Needing something new in your life? Something else? If you're like me, one more thing to add to your plate of chaos? ...Also, if you're like me, I bet your answer may be following along the lines of some universal "Like another hole in my head" thoughts.
I know, I know. And that's okay.
If ANYONE can relate to the runaway-train called life, it's most definitely me.
My thoughts originally for this book were:
A) I thoroughly enjoy & trust Mr. Wright's writing... seriously, so much. Never do I stress that I'll cringe at either Jason's writing style, nor at his depth of characters, his sprawling setting illustrations & or his rich content.
B) I've enjoyed his past work so much that when I discovered this
Certainly, I figured, she would appreciate it and then I'd get to read it when she returned. Wouldn't you know that Mini-Me had beat me to the reading-punch?! At the gate, she informed me she was already in the middle of re-reading Brisingr and planned to finish it while on vacation. "No bigs," I figured. I then hugged her goodbye & left with something I planned on enjoying while putting my feet up for the week she would be gone.
Well that week came & flew by. Not one foot got put up, nor was the title page even turned. ...And life just continued to accelerate from there clear through the last half of summer.
It wasn't actually until we were navigating the 11 hour drive down to Utah for my grandfather's funeral that I was able to "slow down" enough to read. However, what I had not anticipated was that less than 2 chapters in, I would hit an emotional brick wall.... and subsequently not pick it back up for another 2 weeks.
The passing of Grandpa in August, butted-up by the loss of Grandma in May (like a proper pair of bookends), was still raw and my heart already ached enough. I couldn't mourn for a fictional character at the time. Just couldn't. My cheeks, too eroded by tears. My grief, too fresh.
Please know, that the book IS masterfully penned, life's timing was just wrong for me then.
However, ladies & gents, I finished The Cross Gardener this week... and at no point was I let down. Jason Wright has proven his moxie as an author yet again in my eyes. Each character was just what I needed them to be. Every one of my heart-strings was dexterously played.
For the record, Jason's SO accurate in his details- from the highways to the towns & their locations. I felt transported, as though I too was standing behind the line in the gravel at the orchard's edge. There are times I've found myself longing to live in the Shenandoah Valley because, like a tourist brochure's photo, Jason captures the area so perfectly in his words. (BTW, in case you're wondering, Yes! I ADORED all of the apple talk, from the happenings of the orchard to the precious varieties of fruit. Not sure if it's mostly due to my early childhood years in our family's apple orchard, or the fact that our ranch is next-door neighbors with the most exquisitely sweet smelling, organic apple orchard. Either way, my entire soul delighted in this book!)
At the conclusion of The Cross Gardener, I found myself wishing that I had pushed past my emotional wall, cried extra tears at the time, just so I could have come to the peace at the end that much sooner. It is a contagious peace. A comforting, familiar truth.
As John Bevan, the main character, learns, the reader learns along side him. And I mean REALLY learns: he learns how to obtain clarity & peace. I truly believe, perhaps, my own grief for my grandparents would've been easier to cope with than it has been, had I finished this book weeks ago.
The beauty of John's whole story, from the overwhelming numbness to an enveloping serenity, is the way Mr. Wright has lovingly set each puzzle piece in its proper place. Resolution is an understatement, as well as a moving promise.
I'm not saying it's all rainbows & unicorns in the end. No, what I love is that the reader is along for every step of the journey, in coming to better terms with how life simply is. No razzle-dazzle. Just healing. Lots & lots of healing.
In closing, my dear friends, go check-out, buy, or borrow The Cross Gardener. You'll feel a cleansing in your soul and find renewal in your faith.
|(Author, Jason F. Wright)|
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