Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
From The Mind of Mo
Wow…just…wow…I honestly wasn’t sure I would be able to find the words to review this book. I didn’t think that anything I could say would possibly do it justice. This was one of those books that cannot be summed up with a simple star rating system.
This was more than just a story of a simple girl who falls for the town hero. This book was about appreciating beauty in all its forms, about how one event can change an entire town, about how even those who think they aren’t so special are capable of amazing things.
Amy did an amazing job with this book. She’s not afraid to tackle a difficult subject, and she’s able to do it in such a way where it doesn’t come across as exploitative or gratuitous.
While Ambrose is the quintessential “town hero”, star athlete, popular guy, adonis-like figure, he’s not “that guy”. He’s not the jerky jock, the player, the one who coasts through life on his looks and talent. He’s a genuinely good guy, and he has many layers, some only known to Fern.
Ambrose has held Fern’s heart since they were little children, and Ambrose helped Fern give a funeral to a spider. Fern may not have grown up as a “traditionally beautiful” person, but the love she has for those around her, and the beauty in her soul really come through, making her seem more angel than girl. She is a selfless and loving person, and her character was admirable.
Then we have Bailey. Oh, how I loved Bailey. Afflicted with a form of muscular dystrophy, Bailey knows that his time here is limited, much more limited than the rest of us. He’s determined to make the best out of the life that he has, and his strength in this book was inspirational.
When their small town is rocked by the events of 9/11, Ambrose and his friends enlist in the Army. The town is further devastated when Ambrose comes home. Alone. He’s not the Ambrose he once was, and he doesn’t know how he fits into the town of Hannah Lake anymore.
Their experiences after Ambrose’s return may seem of small measure at first glance, but you can see the life-altering moments in there.
To express some of my emotions in this book, please accept this horrific, grainy, MAKEUP-FREE, Kindle picture of me reading Making Faces.
While I want to go on and on about the events in this book, at the same time, I don’t really want to say much. This isn’t a book you read, this is a story that you experience. I don’t want to take anything away from you by recounting scenes and picking apart characters.
Making Faces is intense, emotional, lyrical, and thought-provoking. It touched me in so many ways, and it truly was my privilege to read this book.
He didn’t know how to make her understand that she was so much more than just pretty. So he leaned forward and pressed his mouth to hers. Very carefully. Not like the other night when he’d been scared and impulsive, and smacked her head against the wall in his attempt to kiss her. He kissed her now to tell her how he felt. He pulled away almost immediately, not giving himself a chance to linger and lose his head. He wanted to show her he valued her, not that he wanted to rip her clothes off. And he wasn’t sure when it came right down to it that she wanted to be kissed by an ugly SOB. She was the kind of girl that would kiss him because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. The thought filled him with despair.
She let out a frustrated sigh and sat up, running her hands through her hair. It flowed through her fingers and down her back, and he wished he could bury his own hands in it, bury his face in the heavy locks and breathe her in. But he’d obviously upset her.
“I’m sorry, Fern. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Why?” she snapped, startling him enough that he winced. “Why are you sorry?”
“Because you’re upset.”
“I’m upset because you pulled away! You’re so careful. And it’s frustrating!”
Ambrose was taken back by her honesty, and he smiled, instantly flattered. But the smile faded as he tried to explain himself.
“You’re so small, Fern. Delicate. And all of this is new to you. I’m afraid I’m going to come on too strong. And if I break you or hurt you, I won’t survive that, Fern. I won’t survive it.” That thought was worse than walking away from her and he shuddered inwardly. He wouldn’t survive it. He had already hurt too many. Lost too many.
Fern knelt in front of him, and her chin wobbled and her eyes were wide with emotion. Her voice was adamant as she held his face between her hands, and when he tried to pull away so she wouldn’t feel his scars, she hung on, forcing his gaze.
“Ambrose Young! I have waited my whole life for you to want me. If you don’t hold me tight I won’t believe you mean it, and that’s worse than never being held at all. You better make me believe you mean it, Ambrose, or you will most definitely break me.”
“I don’t want to hurt you, Fern,” he whispered hoarsely.
“Then don’t,” she whispered back, trusting him. But there were lots of ways to cause pain. And Ambrose knew he was capable of hurting her in a thousand ways.
Ambrose stopped trying to pull his face away, surrendering to the way it felt to be touched. He hadn’t allowed anyone to touch him for a long time. Her hands were small, like the rest of her, but the emotions they stirred in him were enormous, gigantic, all-consuming. She made him shake, made him quake inside, vibrate like the tracks under an on-coming train.
Her hands left his face and traveled down the sides of his neck. One side smooth, the other riddled with divots and scars and rippled where the skin had been damaged. She didn’t pull away, but felt each mark, memorized each wound. And then she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his neck, just below his jaw. And then again on the other side, on the side that bore no scars, letting him know that the kiss wasn’t about sympathy but desire. It was a caress. And his control broke.
Meet Amy Harmon
Amy Harmon knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story.
Amy Harmon has been a motivational speaker, a grade school teacher, a junior high teacher, a home school mom, and a member of the Grammy Award winning Saints Unified Voices Choir, directed by Gladys Knight. She released a Christian Blues CD in 2007 called “What I Know” – also available on Amazon and wherever digital music is sold. She has written five novels, Running Barefoot, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue and coming October 20, Making Faces.