Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer coauthored It Happens Every Spring, the first of a series, in order to illustrate through fiction some of Chapman’s teachings about dealing with seasons of marriage. I don’t think I have read any of Chapman’s books, but I have enjoyed several of Palmer’s.
The group of ladies in different stages of marriage meet in the “Just As I Am” beauty salon (though I love the truth of the song by the same name, I thought it was kind of ironic for the name of a place where people go to change something about themselves) which also has a tea room where the ladies chat while waiting for their appointments. Though we see glimpses into all of the marriages, the main focus of this book is on Brenda and Steve, a middle-aged couple whose children are grown and gone, one to the mission field and two to college. Brenda’s dreams of spending their empty nest years doing things together are dimmed when Steve finds a second wind in a new career and is gone from the house most of the time, even taking clients out to eat most evenings a week. They both know that they have problems, but they both withdraw and inwardly blame the other, until the resulting vulnerability of Brenda brings the marriage to a crisis.
I thought the subject was handled well and the changes in point of view illustrated how each other’s behavior looked and was interpreted by the other. The conflicts and feelings were realistically expressed and handled. The other ladies show a great range in ages and personalities as well as seasons in relationships. Even though in some places it seemed obvious that the plot was fitted around Chapman’s teaching points, overall if flowed well and the book was a good read. I am looking forward to the next in the series.
This book review is being linked to Semicolon’s Saturday Review of Books.