Thursday, November 25, 2010

Silver Birches, by Adrian Plass

Silver Birches: A NovelStill reeling from the death of his wife Jessica, the last thing David feels like doing is spending a weekend with old youth group members getting reacquainted.  However, his old friend Angela was given something by Jessica before she died, and the only way for David to get it from her is to attend a weekend retreat at her country home with several members of his childhood youth group.  Honesty, humility, and raw human emotion result.

I thought this was a beautiful story.  There is something quite lovely and enchanting about the character of David, and watching him struggle with faith and grief, alternately and simultaneously. I thought the characters in general were incredibly well developed, and could actually see the story playing out in my mind like a movie.  My only wish is that we had learned a bit more about Jessica, and were able to feel more connected to her as a character, instead of a memory.

The book is set in England, and there is something delightfully British about it.  It has a tone different from American books.  The story is poignant and emotional, making one want to smile and weep all at the same time. This book evoked a strong emotional reaction from me.

I loved that this book openly discusses faith, with many of the characters having crises involving faith or religious issues, yet the book never feels preachy or presumptuous.  It is a note we as Christians should take.  I find this book to be appropriate for a wide variety of audience.  It may be a little deep for young adult readers, but certainly still appropriate content wise.

A review copy of this book was provided courtesy of the Christian Review of Books.