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.
My rating: 5 GLITTERING STARS
I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of books and several of them have a special place in my heart. But Making Faces is a whole new different story. Making Faces is the kind of book that leaves you speechless because of its beauty. I was very late to the party on this one, but believe me when I tell you that everyone should read it. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives…Everyone.
Making Faces ended up on my Books To Preserve For Future Readers list (that you can view here) because it’s that special. It’s a novel I’d want my children to read someday. Yes, because you draw so many life lessons from it, lessons to cherish and to hand down.
Fern and Ambrose — two people that, at first glance, seem to be polar opposites but that have more in common than anyone thinks. Fern is a girl who was plane and not particularly beautiful during her teenage years, but now she’s blossomed into a stunning woman. Her beauty isn’t just physical, though. What makes her beautiful is her inner self. She’s a wonderful soul who cares deeply about those in need and takes care of them. She gives others hope even in the most desperate moments and she loves with all her heart. Ambrose is one of the most handsome guys that have ever graced the Earth and he’s always been that way. A wrestler, a champion, a guy everyone looks up to. Until he’s not anymore…
I won’t say much about the plot, because I’d end up spoiling the book and I want you to savor it with all its surprises, unexpected events, emotional scenes and heart melting moments. Fern and Ambrose’s relationship is so beautiful, so exceptional that you’ll be thinking about it for a long, long time. I’m using the word “beautiful” a lot in this review and not by chance. Because the key word of this book is “beauty”. It’s about what true beauty is. Beauty is not measured on whether we’re brunettes, blondes, on whether we have blue or brown eyes. Beauty is how we are within, it is in the soul. And these characters prove it over and over again. The scenes between Ambrose and Fern warmed my heart and made me cry happy tears. There are no graphic love scenes but every single moment they share convey so much more emotion than any love scene would do.
“True beauty, the kind that doesn’t fade or wash off, takes time. It takes pressure. It takes incredible endurance. It is the slow drip that makes the stalactite, the shaking of the Earth that creates mountains, the constant pounding of the waves that breaks up the rocks and smooths the rough edges.” -Making Faces
And then there’s Bailey…I have no other words to describe this fantastic character apart from HERO. In shouty capitals. I’ve never encountered such a memorable character in books and that says a lot. He suffers from a serious disease but in spite of that he shows through his actions and words how to appreciate life in its every facet, the good and the bad.
“We believe that there are lessons in loss, power in love, and that we have within us the potential for a beauty so magnificent that our bodies can’t contain it.” – Making Faces
For those who are afraid of the angst, I’ll say that this book is a bit angsty but not so much. There are some scenes that will bring tears to your eyes, but it’s all worth it, especially because it all leads to an amazing ending. Yes, it’s a HEA. 🙂
And another thing. Pay attention to the titles while reading…It’s like a puzzle where all the pieces fall into place in the end. It was very clever of Amy Harmon and when I got what the titles really were I had goosebumps all over my skin…
This book is one of my Top Recommendations this year and I won’t stop recommending it for a long time to come.