First off, you need to know that I am NOT a fantasy reader. I couldn’t read JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings or Hobbit until after I saw The Fellowship of the Ring. I simply couldn’t picture the worlds he created. Finally, my love for my husband and my sincere enjoyment of the movie pushed me to pick up those books. I enjoyed them, but I doubt I will read them again until my kids are old enough to enjoy them.
However, The Restorer is a book I know I will return to again. Susan is a mom with a life that seems perfect, but it’s missing something. She longs to do and be more for God, yet doesn’t know how. Her husband creates an escape for her in the attic, a place to hide from the activity of her kids and try to reconnect with God. The first time she uses it, she is sucked through a portal and into a new world.
Let me stop right there. I really expected at that point to throw the book aside. I knew it was fantasy, but I had no idea how that would play out. All I knew before picking it up was that a soccer mom takes on a Deborah-esque role. However, I could not put this book down, even as I was sucked with Susan into a world I’d never heard of or seen.
Susan experiences all the bewildering emotions of landing in a new place, unsure of what just happened and how she will get home. The first two people she meets in this world scare her to death; she just watched one kill a man, the other seems dangerous in unspoken ways. Yet she is forced to depend on them as she faces the uncertainties and unknowns of this new life.
She follows Tristan to his community where he takes her under his wing and begins to teach her the skills of a guardian. In some ways the community seems something out of the Middle Ages, but it’s not. The author paints the scene with vivid details that had me smelling the air, seeing the sky, tasting the strange food. She also painted the characters with strokes that left me feeling like I knew them. It was easy to pretend I was Susan traveling through the story. Feeling the abuse her body took. The overwhelming mental challenges. The spiritual exertion.
The story is rich with villains, too. These villains are unlike any I’ve seen before. And their weapon of choice? Poisoning unsuspecting minds with lies that will debilitate. The imagery of spiritual warfare was rich yet shadowed. The book never became preachy, yet I could easily connect with the idea that the truth is all that will protect us from the lies of our Enemy.
I LOVED this book, and cannot wait to read book two when it releases this fall. And this from someone who runs the other direction as soon as someone mentions fantasy.
Come back tomorrow for a wonderful interview with Sharon Hinck.