Wow. This book was long. And heartbreaking. And frustrating. But it was GOOD!
Let me say first that I really enjoy reading Francine Rivers. As a reader I appreciate that she really weaves you into the lives of the characters with such detail. Yes, this typically makes for longer books, but I always feel as though I know these people I am reading about. I can practically see their face, hear their voice. I miss them when the book is over! As a Christian, I also appreciate that she writes stories rooted in truth and faith without being so cliche and cheesy like a lot of other Christian authors do. Her characters struggle with real problems – they live a real faith. It’s so nice to read her books.
This one was especially difficult for me to read because it’s about a pastor and his family. I connected so much to that little dying church in Centerville, CA – to the struggles they faced while trying to invigorate a dying congregation. Fortunately for myself, I have not experienced much of the other turmoil Paul and Eunice endure throughout the rest of the book, but their stories serve as a great warning to those of us called to the task of shepherding God’s people.
This was a very emotional read for me. Maybe it wouldn’t be for people who are not married to clergy as I am. At times during this book, the words “ministry” and “church” starting sounding like curse words!
I would recommend this book (and any Francine Rivers book) to anyone – even those who are not strong in their faith. I would hesitate to recommend this to unbelievers. Rivers is not preachy in any way, but there is quite a bit of talk about what it means to be a believer. I’m not sure how well that would be received by those outside of the faith. I suppose it depends on the person!