The Sinner's Garden


Title:  The Sinners’ Garden
Author:  William Sirls
Pages:  401
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This is another fantastic book by William Sirls!  If you haven’t read his first book, The Reason, you’re missing out on one of the best books I’ve ever read.  This second fictional entry is also exceptional.  This book is set in Benning Township, Michigan.  A flashback begins the book as the prologue then, 11 years later, the story begins.  There is also an author’s note and reading group guide in the back of the book.
Gerald Ripley, or Rip, is an ex-con released from prison a couple of years ago.  He found God in prison and now tries to live as a God-fearing man.  He still has struggles with his temper, but he knows it and is “working on it” as he tells others.  He is extremely close to his nephew, Andy and spends a lot of time with him.  Andy’s father is out of the picture, so Rip is in every sense a father to Andy.  He teaches Andy about God and takes him to church, but Rip tries to model Christ for Andy.  While out by the canal one day they discover a beautiful garden right next to an old abandoned factory.  It is mesmerizing in its beauty and both want to see it up close, but something stops them from getting too close.
When Andy begins quoting Scripture via his iPod, this family’s lives take unexpected paths.  Judi, Andy’s mother and Rip’s sister, is mired in depression and self-pity and has been for several years.  Everything bad in her life and Andy’s is her fault in her mind.  Heather, Judi’s best friend, is a cop, but still struggles with her father’s murder.  Heather is a Christian, but doesn’t know if her father is in heaven.  She still wants to find the murderer as well.  Both women experience an Andy iPod moment where he speaks Scripture to them.  Heather is also on the trail of a masked man who instead of stealing from people is leaving behind gifts.  Who is that masked man?  Who ever heard of someone leaving a gift in the middle of the night?
This author has the God-given talent to write a story that will touch your heart, make you think and make you feel.  The story shows that God is real, that He does care about His children and never leaves them alone.  He wants desperately to have a relationship with each of them, but only if they choose Him.  He will never force the issue.  We must listen to hear His voice and not let the noise of the world keep our attention from Him.  The character of Rip was just great.  He had such a great sense of humor!  He knew he had made some poor choices in life, acknowledged his sins publically and then tried his best to live a life of service as God wanted him to live.  Rip really showed the transforming capability of God.  The characters of Andy, Heather, Judi and Pastor Whelan also were well-developed and easy to understand and get into their skin so to speak.  There is so much more to the story than can be written here, so please grab a copy to read for yourself.  You won’t regret it.  I am so looking forward to the next book to see what unique way God will be revealed.  Don’t miss this author’s fantastic books!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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