Book: Ascension of Larks

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden
Genre: romance, inspirational, faith,
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: June 20, 2017
Reviewed by: Denise Johnson (guest reviewer)
Fiction Addict Scorecard: A

When globetrotting photographer Magdalena Henry loses the only man she’s ever loved, she risks her stellar career to care for his widow and young children on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.

Free-spirited and fiercely independent, Maggie adores her life of travel and adventure. But she has a secret. She can’t let go of her first and only love, renowned architect Marco Firelli, now married to her best friend Lena.

When Marco drowns in a kayaking accident, Maggie rushes to the Firelli family’s summer home on San Juan Island. Once there she discovers that Marco was hiding something that could destroy his family. As fragile, perfectionistic Lena slowly falls apart, Maggie tries to provide stability for Marco and Lena’s three young children.

When Maggie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the world’s most prestigious photography competition, she thinks she’s found the answer to their problems. Then Lena makes a choice with unexpected and devastating consequences, forcing Maggie to grapple with an agonizing decision. Does she sacrifice the golden opportunity of her career or abandon the Firellis just when they need her the most?

Gradually the island begins to work its magic. A century-old ritual to beckon loved ones home offers hope in the midst of sorrow. And a guilt-ridden yet compelling stranger hiding on the island may offer Maggie a second chance at love, but only if she can relinquish the past and move forward to find joy in unexpected places.*

I’ve never reviewed/read a Rachel Linden book before so I have to say out of the gate that I had no pre-conceived thoughts or opinions about the book. (Or her as an author.) Linden does an excellent job of character development.  She doesn’t reveal too much up front about any character. Instead, it’s a ‘little-by-little’ unraveling of their personality, quirks, as well as flaws and weaknesses.  I liked our primary character, Maggie.  This reader saw from the beginning that Maggie is a strong person who is driven, creative, and purposed in her profession.  I think that Rachel did a fine job peeling away enough of Maggie to ‘see’ her cracks and flaws, too.

I will say that I took an instant dislike of Marco, though I do not think that was Rachel’s desire for the reader.  I think that Rachel hoped that the reader would see Marco as Maggie did. Maybe the reader would fall in love with him and embrace him as a strong, vital man.  I did not. When he chose Lena over Maggie his reasons were purely ego-centered. I saw that quickly and knew that he was a man that even Maggie wouldn’t be satisfied with for the ‘long-haul.’  I will say I was fond of Lena, but I do think that Rachel could have focused more on Lena’s selfless heart instead of her ‘porcelain’ looks.  Rachel’s description of Lena seemed to paint a picture of a fragile doll rather than the talented, giving woman she is.

Story wise, I would have liked to know a bit more about Griffin.    As for Daniel, I would have like to have seen Daniel’s epiphany and ‘healing’ explored a little more.

I will say that in the end, I was more than satisfied with how it ended!

I would definitely read a Rachel Linden book again, especially if she writes a series. That would definitely interest me. So though new on the scene, I’d encourage you to give Rachel Linden a look. I’ll be watching for her in the future!

*Blurb taken from description at

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