“Scars remind us of both pain and mercy.”
Owen’s words to his daughter Phebe Ann become the comforting message she can pass along to her own daughter in hard times. As we finish up the last section of The Voice of Melody, we see the ways these words have been true in Owen’s life as well as Annie’s.
I can’t imagine what it was like for Owen to return that last time in 1840, as we read about at the start of chapter thirteen. He has lost two wives to childbirth complications and one to infidelity. His daughter married while he was away, life has continued to move on, and I imagine his heart was torn between the pull of the sea and his love for his family.
Owen had to grow on me, but as I read through these last chapters I think I sensed a bit more deeply the tension he felt. We feel it too, don’t we? Aging parents in our passport country and the spiritual and physical darkness around us. The education needs of our children, the wear and tear on our bodies because of extreme heat or cold. Calling, loyalty, obedience, thriving. All of these factors can weigh heavy as we try to find balance and love God and follow Him.
I also think my compassion grew along with Annie as she learned more about what happened to her father when the whale attack destroyed his ship. Her understanding of those experiences gave her insight as she watched Owen’s health deteriorate and his need for financial and provisional security grow. Our experiences mark us, in profound and also mundane ways.
As you reflect on these final chapters of The Voice of Melody, what is lingering in your heart and mind? Do you have a favorite character in the book? Or a favorite scene? I’d love to know what you thought about the book overall!
I also want to leave you with a few final thoughts from Kaylene, about her hope for the book.
I hope that my readers will be able to experience the life, emotions, and thoughts of my characters in a very personal way. That is why I chose to write it in first person present tense voice. Someone asked me, while critiquing my draft, what the point of the story was and why I wasn’t including more intense action, angst, and drama to make my readers stay engaged. I just thought, “Real life can be enough of a struggle and contain enough drama for most people…do they really need any more?” But such has our fast and furious entertainment culture become for us in the modern age… So, I hope that my readers will find peace in the sweet moments of the story, relatable connection and healing in the harder moments, and hope in the overcoming moments.
I also hope that readers will gain a brief education about a part of American history most people know so little about today, and I hope to clear up misconceptions and historical inaccuracies set forth in such sources as the inspiring movie I watched.
Finally, I hope that I have given some amazing women from history an accurate representation as I aimed to let them “speak” to us in our time and space. And, through that, I hope readers will see that some elements of faith and family are timeless and still 100% applicable for us today. I hope God’s heart will touch the heart of my readers through this book.
Kaylene, thank you for taking the time to interact with us as we read The Voice of Melody this month! And thank you to each one who has commented and shared your thoughts. I love getting to read in community with you!
In February we will be reading Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman. Here’s a short summary of the book:
Gladys Aylward left her home in England to answer God’s call to take the message of the gospel to China. With the Sino-Japanese War waging around her, she struggled to bring the basics of life and the fullness of God to orphaned children. Time after time, God triumphed over impossible situations, and drew people to Himself. The Little Woman tells the story of one woman’s determination to serve God at any cost. With God all things are possible! (From Amazon)
Here’s the schedule for Gladys Aylward:
February 2: Ch 1-4
February 9: Ch 5-9
February 16: Ch 10-13
February 23: Ch 14-18