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Although this is a fiction novel, I almost relate it to C. S. Lewis' `A Grief Observed` because it relates, in fiction form, the same grief and honesty that Lewis offered.
This is the first work of Adrian Plass that I have read but I plan to read many more. This review is from the audio book format with Plass as the narrator which certainly added to the enjoyment of the book as the author provides the tempo and inflection meant when the book was written.
The story is told from David Herrick's perspective, a grief stricken Christian speaker by trade, and explores all the nuances of Christian bereavement.
Conversations (prayers) with God, to God, at God are woven throughout the book making it identifiable to all Christians who have lost someone dear to them. An unbeliever reading this novel would be surprised at the admittance. A believer reading this book will smile and connect with the honesty.
In this story, David Herrick has lost his beloved wife and struggles with all the words, phrases and counsel he has offered to others in his many years as a famous Christian speaker.
He accepts a mysterious offer from a long ago friend from his high school youth group at church. More mysterious is the fact that Angela, the hostess, schedules the reunion because of a request his late wife had made shortly before her death.
They meet for a weekend in a haunted manor and set the agenda for all to spend their time there being `open and vulnerable.' Many years have passed since their weekly youth group where they had shared their thoughts and dreams as teenagers. Now, they revisit some memories and make many more.
It is a very enjoyable book. I found the conversations that David Herrick has with the other members of the group insightful, witty and winsome. The English conversational style is art all its own and discussions in this book stir the readers mind to wonder if the dialogue would be same given the situation.
The title `Silver Birches' brings to mind the poem `Birches` by Robert Frost evoking a new meaning to the poem, well at least for me. "One could do worse than be a swinger of birches."
For a trip into the mind of a grieving Christian (pain is pain whether you are a believer or not), for the enjoyable dialogue, the deep sense of walking with Christ and how it relates to the hard moments of life, pick this book and find a fictional story of honesty, reflection, grief, loss, and the many miracles that God performs in the lives of those who follow Him.
Reviewed by: Keiki Hendrix
Reviewed for: The Vessel Project
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