8 December 2014

Review: Crooked Lines by Holly Michael

Challenging yet Inspiring

Teenage Rebecca Meyer, of White Gull Bay, Wisconsin, blames herself for the death of her seven-year-old sister, Kara. The seventh of nine (now eight) children, her desire is to finish high school, and then to travel to India. Sagai Raj is also the seventh child in his family, and he also wants to leave his home village of Sheveroy Hills, Tamil Nada, South India, to become a Catholic priest. Both find the journey long and difficult, and have to reconsider their beliefs and ambitions.

“It didn’t occur to me at the edge of the pond that I’d broken the sixth commandment, actually committed murder”.

The attention-grabbing opening line was just one of the things I specifically liked about Crooked Lines. There was also the original plot and setting, particularly the Indian sections with their insight into the Roman Catholic faith and the priesthood. The way the author has pulled off the combination of first person (Rebecca) and third person (Sagai) writing without it seeming contrived—something I’ve rarely seen. The fact that while the book didn’t fit cleanly into a genre, it was clearly Christian in nature, as two teenagers in opposite sides of the world struggle with questions of life and faith, and how to maintain faith when life doesn't work out how they'd planned.

The story spans almost twenty years, starting in 1985 and finishing shortly after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. I usually prefer stories which cover a shorter timespan, as it's generally easier to keep the pace moving. But I never felt the pace lag in Crooked Lines, and I never had the problem I often have with books from two distinct and separate points of view: that I want to read one story more than the other. That's a credit to the author, that she managed to engage me emotionally with both characters.

“Peace is not a place. It’s in your heart. Peace is when you are living the life God intended you to live.”

Crooked Lines is an excellent debut novel, and I'll be sure to watch out for more from Holly Michael.

Thanks to BookRooster and Holly Michael for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Holly Michael at her website or her blog.

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