Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck - the very best in fantasy

This book reached me at a time when I badly needed a break from my own life. Instead of running away, I ran into its pages and met people – and a woman like me – dealing with tougher things than I’ve ever had to face. I huddled on my sofa, glancing out at the thunderstorm beyond my window, and relished this balm for the soul – words to comfort and empower.

Susan, prime-aged mother of four, happily married, has struck a crisis and gotten bogged down in a housewife’s daily slog. Her thoughtful husband provides a possibility for her to take time-out, but before she can catch her breath, a mysterious portal whisks her into a strange and terrifying place – a land where she has a task she knows nothing of.

Randomly memorized Bible verses often provide precise help when she most needs it along her journey of discovery – what it means to be this peculiar land’s prophesied Restorer. This story will keep you panting as you follow its jagged, twisting path, and a constant stream of breathtaking surprises are coiled around every corner.

The characters are rough-edged and realistic, carrying their weaknesses with courage, no matter how severely dysfunctional they are. One object lesson stuck particularly in my mind: as Restorer, Susan is given the ability to heal quickly from any injuries she receives. To prove she really is the Restorer, various locals frequently use their knives on her so they can watch the miracle healing take place within seconds. Thus, the proof of one’s strength is seen in how your wounds heal. Isn’t that true of real life, too?

Susan sees it all with the eyes of a mother, her feelings mirroring what you or I would go through if we were suddenly transformed into another world’s heroines. The impossible odds she faced and conquered tell me that although this is a fantasy, God’s faithfulness and love are no fairytale and remain the same – in any world.

The only other book I can even remotely compare this to is Karen Hancock’s Arena, although it’s actually completely different. They share the theme of an ordinary woman being dumped into a hostile fantasy world, so if you enjoyed Arena, you’ll love Restorer too. It’s a rich feast for the senses, earthy and inspiring. It left me with lots of questions, but of the kind that open a horizon of hope. I ponder: If I trust God to patch me up and make me whole, maybe I can be a Restorer, too. And that’s something our own world can sure use plenty of.

Click here to see The Restorer at Amazon

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