A ROSE FOR JONATHAN by Beth  Green

A ROSE FOR JONATHAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Unseen angels surround their assigned humans and battle demons who whisper destruction in this Christian novel.

Young pastor John Miles marries Lindsey, who was in her mother Ellie’s womb when she survived a car crash that killed her other daughter, Rose. Ellie is left an embittered woman whom Lindsey tries to comfort by naming her and John’s first daughter Rosie. Unbeknown to most people except for Rosie and a few sensitive humans, there is a war being waged around this family and their friends against the demons who crouch on mortals’ shoulders. Four angels—Meris, the leader; Nardic, inexperienced and impatient to vanquish evil; Galdon; and impetuous Flint—receive strength from human prayers to protect their charges from the demons murmuring in their ears. John, himself a survivor of childhood cancer, nevertheless gets a sense that Lindsey and Rosie display a shimmer or nimbus he can sometimes see; he wants to preach about it but fears being disbelieved or simply wrong. As he expands his ministry to include a retirement home, John forms a relationship with resident Doug Roberts and his son, Carl, who has spent time in prison and harbors a terrible secret. As John tries to break through to both Ellie and Carl, 8-year-old Rosie leads the way by recognizing and speaking to Nardic, her guardian angel. Green’s (The Club, 2014, etc.) novel, the first installment of a series, deftly shows demons causing self-recrimination, fear, scorn, and guilt and portrays salvation as a letting go of negative baggage rather than the meek acceptance of God’s will or the confession of sins. The well-developed angels also grow spiritually in learning to protect humans who repeatedly make poor choices. But the book often tells rather than shows, with the story turning a bit preachy when the angels’ battles render the human characters too passive. In addition, the chapters introducing Doug and Carl could have been tightened and combined more dramatically. Much of the circuitous dialogue could also have been trimmed to better highlight the story’s funny and tender moments. Furthermore, some complex, powerful scenes unfortunately get buried by incidentals.

An intriguing but overlong spiritual tale with striking emotional insights.

Pub Date: April 16th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5117-7080-4
Page count: 356pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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