13 February 2013

Review: One Sunday by Carrie Gerlach Cecil

Alice is a hard-boiled tabloid reporter who runs a website called ‘Trashville’. She has just married Dr Burton Banister III in a 2005 version of a shotgun wedding due to her pregnancy after a one-night stand. His family is visibly displeased with the match – he family isn’t even in the picture. Having moved from LA to Nashville to marry Burton, her only friends are the African-American couple next door, Pastor Tim Jackson and his wife, LeChelle, who try to model the love and truth of God to a resistant Alice. Their friendship and her pregnancy force her to re-evaluate her own personal history, with some poignant scenes from her teenage years in particular.

One Sunday tells the story of her marriage, pregnancy and ... interspersed with flashbacks that show us how Alice got where she is. The story is told by Alice in the first person and in the present tense, which makes it feel like a stream-of-consciousness narrative, yet with an open and compelling voice with a high level of self-awareness and no sign of subterfuge or dishonesty.

There is an underlying humour and a sparseness of narrative that makes the less savoury parts of Alice’s personal history easy to read. Cecil doesn’t feel the need to bash the reader over the head with the gospel message, preferring a more subtle approach which is even more effective. Stormie Omartian says “I couldn’t put this book down”. I’m a bit jaded about celebrity endorsements, even in the Christian realm, but in this case, the celebrity is not overstating anything. One Sunday really is that good. Recommended.

Thanks to Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Carrie Gerlach Cecil at her website.

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