The Sinner's Garden
Author: William Sirls
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
There are some novels I walk away from totally overwhelmed by the message contained in the pages and not sure how in the world I would write the review. William Sirls’ other novel, The Reason, was read and thoroughly enjoyed by a friend of mine. I was hoping that the newest novel from the author would be as captivating as the first one was for my friend. Well, let me tell you this is a novel that will reach out from the pages and grab your heart as well as your mind.
When you are done with this novel, I wonder if you will walk away with a deeper understanding of God or something else. The story has a multitude of characters who reflect, I believe, real people and societies of today. More than one character in the novel thinks they understand God and His ways. They therefore drew conclusions based on that knowledge. Others have to learn to let go of what holds their soul, mind and emotions in the past.
Another characteristic of the tale is how some in the novel draw together as they are seeking answers to questions their hearts are asking. The author clearly shows how sometimes we think we know a person, what they do or don’t do in their daily life only to learn that God is the only One who truly knows every detail. An encouraging aspect shown in the novel is how even in deep pain God is able to make His presence known if those seeking Him will really listen.
There are many different threads that run in the book such as mystery, romance, faith, and spiritual growth. One character features an ex-con who looks to God while in prison and still realizes he has much growing to do in the Lord. Now that might sound like growing through knowledge, but here it is growing by surrendering and listening. Also, some learn to choose to forgive not waiting for feelings or a sign before actively doing so.
Two women are trying to come to terms with understanding their pasts, but is that what God wants them to focus on? In reality, we all ask at one time or another the age old question of “why” when something happens beyond our understanding. In the novel, one woman tries to carry a load of guilt that is not hers to carry. The other woman just wants to understand who would do the unthinkable act of murdering two men. That only starts other questions like, “Is her Dad in heaven”? To me this shows how the author is trying to reach out to others who sometimes struggle to understand God in daily life. What makes the novel easy to read is the shortness of the chapters so that the reader can easily follow the tale as it develops and deepens. For me, this novel is not one I will soon forget, and if I should happen to, it will be right there in my personal library to grab and read again.
My rating is 5 stars.
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