’m going to have to pull that baby off the shelves and get to it! Thanks for sharing!

  18. October 7, 2011 4:34 pm

    I don’t read christian fiction either for similar reasons. I’m glad you enjoyed the book even though it wasn’t your favorite.

  19. October 7, 2011 4:39 pm

    Got to love that imperfection in our characters…it sounds good!

  20. October 7, 2011 4:51 pm

    I am like you, I do not want preachy, but then I do not want them talking much about it either. Other religions yes, but Christianity nope

  21. October 7, 2011 10:49 pm

    Nice, honest review, Kathy!

  22. October 8, 2011 9:07 pm

    I’ve just discovered this genre this year and have to admit that I was quite surprised. Some have been too preachy but some have been incredibly inspiring. Being a Buddhist – it makes it all the more apparent that faith is what keeps us grounded and compassion is a must.

  23. October 9, 2011 10:06 pm

    I love this type of book and think it actually sounds like a good, solid read!

  24. October 11, 2011 11:10 am

    I like the premise and I’d expect Christian Fiction to be comforting and sweet, but it’s just not me. Sounds horrible but you know me and my reading picks are rarely sweet although they are often comforting, just not in a traditional sense.

  25. October 12, 2011 11:47 am

    I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction for the same reasons as you. I’m glad this one walked that line so it wasn’t preachy.

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