Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Far from Here

About the Book:
Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell.  But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

My Comments:
Nicole Baart can write.  Her prose is beautiful, almost poetic. She manages to use a sophisticated vocabulary and yet not create a book that is hard to read.  This is one of those infrequent books where the high quality of the writing itself speaks to me, makes me take notice.  The story is not bad either.

Far from Here is published by Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.  The imprint is described as being for "faith-based" books.  One of the characters is a minister but other than a funeral we don't see him performing as one--and we only hear a short, very generic prayer there.  At one point Danica tells him that he never talks about God, to which he replies "I lots of different ways".  He later mentions that marriage is holy. While there are plenty of people in the book who would be well-served by a religious conversion, none happen.  The book may be considered faith-based, and the Christian virtue of hope is definitely there, but if you are looking for a sermon dressed as a story, you will be disappointed. 

If I had to render one criticism of the book it would be that  I thought the ending was just a little too tidy.  Still, I like happy endings.  I'll give the book an A.  

Thanks to the publisher for  providing a complimentary review copy.  

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