Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden

Linden has crafted a good novel of character development woven through a story of changing relationships.

The story revolves around Maggie, a very successful professional photographer. While on location in Nicaragua, Maggie receives a phone call from her good friend Lena. Lena's husband, Marco, is dead. Maggie makes arrangements to fly to the Pacific Northwest and be with her friend on San Juan Island.

The narrative concentrates on Maggie while we learn of the relationships between her and Lena and Marco. Linden uses flash backs to fill in the history and that works really well. We follow Maggie as she helps her friend who seems to be avoiding grief. And then another tragedy occurs and Maggie must make serious decisions about what she wants in life and in her future.

I like how the story developed. I like how we find out about the friendships between the three, going back to college years. I like how Linden makes us think about the choices made regarding career and relationships, sometimes furthering one at the expense of the other. I like how we follow Maggie as she works through her feelings and grows. I like the island setting in Washington State.

I was disappointed in the spiritual emphasis of the novel. While there is a bit of Christian influence, there is also another form of spirituality that over shadows the Christian influence. The novel is published by a “Christian” publisher and I expected a stronger Christian theme of spirituality from the book.

I recommend this novel to those who enjoy one concentrating on character development through overcoming adversity. There are discussion questions included so it would be a good choice for a reading group.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Rachel Linden is an international aid worker whose travels have taken her around the world. She has an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College. She splits her time between Seattle, Washington and Budapest, Hungary where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find out more at (Portrait by Mallory Macdonald)

Thomas Nelson, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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