Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Tender Book Filled with Hope

Sometimes a Light Surprise
Jamie Langston Turner
(Bethany House)

He had drawn the curtains tightly around his soul...
could he trust that glimmer of hope quietly beckoning to him?

Ben Buckley has never gotten over the loss of his wife. More bewildering than the mystery surrounding her death is the radical change that occurred in her shortly beforehand--a "conversion," she had called it. Baffled, angry, and still feeling guilty for the way he'd withdrawn from her during those final weeks, Ben now lives behind the protective walls of severed relationships and rigid routines.

An unlikely young woman knocks on the door of his narrow world. Her simple honesty and childlike faith are incomprehensible to him, but in spite of his misgivings Ben finds himself on a journey he never would have begun on his own.

Jamie Langston Turner, author of six novels and winner of a Christy Award, has been a teacher for more than thirty years. Currently a professor of creative writing and poetry at Bob Jones University, she lives with her husband in Greenville, South Carolina. Learn more about her books at her website.

This book tugs at the heartstrings. My heart ached for Ben, who not only grieves the loss of his wife to an unexpected and unexplained death and who has essentially experienced the death of his family as a result of his inability and refusal to face his grief, but who also continues to be completely mystified and quite perturbed at the fanatical (to him) transformation his wife experienced not long before her death. What a picture of I Corinthians 1:18 he is: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I like how the author portrayed the tension Ben feels in wanting to steer clear of anyone remotely connected with his wife's "strange" faith yet at the same time feeling inexplicably drawn to the light he sees shining in the lives of those same believers, including his new floor designer - the same girl he was determined not to hire right up until he opened his mouth and offered her the job. For her part, Kelly, is determined to live a godly and separate life; yet she must wrestle with what it means to be a believer in the workplace and how to mingle, relate, and witness to her coworkers without compromising her beliefs -- and while coping with her own heartache. Toss in a some difficult family dynamics, a determined personal assistant whose nose is everywhere but where it belongs, and a couple of guys who are lucky they aren't being sued for harassment, and you have a portrait of corporate America today. And the juxtaposition of the lives in this story show the stark differences in how believers and non-believers react to crises.

This book is available directly from the publisher or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


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Brook said...

This book looks so good and I love the author. Will keep an eye out for it!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Sound like a wonderful read!


Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I had to laugh when I saw the title, because I laugh every time I flip through the hymnal when I'm playing and see that title. For years I thought the title was "Sometimes a Light Surprise", as in "a small surprise or gift", not realizing that I was misreading it. Now I can't see the title without thinking of it like that!


Lisa writes... said...

I've loved all of Turner's books and this one was no different!