Author: Suzanne Field
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8970-4

Don’t you see? That’s letting a wooden table haunt you like it haunted your mother. Right now it is ugly, covered over by your mother’s agony. But underneath, judging by what I saw, there lies a piece of beautiful, redeemable work,” Saffee is told in Suzanne Fields’s novel, The Painted Table.

At three hundred and twenty pages, this paperback tome with no profanity, overtly sexual scenes, or extreme violence is targeted toward readers who like stories of love, acceptance, and redemption. With Christian brush strokes creating a portrait of a family dealing with mental illness, it is about over-coming fear, circumventing seclusion, and dealing with insecurity amongst a tragic upbringing.

With all her heart, Saffee prays she is not like her mother. Brought up in a dysfunctional family by a mother whose emotionally unstable parent died giving birth, Saffee has learned shame, solitude, and shyness trying to survive her lonely childhood.

An obsessed fixation by the women in several generations, a one-of-a-kind large carved Norwegian table holds memories of blessings verses curses, love verses hatred, and insanity verses dealing with loved ones’ illnesses. 

Made in Norway in the mid-eighteen hundreds, the table is given to Klute Kirkenbourg and his wife, Clara, who live on a prairie farm in North Dakota raising a large family. When Clara dies from birthing complications, the children try to help their father maintain the farm. Young seven year old Joann, the awkward sister who keeps to herself, finds both solace and fear hiding under the old table.

As Joann matures, marries, and has children of her own, she spins into a dark world of her own of rants, rages, and irresponsibility, focused on repeatedly painting over the table, trying to cover up the imperfections of her past. 

Witnessing her mother’s mental demise, Saffee tries ardently to overcome not only her mother’s challenging obsessions, she fears she too will follow in her footsteps. Only by trusting God for her salvation, both spiritually and mentally, will she be able to escape her own tormented cocoon as she inherits the carved wooden memory.

Written in present tense, the tragic and tender tale brings tears, depression, and sorrow to readers relating to the story. Yet due to the honesty, hope, and God’s love, redemption and forgiveness strips away the pain of Saffee’s predicament. 

This book was furnished by Booksneeze in lieu of a review based on the reader’s opinion.

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