The Sunflower

The Sunflower
Richard Paul Evans
Adult Fiction

This past summer, my sister and I helped our mother clean out her bookshelves and came across the complete collection of Richard Paul Evan's works.  When I emphatically suggested we send the books off to Goodwill, my sister and mother both asked, "Why? They are wonderful stories! You will really like them!"  Having not ever had the desire to read one of his books, I turned them down.  Fortunately, my sister picked out "The Sunflower" and suggested I read this one.  With the promise, "Really, this one is good, you will like it!"  Of course she was right, and I did like it, except for one small detail.

Christine Hollister had everything perfectly worked out, that is until her fiance backed out of their wedding only a week before they were to say their vows.  With little motivation left, she allowed herself to be talked into a volunteer humanitarian trip to Peru.  The trip is not a vacation, but an opportunity to work in an orphanage called The Sunflower.  Upon her arrival in the foreign land,  she meets American, Paul Cook, the handsome doctor who left the U.S. after being blamed for a series of tragic deaths in the emergency room.  The two enjoy a connection, but must face the realization that Peru and the United States are two totally different worlds, that neither wants to give up. 

I did really enjoy the book, although I am sure that it is not going to be on the recommended reading list for the Peace Corps...let me explain. Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to a small island in Indonesia with a humanitarian expedition.  While there, we worked with medical professionals, including doctors and dentists, helping small communities with basic needs.  We also devoted a large amount of time (and work) to building a water cistern which would carry fresh drinking water to the small village.  With my first hand knowledge, I can easily say that Christine had quite the posh trip!  Her brief experiences were nothing like the work trip I went on, and totally glazed over the obvious fact that in the middle of the jungle, it is quite difficult to put on makeup, 'run a brush through your hair', and look amazing as Christine did.  May I also mention, that I know what kind of shower facilities they had, and unless she was carrying a Costco size case of baby wipes at all times, she stunk!  I realize that the book is supposed to be a romance, and it was a good little story, I just had a hard time getting over the fact that there was no way it could have happened.  Of course, neither could half the books I recommend so obviously the problem is mine:)

Anyway, it was a good story, which I would recommend reading.  Just one hint, don't go and sign up for any Humanitarian Outreach Trips based on this book, because you will be cursing Richard Paul Evans the whole time.

Happy Reading
~Liz

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