As Maddie, a happily married mother of three young boys, faces breast cancer, she and her husband are pulled into the vortex of the past, where long-lost loves and troubled relationships with God collide.
Although she believed in God—after all, she was raised in the conservative Christian community of Bethel Hills Church of Holiness —15-year-old Maddie struggled to find her personal relationship with him. And long altar-calls, for those in need of extra pastoral attention, severely tested her patience. That is, until Vincent Elander —the popular quarterback, baseball star, and lady’s man of her high school—showed up in the pew ahead of her. Before she could process what was happening, Maddie found herself not only Vincent’s new girlfriend, but also partner to his powerful prayers. For it turned out that Vincent has been called to leave behind his bad-boy ways and given the power to heal by faith. His talents certainly came in handy when Maddie’s leg was broken in a car accident (not to mention several other community members healed by Vincent with Maddie by his side). Yet, the grown-up Maddie can’t bring herself to ask Vincent to heal her again. As she endures the indignities of modern medicine, Maddie plunges back into her memories, dredging up the roots of her doubts and Vincent’s own difficult relationship with his gift. Stevenson’s debut novel shifts dreamily between past and present narratives yet leaves several threads loose, perhaps setting up a sequel. Most powerfully, Stevenson links the physical to the spiritual, letting Maddie’s breast cancer open her to a spiritual journey, letting the veneration of the Eucharist open space for understanding illness, letting love for the mortal body open space for love of the divine.
A gorgeous meditation on broken bodies, fractured faith, and the soul-wrenching path to serenity.