Sunday, 3 May 2009

Review: Higher Hope by Robert Whitlow

In the best tradition of legal fiction, Robert Whitlow has created an unusual, startling contribution to the legal drama genre. If you like John Grisham but have a hankering for more spirituality plus a little touch of romance, then you will enjoy this book very much.

Tami Taylor is a law student from a strict Biblical upbringing which may seem a bit extreme in the beginning, but as the story progresses it becomes plain that this comes from a true and sincere faith. This is the Bible Belt of course, an unfamiliar setting for me, so I found it interesting how just about every character in the story is a churchgoer and very many are committed Christians. I'd be inclined to disbelieve this if I hadn't been to the area myself[I'll never forget my brief visit there, when my friend's mother leaned over to the people at the next table in a fast-food joint and asked them to pray for her grandson, and they were happy to do so]!

The scene is set for an intriguing case assigned to Tami's law firm where she is a summer intern. A local preacher is accused of defaming a businessman with nutty prophecies she claims come straight from God. The lawyers think the case is clear, but Tami's sensitivity to spiritual things tells her the old lady might not be as crazy as everyone says. While she and her colleagues search for evidence to establish their plaintiff's position, Tami struggles with her conscience after an unusual encounter with the preacher lady, while relationship issues within the company unsettle its internal dynamics. Tami's own family, and the lady she boards with, provide a level of connectedness throughout the story, even in the climactic courthouse showdown.

There's a constant sense that God is in control, even when it comes to greedy clients and cynical lawyers. This is the truth that Tami comes to grasp through the course of events, and the reader is swept up inside this comforting belief, leaving behind a sinccere real-life expectation that God's intervention is never far away.
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