Hollie and Goodwin Macbreeze travel to the Isle of Estillyen for inspiration and refreshment. Hollie has recently found out she has polycystic kidney disease and wants to think about it and life. Creative monks on the island stage dramatic readings based on biblical stories. Hollie looks forward to the time of reflection, thinking deeply about the biblical events.
Goodwin has another goal. As a child he had sketched a cottage on Estillyn his grandfather used to visit. Now that his grandfather has passed away, Goodwin wants to find the cottage and understand his attraction to it.
What they find on Estillyen is more than they could have ever imagined. Goodwin meets the owner of the cottage, a recluse. Oban Ironbout is a man deeply hurt. As Hollie describes her experience with Oban, “He didn't just speak sorrowful words, he became the words. He was Burden, the character true to form. The characters Misery, Bitterness, Defiance...” (116-7)
But God has plans for Oban Ironbout and those plans include Goodwin and Hollie.
This is a very interesting novel. It is hard to describe. It is a novel about words, about their meaning and influence. The monks on the island are very creative in their story telling, emphasizing the importance of words. The characters say lots of words. And Jefferson himself masterfully used words in the creation of this novel.
There are several stories going on at the same time in this novel. Hollie and Goodwin are trying to come to grips with their future. Oban has a past that has captured him and held him prisoner. And the monks, the monks want to bring people into a place where they can contemplate their faith in a community discussion setting.
This is the kind of book that you'll want to read over again, savoring the stories and the words that are used to create them. This is the kind of book you will want to read and then discuss with others, especially the stories the monks tell.
The only aspect of this book that makes it less than perfect, I think, is that it is very wordy. I know, it is a book about words, but there are times when a conversation just goes on and on. With the plot of the book as it is, I think a more concise book would have worked better.
William Jefferson helped to structure and implement global initiatives and programs for prominent organizations such as the American Bible Society, United Bible Societies, the International Bible Society (Biblica), and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He holds a master of theology degree in Theology and Media from the University of Edinburgh, and a master of arts degree in Communications from Wheaton Graduate School.
Go to http://www.estillyen.com/ to find out more about the book and the author.
Port Estillyen Productions, 296 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar for the purpose of this review.