As an author, you wonder if people will "get" your book. My another of my sisters just read it, and it was amazing how she understood exactly the truths I was trying to portray. WOW! Here are her feelings about it:
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. I finally paid all the bills and caught up on my correspondance and unpacked from all of our travels, and then stole a rainy day for myself while the children alternately played, read, and tortured eachother while I thoroughly enjoyed lapping up lipstick wars. I sat on the couch and told Ainsley how to make Shepherd's Pie, because I only had three more chapters before Carlos would be home for dinner. It was such a treat!
I knew from our conversations about it that there would be the theme about faces and fronts that we put up, especially woman to woman. You had also told me how there were the two different type of mother characters and how they would help eachother's children. I enjoyed all of those themes. Then I felt like it was a bonus for me to see the role that the spirit played, almost like one of the characters in the book, to help make sense of their assigned sisterhood. I liked how the spirit spoke in different ways to the different characters and sometimes through the different characters even when they were flawed and even when they sometimes misread the implications.
I thought that the title names were so clever! Sometimes they were a pun, sometimes a twist or a tease -- like a riddle that you'd figure out at the end of the chapter. If they ever turn Lipstick Wars into a movie, they should put at least some of those chapter headings up on the screen, kind of like in A Room with a View.
I felt like Marlene was still a little bit of a mystery to me, maybe I just wanted her to have a more redeeming motivation than guilt, but I really liked the development of Kimberly. If you continue the series, is Cath sort of the constant thread? The reader does definitely care about her and her family.
I'm glad that Eden was young, because it made sense that she had a hard time seeing past her own troubles. However, it would be the most frightening thing to be in her position. She would be walking around with a sick fear in her gut all the time, and her insecurities were even more developed because of her background. The chapter when she felt all alone, I thought was really effective. It's nice to realize in the end that Heavenly Father didn't only just send Roy to her -- he also sent Isa, and her visiting teachers,...
The other part I liked was when Eden realized that the message of the painting applied to herself. I think that it helps the reader to realize that the message of the paintings was not just to tell Isa's story. And I liked the moment when she sees the unfinished painting, and she realizes the power of her choice.
I'm glad that she does choose to forgive Kimberly even though she never learns of Kimberly's innocence. And then after her conversation with Kimberly...it's so true that we often never know if what we have said, even when we feel totally guided to say it, has had any effect at all. My husband feels that all the time as bishop.
Thanks for such a good read. The nerd party was hilarious. I'm encouraged to try to break down the walls of some of my visiting teaching sisters. Two of them suffer from depression, sometimes pretty debilitating, and yet they always put on their "lipstick" whenever my companion and I visit. Maybe I should try hopping in their beds. Wish me luck.