Legal secretary by day, romance novelist by night, Amy Clarke lives with a precious secret. For years, she has traveled to a holy place in her dreams—a sublime place she calls the Living Room. When she awakes, her faith and energy are supernaturally restored. And when she dreams, she receives vibrant inspiration for her novels.
As she begins to write her third book, the nature of her dreams shifts. Gone are the literary signposts. Instead, her dreams are studded with scenes that foreshadow real life. Before long, the scenes begin to spill over into her waking hours too.
As Amy becomes entangled in a high stakes case at work, her visions take on a dark hue—implicating someone dear to her, causing her to question everything. And convincing her to trust someone with his own shadowy secrets.
Things are not always what they seem. But as fiction, dreams, and real life begin to overlap, Amy must stop dreaming and act to prevent tragedy.
Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.
Robert Whitlow is a huge favorite with my book club. Without reservation, I recommended his latest book, The Living Room, to both of my groups. Both are scheduled to discuss it in the coming days. I have already had mixed reviews. One person who had never read anything by Whitlow said it was great. Another said if this had been the first book she had read by him, she would never have picked up another. Hmm. This should prove to be a lively discussion!
The Living Room revolves around wife, mother, and inspirational romance novelist, Amy Clarke. She has always had dreams that led her into the divine, but has kept them secret from everyone except her immediate family. Her books were inspired by her time spent in her dream state. But the dreams take on a different meaning when things she glimpses start to come true. Compelled to share the warnings that accompany the images, she is met with both disbelief and gratitude. Never one to seek the limelight, Amy is uncomfortably thrust into the midst of some bewildering circumstances.
First off, I loved the premise of this story. The fact that God can speak to us in dreams and visions, while often dismissed, is true. Amy’s compulsion to share goes against her nature, and I found that to be a powerful image of God’s work through His people. However, the characters fell flat for me. Many of the characters had no real depth and seemed very one-dimensional. The Living Room was also a slow-moving novel. I kept waiting for some action. It finally occurred during the last pages and that seemed rushed. Members of my groups have said it was weird and not his best. My husband who always grabs Whitlow’s books as soon as they enter the house said that the actions of the characters were unbelievable. Red flags that would alert most parents were disregarded by Amy and her husband.
So, I will not be able to recommend The Living Room. Have you read it? If so, please leave your comments so I can share with my groups.
(I purchased The Living Room. All opinions are mine and my friends alone.)