26 November 2012

Review: Sarah's Gift by Skye Wieland

Sarah White was raised by foster parents after witnessing her father murder her mother when she was ten. As a result, she has problems forming real relationships with people. She has no such problem with horses, which serves her well in her role as Stable Manager for a safari company on the border of South Africa's Kruger National Park. She enjoys her job, but doesn’t really get on well with Johnno, her boss, or Mark, another park employee who often accompanies her supervising tourist safari rides.

What seems like a normal trek turns strange when Sarah hears a gunshot and finds a huge area of the veldt devoid of wildlife. And there is something strange, almost like a presence, even though no one is around. Her natural curiosity and care for the animals puts her at risk when the elephant culls begin and she is approached by a local witch doctor, then begins to have strange dreams of a man in white. This is a Christian novel, so there is no real surprise about the identity of her dream man, but this is the only predicable element.

Sarah's Gift is set in 1990, a time when South Africa was going through a huge racial upheaval, and this theme of change and equality is also touched on. The novel also manages to deliver a clear Christian message of redemption and finding our place in the world using the gifts God has given us. However, this does mean there is quite a bit of 'Christianese' which some readers might find off-putting, like references to a move of God, and a powerful testimony

Sarah's Gift is Skye Wieland's first novel, and while she still has a lot to learn about the technical craft aspects of writing and editing, Sarah's Gift does demonstrate an ability to develop characters and utilise conflict to drive the plot forward, and good action sequences. Although this book has undergone extensive editing, there are still numerous grammatical, point of view and homophone errors which occasionally impact on the reading experience. Despite these faults, the end was gripping and I didn't want to finish reading. The author has managed to show us an Africa setting in a time and place that is not normally seen in Christian fiction, a refreshing change.

Thanks to Skye Wieland and ShadeTree Publishing for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Skye Wieland at her website.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciated the sense of place that Skye Wieland has created in this novel. I felt I was out there on the veldt with the wildlife. She also created some great characters that I really cared about. Looking forward to the sequel.