Luci Kinsinger, the author of Turtle Heart, is a friend of mine. She didn’t need to twist my arm to have me write this review. I have always enjoyed Luci’s writing. It is clear and refreshing – and sometimes raising-eyebrows-honest.
Turtle Heart is the true story of a friendship that begins when Luci meets Charlene in her transport job. They develop a friendship that pulls and strains at authenticity, just like the making of taffy. Pulled in one direction and another, it is a relationship fraught with neediness and being needed. Luci, the quiet, shy, pretty, young Mennonite girl learns to know Char, whose childhood reeks of abuse, anger, hatred, and murder. Charlene’s biology includes parental Dutch blood and Ojibwe and French Canadian on her maternal side while Luci hails from German Swiss Anabaptist stock. They are so alike – and so different.
Trying to mix their past and present existences fluctuates between admiration and anger, and stifling or freed. What Luci feels and thinks and the words that come out of her mouth are typical of what anyone can feel or think, except that she’s a Christian, and a Mennonite. Luci’s bold words will sometimes shock you, and other times leave you stymied.
A growing up and an awakening takes place inside Luci as she gives and learns to hold back, as she encounters words and ideas in a world of which she is unfamiliar and, sometimes, uncomfortable. While Luci’s faith grows up Char, Char’s faith challenges Luci. Luci presses on because she is needed – and sometimes needs to be needed. The pulling of maple sugar continues with friction and soothing. In time, the two blend their hearts in a friendship that is beautiful, sweet, firm, and sticky – like authentic taffy.
Turtle Heart will make you ponder your past prejudices and present biases. You will search your heart and learn about friendships that are difficult, but real. If you are honest, you will find yourself growing up into authenticity as you watch Luci do the same.
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Photo Credit: Pixabay.com