Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2010
The latest book on my `read' list is `Sing: A Novel of Colorado' by Lisa T. Bergren, Book 2 of the `Homeward Trilogy' series.
Here is the synopsis of this novel:
Will they discover what it means to sing praises to God, even in the midst of loss? It's 1886, and the St. Clairs are living out their dreams in three very different parts of the world - Paris, Brazil, and Colorado. And while each has found a measure of success and joy, each is haunted by past sins and secrets.
Odessa St. Clair McAllan has adapted well to life on her beautiful Colorado ranch, but nothing has prepared her for the devastation that the winter of 1886 brings. Far away in Paris, Moira St. Clair discovers she has been robbed by her manager and has fewer options than she imagined. Meanwhile, Dominic, working the boxing rings of South America, loses the wrong fight and ends up shanghaied by a frustrated sea captain. Can all three manage to find their way back to a reunion in Colorado...especially while haunted by a former menace who reemerges, bent on bringing each of them down!
Here is the biography of the author:
Lisa Tawn Bergren ([...]) is the best-selling author, award-winning author of over thirty books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. Lisa's ([...]) time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time (Waterfall, book 1, comes out in February 2011). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7). All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The primary characters in this book are the two sisters in the St. Clair family - Moira and Odessa. Moira's journey starts in Paris, where she is an acclaimed opera singer. Unfortunately, she was swindled by an unscrupulous manager, and decided to return to the United States. On the ship, she made the acquaintance of two attractive gentlemen, Gavin Knapp and Daniel Adams, both of whom would feature prominently in her life during the events in the storyline. I appreciated the fact that Moira returned to the faith in Jesus that her mother instilled in her children. Moira was led astray by people and circumstances, but she ultimately realizes that she needs to return to what is important - a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Odessa is happily married to Bryce McAllan and the mother to an active little baby named Samuel. Their ranch has sustained the loss through disease of the majority of their horse herd. Despite the devastation, their faith in Christ remains strong. Here are Odessa's and Bryce's reactions to their circumstances:
"Love has made us both good," she whispered. "But it is God that grants us life. We must praise Him, Bryce. Even when it's hard. Even when all seems dark. We must remember what is good, what is true, rather than believe fears and half-truths. That is how we cope with the day. That is how we keep living our lives the way He would have us live them, embracing them rather than just surviving them."
"Amen," he said, leaning back to look her in the eye.
She laughed through a big sigh. "All right, I'll quit preaching. But I'm right, aren't I? Come what may - even if we lose all, we always have our God, our hope."
"And each other," he said, kissing the top of her head. (p. 81)
On the open sea, God was also pursuing Dominic (who blamed God for deaths in his family), in the person of Manuel, the coal boss. Here is one example of how God used Manuel to speak to Nic:
"...mark my words. God will chase you until the end of your life. Better to give in to Him sooner than later. Until then, you will have no rest." (p. 313)
Later on, after Nic endured a severe punishment, Manuel explained to him that Jesus was able to sympathize with his pain:
"The Christ suffered wounds such as this," he said.
"I do not wish to hear it," Nic said tiredly.
"He bore this, and worse, for you. So that you might be free."
"Our God understands our pain, reaches out to us through it. Whether it be a whipping or a loss---"
"Yes," Manuel said, finishing covering the wounds on his shoulder and purposefully twisting his words. "It was enough. Enough for all. Enough for any... (p. 319)
Lisa writes an evil villain! Reid Bannock committed a crime against their family in Book 1 of the Trilogy, `Breathe,' one in which they did not expect him to be released from jail for a good long time. Unfortunately, he was released, and was ready to wreak havoc and exact his twisted view of revenge upon the family. He created a lot of chaos throughout the book, and was quite unsympathetic! I was quite glad things ended as they did for him...
I really enjoyed this book. As is often the case these days, this is the first Lisa Bergren novel I've read; I have been exposed to so many great authors since I have been reviewing! It was very cleverly written, with Lisa ([...]) alternating between the stories of the three siblings. They were independent yet interconnected. I was drawn to the stories in this order - Moira, then Odessa, then Dominic.
I will be reading and reviewing Book 3 of the `Homeward Trilogy,' `Claim' shortly. My understanding is that Dominic's story is prominently featured in that book. I am anxious to read about the continuing adventures of the St. Clair clan; stay tuned!
This book is published by David C. Cook and was provided by B & B Media Group for review purposes.
Reviewed by Andrea Schultz - Ponderings by Andrea - [...]