This soap-operatic tale follows the entangled lives of three people struggling with lost faith.
LaShawn is a 30-year-old mother of two young children, forced to raise them alone since their father, Brandon, was sent to prison for mail fraud. She finds some comfort in a romantic dalliance with a bartender, though the relationship sometimes seems to flirt with the possibility of something deeper. When LaShawn learns that Brandon is soon to be released from prison, she considers her religious priorities and wonders if she can find a place for him in her life. Meanwhile, her best friend, Sonia, abandoned her faith because she angrily resents what she interprets as God’s abandonment of her—she was coldly neglected by her mother as a child and brutally raped. Sonia also contends with her brother Jamal’s alcoholism, a persistent problem that finally lands him in prison. She is jolted out of spiritual apathy, however, when a TV evangelist miraculously preaches directly to her, an event she construes as a divine invitation to return to God. Brandon also suffered a harsh childhood (his mother died, and he became a ward of the state) but fights to become a good partner to LaShawn and father to his children. Debut author Craft packs too much implausible drama into a slender volume. The successive tragedies seem heaped into a narrative pile, and the revelatory transformations are jarringly quick. The dialogue, however, can be clever and colorful. In response to a prayer Sonia recites, Jamal says, “God’s angels are pushing that prayer right on through Satan’s forces and will have it delivered by the time I make it to court in the morning.”
A confused plot undermines this tale of Christian strength.