My first 5 star review!
...and hopefully (?) not my last... LOL.
It's been a year and a half of blood, sweat, and tears (and let's not forget fear).
I was determined to finish my memoir before my 40th wedding anniversary on July 1. Mine is a different take on the usual 'cult' story. What if your group was branded a cult but from the inside you saw something different - a diamond in the rough rather than an insert derogatory word here - and you came away with a most treasured gift - a 40 year marriage to the man that was chosen for you.
What if? That is my story.
And here is my first review from Susan Griggs at Reedsy Discovery
In The Gosling Bride, Williams examines her deep-dive experience in the Unification Church after leaving her family and childhood hometown. Williams and her other team members lived a nomadic life in the 1970s, as the ‘boots on the ground’ 24/7 to fundraise and spread the word of the Church, often in depressed and distressed cities. The book culminates in her marriage to a man she just met at the largest mass wedding ever recorded. Handcuffed by her past experiences, Williams works to find her inner strength and confidence while balancing an unyielding faith in the face of those who believe she’s in a cult. This coming-of-age story explores how to overcome the insurmountable and stay and grow in faith when so much adversity faces you.
The Gosling Bride took me by surprise. The reader will discover that Williams is a great writer from the get-go. The story comes alive right out of the gate as Williams layers her beautiful use of analogies to connect the 1970s to current times. Williams’ writing style also allows readers to recognize where the author’s emotions lie immediately. Williams’ writing flow and pace are fast and fluid when writing about people she loves in the book and becomes short, clipped, and dark when describing haunting incidents and abusive characters. And stay tuned to the ending, where she tidies the story up with the most creative and poetic finish.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I learned about the Unification Church and how tumultuous it was to be a member in the 1970s. Williams does a great job relating this story to the readers, especially readers like me, who never lived during this time or have heard of the Unification Church. The book was full of surprises, some heartbreaking and troubling, around every corner and city Williams writes about. I also appreciated that Williams does not push her faith. In fact, the reader may not be sure whether she is still in the Unification Church or not. The book was a good time for me to reflect on keeping the faith and that ordinary people may just be saints in the making.