Book review: 'Discovering Peace' is a pretty predictable story of adoption

Published: Sunday, May 18 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

"Discovering Peace" is by Jennifer Ann Holt. (Cedar Fort Publishing & Media)

"DISCOVERING PEACE," by Jennifer Ann Holt, Bonneville Books, $15.99, 227 pages (f)

"Discovering Peace" by Jennifer Ann Holt is about different women and their emotional choices related to adoption as one gives up a baby, another gets her baby and launches an effort to adopt again.

It's clearly meant to be an enlightning, nice book with the story coming from the birth mother's perspective, the potential birth mother's life and the couple adopting a new baby.

The problem is that it's overly simplistic. The characters are pretty one-dimensional and the events are drawn on cliché Mormon moments like Brigham Young University football games and temple weddings without enlightenment.

Ally is a teenager and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who gives up her baby girl named Hope and is, understandably, trying to deal with some serious guilt and questions about her worthiness. She has some regrets but heads off to college without much in her way.

Jennifer Ann Holt wrote Jennifer Ann Holt wrote "Discovering Peace." (Cedar Fort Publishing & Media)

She doesn't tell the father of her child about their little girl until well after the adoption has moved forward, which would probably create some legal problems in today's world.

And his reaction — actually the reactions of most of the men involved in this story — is so cold and irresponsible that it's hard to buy, or are all young men jerks?

Then, when the boyfriend takes off without a look backward after he finds out about the child, it's again pretty hard to believe.

These are modern men who wouldn't be so easily put off by something that's much more common today than in the Victorian era.

Then Ally goes to Brigham Young University and eventually meets another guy she'd like to have in her life. He's hesitant because she's hesitant, but they like each other.

There is a genuine act of true kindness tucked in after LDS couple Olivia and Michael, who adopted Hope and took her to the temple to be sealed to them, are disappointed on their journey to adopt another baby from Shanelle and then from Nicole, and there's some gospel discussions when Ally finally meets a stand-up guy.

But generally this book states the obvious and misses good opportunities to share some honest, touching human emotion.

It's a good starter book for anyone interested in open adoption and the road ahead for people trying to adopt, but there's potential here for so much more reward.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com. Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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