Monday, February 22, 2010

Review: Beneath a Southern Sky

Beneath a Southern SkyBeneath a Southern Sky is the story of Daria, Nate and Cole.  Daria and Nate are missionaries to Columbia.  Nate, a doctor, heads into the wilderness to aid some natives, and doesn't return.  His party returns without him, and tells her he died in a fire.  Heartbroken and pregnant, she returns to the US.  Over a year later she dates and later marries Cole, and shortly thereafter conceives another child.  All seems right with world, until one day she gets a telegram telling her that Nate was found alive, and is flying home soon.

What a premise for a book.  What a story of emotional angst.  What a chance to really explore what marriage really means.  Unfortunately, this book never lived up to its potential.  I like happy feel-good reads tied up in a bow as much as anyone, but this one was just too neat.  For one thing, it wasn't until page 200/311 that Daria learns Nate is still alive.  The wrap-up started on page 285.  What that means, to me, is that the part of the book that offered the most possibility for conflict, emotion, and pain for three basically good people got only 85 pages.  The happy ending didn't cost all of the characters, only one, and he really came across as super-human.  What was going on in Daria's mind?  Cole's?  Nate's?  We know they are in pain, but we really don't get inside them, the answers are all just too pat.

This wasn't a bad book, it was just a book that didn't live up to the potential of the story line.  It's a book that lends credence to the allegation that Christian fiction is saccharine and more intent on making its spiritual point than in telling a real story.  Grade C+

I'd like to thank Liz at WaterBrook Mutlnomah for my review copy.  You can view the publisher's webpage here.

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