Bloom by Cathy Jackson
My name is Phoenix Swartz. I am trapped in a nightmare marriage of fear and abuse and cannot escape my tyrant husband. Charles Swartz was abusive and demanding. He ruled my life with a leather strap and harsh words. The physical and mental abuse I suffered at his hands made me hate and fear him.
Death would be the only thing that could release me from our marriage.
I’ve met a man named John Westerling. He is not what I’ve learned to expect from men. He is caring, thoughtful, encouraging, and dotes on his only daughter. He treats me as his equal and his encouragement builds me up. His displays of patience and love to everyone around draws my heart to him.
Can the love we are finding together stand against a woman from his past who threatens to tear us apart and destroy all that we are working to achieve? Will I be able to trust again after being married to a tyrant?
I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Bloom. Sometimes I prefer going into a book completely blind without reading the blurb or reviews so I have no predetermined notions about the story. The beginning of the story took me by complete surprise. What appeared to start as a happy beginning, turned very dark and violent quickly.
Phoenix Swartz, thinking she had met the man of her dreams finds herself married to a monster. He is immediately demanding, domineering and cruel. Her life has taken a turn she didn’t expect and she has no clue on how to extract herself from her situation.
—–> I want to mention that I was confused by a couple of sentences that seemed to contradict one another near the beginning of the book.
Charles was average height and intelligent. He is strong and resourceful.
Charles was the most polite, handsome, most intelligent man I ever knew.
Were these observations of before and after she married? Or before and after she met John? This threw me off when trying to understand Phoenix’s character. She succumbed to her situation so quickly that it seemed as though she had no life or friends prior to meeting Charles whom she could ask for help to escape her abusive marriage.
With that being said, this book has a very uplifting message. That message is there are good people in this world who want nothing more than to help others and live a godly life. John Westerling was that kind of person. A loving father, a good Samaritan, a servant leader. He had strong beliefs and values. He was an unconventional hero in the fact that he wasn’t quick to move faster than his beliefs allowed him. I liked his character, a lot.
When he happens upon Phoenix in her yard struggling with a project and stops to help, their chance meeting sets her on a new course of hope.
Please understand that while I had a few issues with the way the book was written, I did enjoy the story overall and kept reading as Cathy had me hooked. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.
My favorite thing about the book was Anna. John’s daughter was such a beautiful and precocious child. She very intuitively knew that Phoenix needed reassurance that things would be okay and that she and her father would be Phoenix’s friends. She taught Phoenix as much about life and love as Phoenix taught her about other things.
While the dialog seemed overly formal for the relationship Phoenix and John had, (she often called him John Westerling, when just calling him John would’ve been more natural) and the lack of contractions during many of their conversations, the story was strong enough to hold my interest.
Cathy’s story show that there is life after becoming involved with the wrong person. How faith in god and people can help change a bad situation into a better one and that if you hold your beliefs strong, you can overcome just about anything. I liked the message and hope that Cathy’s next book has an equally positive tone.
Cathy Jackson has written 12 books so far. She has published one and the next one is coming out this fall.
She graduated from McLeansboro High School in 1993 and started Rend Lake College, where she met her husband, Matthew Jackson. They got married in 1996 and have 4 children. In addition to writing full time, Cathy is the Song Leader and the 6th – 8th grade Sunday School Teacher at First Baptist Church in Bluford, IL.