Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Drama--At Its Finest

RosaryImage by Lawrence OP via Flickr

 Separation of Faith

By Cheri Laser

While the title, Separation of Faith, by Cheri Laser has a somewhat religious title--and a few nuns as characters, I found the overall drama was the major drawing point for potential readers--Drama at its Finest!

The story centers around the life of Abby Ryan and begins when she has died. Better said, it moves between her early life in the mid-40's and the present. Abby is being buried as Sister Abby and at her funeral, Father Moynihan who had known her since she had been young, had said:

"Her life's mission and purpose only became clear to her when she stopped trying to define and direct herself and began, instead, to listen..." (p. 294) As with all of us, we spend so much time proceeding to "do," that we sometimes never achieve the life that we could have or should have had. In Abby's case, it wasn't that she totally ignored what she was to do with her life--it was more that things just kept happening to her! Separation of Faith: A Novel

Tess and Abby had been friends throughout school. Tess had always talked about becoming a Nun, while Abby would try to talk her out of it. But after Tess had gone, Abby was invited to spend some time there to learn more about Tess's calling.

While she was there, she was most of the time separated from Tess, but Abby did begin to feel a peace and contentment that she could not remember ever having experienced.

But during that time, two men had broken in and attacked her. Fortunately soldiers back from the war were also there for a retreat and they pulled the men away from Abby. She immediately changed her mind and went back home.

One of those soldiers, Sinclair Mellington, became Abby's life-long friend as well as her lawyer.

Abby had at one time planned to become a journalist, so once the trauma of the attack was over, she entered school and later with excellent recommendations, began working, fortunately for a woman who became her mentor as well as a good friend. It was on an assignment, where she had needed to attend on her own, that she met the man who would later physically assault her...

It was only upon seeing his engagement announcement soon after that Abby became strong enough with anger, to call Sinclair and share what had happened. Sinclair immediately contacted the family and negotiated not only a settlement, but the parents agreed to use their considerable influence to get Abby a job. In turn, Abby was required to give up all legal rights to the baby that had been born from that earlier assault...for the family decided that "their" child, no matter how it had occurred, should not be put up for adoption, as Abby had planned.

Abby's job would be at a prestigious newspaper in Washington, D.C. At least that had been what the agreement indicated. But when she arrived at the newspaper office, Abby was immediately sent to a branch office in another state for a "Special Assignment." It wasn't hard to figure out that she really didn't have that job that had been promised!

When Abby was alone or talking to Father Moynihan, she had begun to think about what types of things were happening to her. Was it possible that Abby's life's mission was really to have become a Nun? Now Abby was in North Carolina, having finished the special assignment that she learned would never be published and finding the newspaper would continue to pay her but really had no work at that time. She obviously had no other option, she resigned. But Abby had already been pulled into the lives of the individuals with whom she had been working and when an emergency and subsequent death occurred, Abby agreed to stay for awhile to help...before she again returned to the Church to become a nun.

The Mellington family were wealthy and Sinclair's death left Isaiah and his mother to go on alone. Isaiah was 58, had never really worked much at the family law firm, but had spent most of his time helping his mother with her many social and charitable obligations. So, it was a complete surprise when he was contacted by Tess to come and deal with the funeral arrangements and legal issues, as arranged by Sinclair and Sister Abby. Isaiah discovered that he had to act immediately because Abby's work in her community had been so well-known and effective that it was expected that there would be crowds coming and separate services would be held for the Church and the community.

And that began the most amazing few weeks as seven individuals were pulled together by the death of Sister Abby, and into lives that would be forever changed! This is one fantastic story--prepare to cry, laugh and be amazed by what can happen to families when one individual is called of God--and He expects and continues to wait for the right answer! I loved it. If you ask me, this is a must-read! For so many reasons!

G. A. Bixler

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