Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unwritten by Charles Martin: A Book Review

I know, I know… I’ve been practically cluttering the blog with book reviews this week. BUT I’ve been on a bit of a reading marathon – yes, I HAVE read all of the latest reviews {All in Good Time} {The IceCutter’sDaughter} this week. So, let’s add this one to the heap and call it an excellent week!

I would like to mention that this book RELEASED TODAY {click here to hear the author read an EXCERPT} so if it sounds like a good read to you, run out and grab yourself a copy. 
I’d like to say I brilliantly planned the posting of this review on the day it released. However, that is not the case. The truth is, I began this book late last night thinking I could put it down after a few minutes and fall in to bed. I was captivated. As in could-not-turn-the-pages-fast-enough kind of captivated. It’s not often that a piece of modern fiction grabs my attention so completely. But there is a certain cry from this book that settled in my soul and, midnight or not, I simply had to reach The End.

Unwritten [A Novel]
By Charles Martin

From the Publisher: An actress running from her past finds escape with a man hiding from his future. When someone wants to be lost, a home tucked among the Ten Thousand Islands off the Florida coast is a good place to live. A couple decent boats, and a deep knowledge of fishing and a man can get by without ever having to talk to another soul. It's a nice enough existence, until the one person who ties him to the world of the living, the reason he's still among them even if only on the fringes, asks him for help.
Father Steady Capri knows quite a bit about helping others. But he is afraid Katie Quinn's problems may be beyond his abilities. Katie is a world-famous actress with an all too familiar story. Fame seems to have driven her to self-destruct. Steady knows the true cause of her desire to end her life is buried too deeply for him to reach. But there is one person who still may be able to save her from herself.
He will show her an alternate escape, a way to write a new life. But Katie still must confront her past before she can find peace. Ultimately, he will need to leave his secluded home and sacrifice the serenity he's found to help her. From the Florida coast, they will travel to the French countryside where they will discover the unwritten story of both their pasts and their future.

At first glance, I wasn’t quite sold on Charles Martin’s newest novel. But, the first chapter captured me and I finished the manuscript in just one sitting. After so many historical fiction pieces I thought I would have a hard time travelling pack to the present age for this very modern tale. However, I found myself completely mesmerized by Martin’s prose and by Katie and Sunday’s story. 

This book definitely requires a mind engaged. The emotional issues and moral decisions that litter the pages proved to be both engaging and thought provoking. I read each page wondering – what would I do in a situation like theirs? How would I find myself interacting, running, deciding?
Katie is a woman with many faces, none that belong to her. (Oh, and aren’t we all?) Desiring to hide her true self from the world, she took up acting at a young age and charmed a generation with her talent. As the story unwinds, there are many opportunities to see Katie in a different light – taking to the sea, motoring through Paris – but not until she’s traversed to the French countryside do we find the real Katie. Raw. Unrestrained. Broken. 

As for Sunday, he has scars of his own. In coming to Katie’s aid, in his efforts to bandage her wounds, he must come to grips with his as well. In many ways this is Sunday’s story, too.
Charles Martin’s novel could be read, I suppose, as all other novels are – with a nonchalant desire for entertainment. Or you could, and I encourage you to, pick this book out from the pile of many others and read with an open heart. Take a moment to look in to another’s broken (albeit, fictional) life, observe what you may, and glean as much as your heart will allow. 

I found a sharp cry from the hurting, a deep sorrow from the lost, an overflowing reservoir of pain within these pages. And yet, the story is not one of sadness, but of hope - finding that the walls have crashed down and the floor has fallen out, and yet, we still stand – we still have the strength to continue. To reclaim what once composed us, to walk from brokenness in to the light. The Lord may not be at the center of its words, but Unwritten certainly cries out for the hand of God. 

I wouldn’t call this Christian fiction, and some pretty heavy topics are discussed, but this is a book worth reading and a story worth remembering. 

***With thanks to Center Street Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. And, to {Radiant Lit} who made it possible!  

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