As I was reading this book I kept thinking "how am I going to describe this to my blog followers?" Honestly, I'm still not sure. There's so many things that happen that I want to tell you about, but I can't because I don't want to spoil it. There's lots of surprises and little twists throughout the book so I'm going to give you a basic breakdown of the characters as they are in the beginning and sort of give a description of the book through describing them.
Brooke and Alex- Brooke is a hardworking single mom, her son Alex hasn't been feeling well and Brooke just knows there's something wrong. Brooke and Alex live with Pastor Jim and his wife, Shirley.
Pastor Jim- Blind pastor of a small congregation of only about twenty.
Charlie- Pastor Jim's adult son, due to a complication at birth he has never spoke. Best friend of 5-year-old Alex.
Carla- Brooke's best friend trying to overcome her addiction to alcohol. Carla is haunted by her past.
Macey Lewis- A pediatric oncologist at the local hospital. She is one of the best and devoted to her job.
Kaitlyn- A nurse at the hospital and good friend of Macey.
Zach Norman- Conceited doctor at the hospital, ex-boyfriend of Kaitlyn, and friend of Macey.
Kenneth- A mysterious new carpenter in town, strange things often seen as miracles seem to happen around him.
What I really liked about this book is that this book focuses on multiple characters rather than just one. There's really no main character. However, where in some books having so many characters at the forefront of the story may seem confusing (at least to me, you guys know I'm easily confused) the author did a great job at highlighting the stories of each character, making them all seem like individuals (rather than variations of each other), and weaving their lives together nicely. The story line was very clear and well-written.
I really liked the mystery element surrounding the character of Kenneth, the carpenter. Who is Kenneth? I think it's obvious right off the bat that Kenneth is some divine force. In the author interview in the back of the book when asked, "Who is Kenneth?" William Sirls answered, "Kenneth is an instrument of God's glory. I've heard readers call him an angel, a prophet, Jesus, and even God himself. One of them is correct." Honestly, I never thought he was anything but Jesus until I read the interview. I can now see him in the role of all the others, but since his occupation was in the field of carpentry my mind went straight to Jesus. Whoever he is, the scenes with him truly are special.
The motto throughout this book is "only believe". Those two words pop up everywhere and Kenneth is constantly telling characters to "only believe" right up until the big miracle at the end. There's lots of miracles in this book, but the end is amazing. I just love how everything is wrapped up so nicely. The author seemed to not leave any detail out that I can think of. Even a minor character is caught up with in the end and I'm curious to know if we will see this story continued through him. William Sirls storytelling is both simple and intricate all at the same time. His storytelling is very thorough without being overwhelming, wordy, or burdensome.
I can honestly say that the only downfall to this book is that it was hard to read at times for me personally. As a mother of a five-year-old little boy, the last quarter of the book pertaining to Alex was extremely difficult emotionally. This is the first book I've read in a long time that was a true tearjerker. Often when I'm reading a book I think, "oh, that's sad" but in this book I felt sad. There's a lot of emotional ups and downs in the book. Both amazing things and upsetting things happen. I love that the characters are so human in dealing with these things.
To wrap it up- because I can't talk anymore without giving all the wonderful surprises found in this book away, I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. As someone who usually sticks to cheery Christian romances, I wasn't sure how much I'd like this book. It's not a romance, but I found that a bit of a relief. At times it was a struggle because some of the content is heavy, but it was very true-to-life and I feel like sad and/or challenging books really help me grow. When I think back, some of my all-time favorite books were emotionally heavy. We The Living by Ayn Rand, She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath- just to name a few.
You know, it's really almost like Heavenly Father is placing these books in my life for a reason. This is the second book that by sheer luck I've been asked to read for review that I wouldn't have picked up on my own. The first was Daughter of Jerusalem by Joan Wolf and now this one. I'm really fortunate to have had the random opportunities to read these books. I hope that others will be as blessed by these stories as me.
I have five SIGNED(!!) paperback copies of The Reason to give away. What makes this giveaway so special is that the books will actually be sent to you directly from the author and of course, he's so kindly offered to sign them. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and the winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.