Friday, February 21, 2014

The Sinners Garden by William Sirls *Review

About the book: In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden . . .

Andy Kemp's young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.

As Andy's mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy's pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.

Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive "Summer Santa," Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.

Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.

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My Thoughts:
Wow, talk about getting your adrenaline revved up in the prologue! This is not a light read, but rather one that gets you emotionally attached from the beginning.  Hiding a secret of abuse, Judy has to daily live with the horror that scarred Andy's face. She blames herself, and so does Andy despite the fact that it wasn't her fault at all. Mom and son struggle to even have a relationship as Andy plunges more and more into his own self, ridiculed too long for the burn on his face. Uncle Rip has recently gotten saved and the town is waiting with baited breath to see if it is for real or just another ploy. Police officer Heather had dated Rip in the past, and is starting to really see the change that God is doing in Rips life.
This book has supernatural elements including a beautiful garden in the middle of an abandoned field. A garden that when you look at it brings you joy, and you forget about your worries. The garden beckons for people to join it, but they know they are not ready. Andy's broken ipod is also speaking to him through song and he rattles off scripture to people at odd times. Often calling out people in their sinfulness with scripture, though Andy doesn't remember doing any of it.
I really enjoy books that have that have a supernatural element to it. It helps to show how there is much more going on in our world than what is visible to our eyes.
I feel strongly that the author's own personal experience with being in prison has set the town for Rip and his honest turn to Christ. I think that the author has added greatly to this character and shared some of the great themes of redemption, forgiveness and the love of God. 

 Meet the author: Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows---some born of chance, some born of choice. Life lessons involving faith, grace, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. The Sinners' Garden is his second novel. His first novel, The Reason, was published in 2012. William makes his home in southern Michigan.

Learn more about William at:

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