Sunday, September 16, 2012

With Every Letter - Sarah Sundin

"With Every Letter" is the first in the "Wings of the Nightingale" series by Sarah Sundin.  This was my first experience reading a Sundin book, and I will remember it for a long time.  This author is an expert at depicting the emotions of the characters in a compelling way while still keeping the plot moving quickly.  I will most definitely have this series on my radar as the books are released!
The plot of the novel centers around Mellie, a misfit woman raised by a single dad in the jungle.  She advances in her career in the military and is among the first of the nurses to fly overseas to provide medical support to our troops during World War II.  The protagonist is Tom MacGilliver, an engineer with a past as different as hers is.  Together, the begin exchanging anonymous letters during the war.  When the inadvertently meet on the field, Mellie realizes this right away.  Tom, however, stays clueless.  If you liked "The Shop Around the Corner," or "You've Got Mail" this novel will be just as enjoyable.  I personally loved it.
The effect "With Every Letter" had on me is due to the scene depicted on pages 252-253.  It talks about what forgiveness often looks like, and questions the legitimacy of that forgiveness.  I am currently being mentored each week by an older lady at my church.  I was so affected by this scene that I discussed it with her.  The question of the hour is this: "Without restoration, what good was forgiveness?"  It brought me to the question "If forgiveness requires restoration to be legitimate, then what does that restoration need to look like?"  We talked about various situations where restoration might look completely different.  If safety is involved, for example, restoration may not necessarily mean that a relationship reverts to exactly where it was beforehand.  We decided that in most situations, however, genuine forgiveness does result in complete restoration.  Sometimes, that restoration brings us to a better place in our relationship with the other party than we were in before the infraction.  Even in the most tragic of circumstances, restoration means healing for the parties involved, even if their lives change as a result of the sin.  Restoration may take hard work and time, but genuine forgiveness does result in restoration.
One of the main reasons I came to this conclusion is that I consider God's love to be the perfect love.  While our love to each other is imperfect, because we are imperfect, God's love is absolutely perfect.  In our sin, God provided not only forgiveness through his son, Jesus Christ, but also complete restoration.  This is God's example of forgiveness, so therefore, our forgiveness should result in restoration even when that restoration takes supernatural strength and character.
I highly recommend this book.  Take some time to read it when you have a chance.  The storyline and characters are top notch.  The application is priceless.
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an objective review.

1 comment:

  1. Renae - thank you for such a thoughtful review! I'm glad the story sparked discussion with your friend. I agree with your conclusion - there are definite times when restoration should not occur after forgiveness, but many times when we withhold restoration as our one little right as the aggrieved party. I'm so thankful for God's complete forgiveness too!