Saturday, February 01, 2014

Review: The Sinner's Garden

The Sinner's Garden is a new novel by William Sirls.  I sat here for 20 minutes, trying to figure out how to explain the plot without giving too much away, and have opted to go with the back cover teaser:

"In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden … 
Andy Kemp’s young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger. 
As Andy’s mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy’s pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God. 
Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store. 
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive “Summer Santa,” Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill. 
Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty."

I wasn't sure I would enjoy The Sinner's Garden.  I thought it might be too sad or hokey for my tastes.  However, I could not have been more wrong.  I was concerned that I might be put off by the supernatural story line, it was well done and I felt it pointed the reader to the living God.  

The characters were well developed, and the twists and turns in the plot kept me engaged and wondering how it was going to end. While there is deep sadness and pain in the lives of the characters, there is also much joy and hope as the grace of God is recognized in their lives. 

 I was unable to put this novel down, reading it in just a couple of days.  And as tends to be the case with a great book, I was sad when I finished the book and wanted to read more about the characters and what has happened with their lives since the end of the novel.

This book is a real treat, and wonderful way to lose a weekend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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