The Writing Desk tells two unique, but oddly connected tales – one of Tenley Roth, an award-winning author from modern-day New York, and one of Birdie Shehorn, a young woman from the Gilded Age who dreams of becoming a published author.
The story starts with Tenley, who gets a call from her estranged mother, Blanche, requesting she pay a visit. Leaving New York for Florida, Tenley is left to face her sick mother, the fast approaching deadline of her second book, and an unanswered proposal.
During her stay, she discovers a desk. Quickly she grows fond of it. This discovery marks the beginning of her journey to finding true love and spiritual awakening. Soon she meets Jonas Sullivan, a handsome furniture designer who had already purchased the desk, but after long protest, handed over the desk’s rights to her. With his help, in its drawer she finds Birdie Shehorn’s manuscript, and in Jonas’s company, she finds unexpected friendship.
As the two women’s stories intercept, Birdie’s strong character is revealed in her refusal to marry for money, but rather, love, despite the pressures that surrounded her in the aristocratic society she lived in. Despite being world’s apart, both Birdie and Tenley, in their troubles, learn the true meaning of love and the beauty of growing spiritually.
Two recurrent themes in this book are love and forgiveness. While I feel Tenley’s love story was a little rushed, I enjoyed seeing all the characters contribute to her growth. Her story beautifully depicts how through love, forgiveness and spiritual maturity, broken relationships can be mended. Birdie’s story painted a wonderful, realistic picture of what true love looked like in an aristocratic society.
With a fair amount of romance and drama, the author seems to cater particularly to a young female audience, though I find this book also to be suitable for more mature audiences. While this is a Christian fiction book, it does appear to be tailored to fit the mainstream market, though it does not to abandon its title altogether.
Most references to sex/sexual desire are subtle and not taken too far, though there are moments when tension builds. Overall the book did contain a biblical message of love and forgiveness, but was not as spiritually-focused as I originally expected.
Birdie’s story sold this book for me, but I do believe it is Tenley’s story that ties it all together. In the end, it all boils down to the reader’s taste.
-A big thank you to NetGalley & Thomas Nelson for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck