Provenance (Book Review)

At a Glance…

  • Author: Carla Laureano
  • Publisher: Tyndale House
  • On-Sale Date: 8/3/2021
  • Synopsis: After inheriting her grandmother’s sizable estate, Kendall Green, who grew up in foster care, visits Colorado to claim the property. Despite being an interior designer who specializes in restoration, Kendall finds herself unprepared to come to terms with her own provenance.
  • Recommendation: Reader’s Discretion; See Content Advisory & Overall Impression

Note: I received a complimentary eARC of the novel through NetGalley and Tyndale House, in exchange for an honest review.

What I Liked

  • Gabe, who Kendall meets shortly after coming to town, is a Christian, and I really like that Gabe’s faith plays an important role in the plot, as well as in his day-to-day decisions and relationships.
  • Thematically, I liked the discussion of spiritual adoption, paired with earthly adoption. For me, this provided fresh insight into the Scripture on adoption. Plus, the commentary on forgiveness is spot on.
  • Laureano has a knack for concisely illustrating and articulating common human experiences.
  • The novel is powerful! Laureano crafts a believable backstory for Kendall, and her characterization is also believable. As a result, I has some definite tear-jerker experiences as I walked with Kendall on her journey.
  • I enjoyed the cast of characters and their relationships, within the small town. For example, most of the townsfolk stop at the coffee shop every morning to start their day and Gabe’s grandpa bakes desserts and treats for the local diner, as well as the cafe. And, the market doubles as a pizza parlor. (Okay, maybe I actually liked the small town food. Is that a thing?)
  • The mystery element was well-executed. Kendall begins the story knowing close to nothing about her family of origin, and spends the novel learning her own story. I would have liked to have solved the mystery even earlier, but I think that’s a good thing, in the sense that it unraveled over time.
  • In terms of the romance, I appreciated that the plot wasn’t as straightforward as romances often are. For example, both characters acknowledge that they have not known each other very long. There was another component I really liked, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Content Concerns

  • There is one somewhat intense/ graphic kissing scene. However, part of the graphicness is due to Kendall wondering if it will “lead” anywhere.
  • There are references to a homosexual character, as well as a comment (made by a non-Christian) to the effect that the character previously repressed his “true” identity.

Overall Impression

This is one of those books that I think I would recommend by comparison. As far as Christian books go, it was just a little more graphic than I’d have liked (I don’t think most people would take issue with it)—but it makes sense due to the character’s perspective. With that said, it’s not my first choice as a Christian book, but I would feel very comfortable recommending this title over a non-Christian book. And, I think it can definitely appeal to non-Christian readers. (I will add a quick note that I don’t agree with 100% of the ideas presented).

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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