Top positive review
A crisis of faith and romance
Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2020
Although I don't lean toward stories about religion and faith crises, this book is so much more than that. It's a romance--more than one, actually. In the background is the main one between Elsa and Joaquin, but Joaquin is called to the priesthood, breaking Elsa's heart. In present day, Elsa is a minister in Seattle, very happy but with unresolved issues. When tragedy strikes a member of her community, she loses faith and can't move beyond the heartbreak. She moves back to her hometown of Pueblo, CO, where Joaquin, now priest of a church in an impoverished neighborhood, presents an opportunity for her to wrestle with her demons. Meanwhile, there is a rich subplot with Elsa's sister, Tamsin, and a sub-subplot (romance) concerning Tamsin's daughter. There's a romantic thread with Elsa and an ex-con, a community garden that brings together the disparate and very well-drawn characters in the neighborhood, and a gang leader who menaces them. And of course, in all of this author's books, there are the dogs and other animals who add a layer of joy. One of the richest scenes in the story involves what some would call magical realism: a celestial visitation. I found it believable and the story compelling all the way through.