Thursday, July 23, 2009

Facing unimaginable challenges

I am frequently disappointed by the low-quality writing of a lot of contemporary Christian fiction. One Christian writer who never fails to surprise and delight, however, is Angela Hunt. I've read almost ten of her books by now and each one has been a treat to digest both as an eager reader and a hopeful writer. The reader part of my brain revels in Hunt's personable, highly-relatable characters and her surprising plot twists. Meanwhile, my writer's side is gaping at the obvious amount of research invested in the story and the clear, concise writing that maintains a lot of internal and external tension, keeping me captivated all the way through.

I finished her 2008 book, The Face, today and loved it. Not loved it in that I was left with a syrupy sweet all's-well-that-ends-well kind of contentment, but loved it in that I was challenged and provoked and captivated. The Face is the story of Sarah Sims, a girl born with severe facial deformities resulting in a lack of facial structure -- no eyes, nose, ears, or a mouth. But there is more to her story than this huge challenge. Her past and the deaths of her family members are buried government secrets, and Sarah grows up sheltered from anything resembling the real world in a remote intelligence agency's safe house. The story is one of intense personal growth and thrilling spy adventure, Alias-style. I'm going to make my sister read this one, right away.

The Face
Angela Hunt
Rating: 9/10

PS. In one of those coincidences which are too interesting to be called such, while I was reading The Face, I stumbled across About Face, a blog providing "a forum of hope and encouragement for those suffering from perceptual disabilities, facial deformities, and cranial birth defects." I've only explored a little, but already I've been challenged by the faith and grace shared in the posts there. I recommend you check it out.