This book sat on my book shelf for several months. A friend, who I should have trusted, loaned it to me, but the cover looked like a Christian romance novel. The blurb on the back made it sound like a Christian romance novel. I put of reading it for a long time.
One day, bored with my book selection and with out the energy to work on my own story, I picked up this book. It grabbed me from the opening sentence. And it is not a Christian romance novel. Not at all.
It’s hard to write a review for this book.
It’s so studded with beautiful hidden gems. I won’t say it’s theologically sound. There were moments when I wanted to yell about the simplicity of God and such, but there was a great human beauty and some deep theological truths shown through suffering.
The first two books were written with the current Melissa being told the stories passed from Melissa to Melissa generation after generation. Several reviewers didn’t seem to enjoy that element of the story, but oral storytelling is an impressive art and it was enjoyable to see it showcased. The third book dropped Melissa and her mother completely. While the story lost none of it’s power, I missed that element.
As I neared the end of this book, I stopped reading it. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it. Quite the opposite. It was because I knew it would be painful to compete it. I wasn’t wrong. Lots of tears.
The only book I can think of to compare this one to is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. They both have a beautiful way with words, description, and capture the human spirit.
The monastic setting of the story was far more enjoyable than I suspected lending the book an otherworldly feel without becoming a fantasy novel. The friendship, heartache, longing, sufferings, and failings of these men drives the story forward in a soft poetic beauty that is both rending and calming.
I can’t recommend this book enough. Ignore the cover and the synopsis. They have almost nothing to do with the actual story.
Read this book and in many ways your soul will be blessed and fed.
(If you click on the link it will take you to amazon. If you purchase the book from there I get a small kick-back. So thanks!)