What a refreshing read A Broken Kind of Beautiful is! I’ve read Katie Ganshert’s other books and have enjoyed them thoroughly, but this one was by far my favorite.
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this story because it’s about a fashion model and I’m not really into that scene. But the book doesn’t put the main emphasis on Ivy’s career. It’s what’s going on in her heart that’s the primary focus. Ivy is pretty messed up but she can’t help it because she’s never had anyone to pour Truth into her. She may look successful to the outside world, but this high-fashion model’s life is anything but a success. Although she puts up a good front, you see through her and can’t help but feel for her because she’s had nothing but rejection her entire life from those who should show her love. Ivy is a very relatable character. She may be a super model, but she’s quite like many young single women out there today who are trying to find their places in this world.
Davis, Ivy’s new photographer, has a tangled web of self-condemnation, pride, pain and regret in his life too. Because of some things in his past, photography is the last thing he wants to do. But he’s asked by his aunt, a grieving widow, to do this one job for her and he can’t tell her no. I found myself, while reading this book, reminiscing on times when I’ve felt pressured to do something I didn’t want to do…and those things later turned out to be God moments. This is what happens to Davis. He reminds me of many young guys I’ve encountered who don’t really know how to express what’s going on in their hearts and he hides behind his work to keep himself from getting hurt or taking a risk.
Although there are some sparks physically between Ivy and Davis, their differences seem to make it an impossibility that anything could ever happen between them. And until the matters of their hearts are fleshed out, romance isn’t a top priority anyway.
Not only was the story quite refreshing and unusual, the writing was impeccable. I was stopped in my tracks more than once by certain phrases Katie used that just were so melodic and unusual. I wanted to underline them so that anyone I loan the book to won’t miss them. She has a way of describing things that makes you stop and reread the line again. I kept wondering how in the world she comes up with these phrases.
Examples: Sadness spread its fingers and lay a heavy hand over his chest.
Something broken flickered in her eyes but disappeared before the lethargic shutter in his mind could capture it.
Katie has done a fine job with this story. I highly recommend this book!
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Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.