Sunday, December 11, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm - Michele Phoenix

"of stillness and storm" by Michele Phoenix is, in her own words, "My hope is that this novel will be a cautionary tale..."

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry. (Thomas Nelson product description)

I have mixed feelings on this book. Phoenix did bring more layers to characters as the story enfolded, although my frustration with each also increased as I read. The story is thought-provoking, especially for families who feel the call to become missionaries, so mission accomplished as far as what Phoenix hoped to convey. Perhaps the clearer vision of the reader is what leads to my frustration with the book. I can't fault her for creating characters I don't particularly like, but I grew more annoyed rather than more empathetic. This is definitely not a "happily ever after" fairy tale, which is not a requirement for my enjoyment of a story, but I would have liked to have felt a bit more hope for the characters.

The writing itself is very good, and the story flows well and gains momentum toward a suspected conclusion. I confess, I wasn't sure HOW the author would arrive there, so I will not say predictable, but it was a conclusion that left me feeling empty. I can't judge the book based solely on my opinion of the characters, but neither can I say I loved the book. However, it is an interesting study of missionary life from a viewpoint one may not have fully considered. I have an opinion, but each person should be free to draw their own.

Thanks to Handlebar Marketing for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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