Actual Love by Kevin Logan

Actual Love

A Novel Inspired by True Events
Email this review


A respected minister and Old Testament scholar examines his troubled marriage and his faith while investigating a potentially groundbreaking discovery in Logan’s (Chihuahua, 2016, etc.) latest novel.

The peace and quiet of a routine flight from Tel Aviv to Luton, England, is shattered by a man calling out “Kill her!” The flight crew locates the source of the disturbance, a minister named Dave Jackson. Believing his outburst was the result of something he ate, he apologizes to the crew. Dave’s life and career are in crisis. His teaching career is stalled, and his relationship with his wife, Colette, is faltering. After catching her in an adulterous embrace with a visiting lecturer, Dave accepted an offer to travel to Israel to translate a recently discovered Dead Sea Scroll. The scroll tells the story of Mary, a widow and mother of five who’s bravely facing the siege of Masada. Mary’s record comprises daily life in Masada; she also recounts the love story of Hosea, told through the point of view of his sister. As Dave begins his journey home, he reflects on his problematic childhood, his disintegrating marriage, and his faith, framing his struggles in the context of the scroll and its message. Logan’s sprawling narrative deftly juggles multiple plotlines and points of view without losing sight of the central story. The heart of the novel is Dave’s return to England from Israel, a trip filled with reading, reflection, and decisions on how to proceed with his marriage and career. Extended flashbacks reveal his difficult upbringing in Brooklyn and the meaning and direction religion brought to his life. Interwoven with his youthful memories is the poignant story of his love affair with Colette, the tragedies that affected their marriage, and the illicit relationship that drove a wedge between them. The dual narratives of Mary and Hosea are similarly well-developed. Each could stand alone as a separate tale, but together they help provide insight into Dave’s scholarship and the trials he faces.

An engaging exploration of love and faith anchored by dynamic lead characters and briskly paced storylines.

Pub Date: July 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4834-5415-3
Page count: 380pp
Publisher: Lulu
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017


FictionTHE BOOK OF JONAH by Joshua Max Feldman
by Joshua Max Feldman
FictionTHE RED TENT by Anita Diamant
by Anita Diamant
FictionNOAH'S WIFE by Lindsay Starck
by Lindsay Starck