Author: Michele Phoenix
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A gripping, emotional tale of loss, love, and devastation.
Lauren lives with her husband, Sam, and son, Ryan, in Kathmandu, Nepal. She works as an English teacher at a local university so that Sam can do mission work in the remote villages in the mountain regions of Nepal. Unfortunately, rather than finding adventure in her home country, Lauren is getting frustrated with living in Nepal, dealing with the unsanitary conditions, traffic, pollution, monsoons, and only seeing Sam for a third of the year. Worse, Ryan has been closing himself off from them since before they left the states and barely answers questions when directed at him.
After coaxing from one of her stateside friends, Lauren sets up a Facebook account. Within a day, she has been contacted by another friend, Aidan, from the past who was a huge part of her life before college. As she is drawn into her conversations with Aidan, she finds herself shutting out her other life and her relationship with Ryan starts to suffer further. How can she work to save the relationships she already has?
First of all, let me say that if you read this book, it is going to affect you emotionally. It certainly did me. The story is told from Lauren’s point of view and switches between present day in Nepal and her past story including how she and Sam met, her relationship with Aidan, and Ryan’s plunge into depression. But ultimately, the story is not really about Lauren so much as it is about Ryan. Michele Phoenix has a ministry set up to support missionary kids and the struggles that they deal with. It is very evident that Ryan struggles with abandonment from his father, but doesn’t know how to express it. Even if he did, Sam would probably not have taken it as he should have.
Speaking of Sam, it was interesting to see a missionary as an antagonist throughout the story. I continually got frustrated with his character and even shocked that he would continue to abandon his family. He had a lot of personal ambition that I believe he took to make his vision come true, even when he had roadblocks in his way that could have been warnings.
This is a very difficult read emotionally and the ending may leave you with more questions than answers, but overall it is extremely well written and presented.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.