I have now read all three of the Walsh and Smalley Restoration saga, and this is the one that truly made me cry.
The Desire is all about the hopes and fears of the heart. Alan and Michele are a young married couple, torn between her longing to bear a child and his intention to build an African orphanage. How can two dreams be so right, but so incompatible?
Michele wants Alan's intensity directed toward their infertility, and he wants her to care about the children in Korah.
Will it destroy them, or teach them how to communicate and to share their visions?
One thing stood out to me about Michele's story.
She was convinced that she couldn't be fulfilled and happy until she had a child, and in the "meantime" she was understandably miserable.
As I read, I imagined that Michele probably had been searching for the pinnacle of purpose and peace all her life, like most of us do.
I imagined that at once point she would have thought catching Alan's eye was her greatest goal.
Then dating him, seeing him often and being with him- that was her longing.
Then marriage became the mountaintop for her, and now her hopes are bound up in starting a family. And all of those are right things, and good dreams. They are holy desires.
Watching Michele come to a place of acceptance- not resignation, but acceptance- is a good reading journey. We see her preparing her heart for a blessing that she hopes will come.
So... on to my next favorite storyline- Christina, a young woman expecting a child.
This plot gave us an opportunity to model a holistic pro-life lifestyle, the kind that embraces the mother and the child.
Being pro-life can't end with sidewalk counseling, and in this story it doesn't.
Marilyn brought Christina home and installed her in the garage apartment, helped her find employment, and began treating her like family.
This is exactly what we need more of. In a crisis pregnancy we need to help remove the crisis instead of the unborn child. Marilyn put her money and time and heart where her mouth was.
These books are quiet. And steady. And I like that. A series of novels like these is a great way to introduce a vision of marriage and family where loving commitment and honest communication are the glue. I love the way faith was woven in, and there was much truth here.
I do wish the characters had been a little more broken, at times.
I guess I think they needed some desperation. In Scripture, Rachel told Jacob that without children she would die. I somehow doubt she dropped that bomb during a quiet chat over coffee. I imagine more of a ragged cry. (And a husband bowed by the weight if being unable to heal her.)
And I don't know if a neglected kid like Christina- who must have known something about longing and frustration- would settle down so smoothly.
I needed to feel Christina's struggle to decide what to do (because I think she would have struggled like a drowning woman.)
I needed to feel her heart break when she realized that she was nurturing another human inside her own skin.
I needed to feel her emptiness when she delivered her baby girl and then gave her to the loving couple.
Because even the knowledge that she had done the right thing wouldn't soothe empty arms and full breasts, calling out to both cradle and feed the child that she couldn't keep.
Sometimes a story has to be painful for the reader. And I'm not talking about the child-birth scene. It's like in the Love Comes Softly movies. By law each episode had to include five minutes of screaming labor, just to remind the kids why abstinence is always the best choice. :)
This series has been inspiring. Tender. Gentle. And at times, very real. I do think a few more ragged edges, a few more exposed nerves, could have made it even more powerful.
I am eager for volume four in the Restoration Series.
Thank you Revell for my review copy.