You know how we readers will often finish a book and then recommend it by saying "It made me laugh and made me cry?" Well, sometimes what we really mean is: "This book made me smile a little, and then it made me kinda sad." Not so with The Sinner's Garden. This book runs the full emotional gamut.
My mother, who read it first, actually looked at us when she neared the end and said "The way this is going, I might cry, and I don't want you guys to see me and wonder why." She had burst out laughing periodically as she read, and then tears were threatening. That alone told me I needed to hurry up and open William Sirls book. Mom was right.
While I read The Sinner's Garden, I realized that it reminded me of another story, C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, especially the part when young Shasta feels the Great Lion Aslan drawing near to him.
Throughout this story, God draws near to the characters like He did in Narnia, in unexpected ways and places.
Some will dismiss this as a "nice story" or call it far-fetched. I need to ask: Isn't everything of God far-fetched by nature? Isn't it all beyond us and not natural to our earthly ways and dubious in our minds?
Is what God has done in your life, or in my life, any less wondrous or beyond imagining than what he did in the town of Brenning? Aren't all miracles intensely charged with the Love of God?
What a cast of character's William Sirls has created. Destined to become one of our favorite characters of all-time is Uncle Rip. His corny-yet-laugh-worthy comments provide most of the humor throughout the story.
Rip may make jokes about his time in prison being a government sponsored vacation, but he came out of there a changed man. He'd always been fiercely protective of his sister Judi and nephew Andy, but now he has God's love pouring through him into them, and they need it. A domestic abuse situation has left Judi depressed and Andy troubled and Rip trying to hold it all together for them. Policewoman Heather, another great character, is missing her late father, concerned about her friend Judi, and perplexed by a black-clad figure who breaks into homes only to leave valuable and needed gifts.
It truly is a strange summer in the town of Brenning.
Thank you Litfuse for my review copy!
Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows--some born of chance, some born of choice. Once a senior vice president at a major investment firm, he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering, where he learned a great deal more than he ever bargained for. Life lessons involving faith, grace, patience, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. He is the father of two and makes his home in southern Michigan.