Although this book is fiction, it is based on real life tragedies that have been experienced by close friends of the author, so the story is very real and very touching.
Not much makes me cry – hardship, cruelty, disaster or tragedy don’t really affect me, but this book brought tears to my eyes. Not from the tragedy, but from the kindness described that hinted at the gleaming of a better world. What a wonderful book, what a wonderful story! It really lifted my spirits, and gave me hope in the midst of the chaos of our world.
The book deals with a young mother, Shona, who loses her 9 year old son in a bicycle accident. Her world falls apart, and she withdraws to a quiet village, leaving even her husband behind, to try to get herself together again. The story details her road of discovery and recovery as she perceives the tender love of God as it shines through the common, struggling, kind people around her.
The author herself is a very caring person: although she has perfect hearing, she learnt sign language, and for many years she did this sign language for the deaf people in her local church, so that they could also understand the sermon and what was happening in the life of the church.
The book is rich with descriptive passages of the countryside and people, that immerse you in the story and the surroundings to the extent that you wonder if you’ve perhaps been there before, since it makes such a vivid impression on the mind. I enjoyed letting my imagination gorge itself on the picture painting of the text, where pertinent focal points were masterfully plotted onto the canvas of my mind so that I felt I was in that room, or paddling in that stream. I experienced this type of immersion long before when I was in school reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte as a set book, and since then I’ve always enjoyed it.
I found the book encouraging, inspiring and even a little educational in the sense of learning how we should be living and treating each other. It showed how tragedy in people’s lives can eventually result in giving life to another person who is struggling, so that something absolutely wonderful comes out of something that is abysmally tragic. It is a tale of victory coming out of tribulation, made all the more poignant by the fact that this story is only really fiction because the names and places have been changed; the events described are actually a mosaic of several actual happenings.