A tear-jerker from veteran Christian novelist Martinusen about young love revisited in the shadow of untimely death.
Carrie is the woman who has everything: a handsome, devoted, successful husband; a little boy she adores; a remarkably loyal best friend; and a warm community. Of course, we know she must be hiding a secret sorrow—even before we discover she is dying of multiple sclerosis. Her sorrow is personified in the charming ne’er-do-well Graham, who loved and left her one dreamy Italian summer many years before. This could only be because he has a secret sorrow of his own—and indeed, over the course of the story, he is forced to face the childhood trauma that drove him from the only woman he ever loved. The evidence of this trauma, which involves an unlikely sub-plot about the IRA, is buried with a secret of Carrie’s in Italy. As Carrie dies, her stalwart friend Lauren goes to unearth these tokens of the past—and learns something about herself, of course. Sadly, the only motivation Carrie and Graham have for keeping any secrets for a decade is to provide the author with a third-act revelation. The plot proceeds through an obstacle course of unlikely coincidences, justified—because this is Christian fiction—as evidence that God is at work behind the scenes. The meaning of Christianity here often seems boiled down to the belief that a handsome stranger will enter your life at the moment you are genuinely ready to commit. In a similarly pandering way, the characters’ love of art is represented by a deep attachment to Andrew Lloyd Weber, Salvador Dalí and Bouguereau; no chilly elitism here.
Not for diabetics.