Monday, 3 September 2018

Review - All Things Bright and Strange by James Markert

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thomas Nelson; 354 pages; $15.99; Amazon

All Things Bright and Strange has been sitting on my desk for quite some time now. I tried reading it earlier this year, but I couldn't get through the prologue. I can't explain it, but I just couldn't connect with the author's writing style.

Why did I want to read the book in the first place?

Well, the thought of a Christian supernatural novel intrigued me. Plus, the book's blurb got my attention right away, so I was originally excited about reading it, well, until that is until I couldn't get past the first few pages.

Since I did receive the book from the publisher for review purposes, I thought I should at least give the book another chance and then, maybe, I can write my review for it. And obviously you have probably already guessed that I did managed to read the entire novel or you wouldn't be currently reading this review.

Let me give you a short synopsis, so everyone will know what the book is actually about. It's set in Bellhaven, South Carolina in 1920, where there happens to be a small chapel in the woods that is supposed to have a "healing wall." The townfolk and people from other places visit the chapel to find peace in the wake of World War I. After awhile, the peaceful feelings leave everyone, causing the townfolk to turn on one another.

The novel mostly centers around Ellsworth Newberry, a one time prospect MLB pitcher, who became an amputee after serving in the war. After returning home, he wife dies in a fire that is caused by the KKK, which sends him into a depression. He is one of the first to see the changes in the town, which he blames on Lou Eddington, the new owner of the local plantation. Ellsworth must overcome his own demons, if he is to lead the town to the truth.

Final Thoughts

I can fly right through most books, but there are a few that I do struggle to connect to with, and, sadly, All Things Bright and Strange, happens to be one of them. For a Christian novel, there's many heavy themes here, including racism and hate crimes. The book is a real slow burner, well, at least for me it was slow; though the story does pick up about midway through the novel. I don't mind the mixing of religion and supernatural, but it just doesn't work here. While there is a message towards the end, it feels a bit off balance.

Overall, All Things Bright and Strange is a major disappointed for me. I'm not for sure what I was expecting from this book to begin with, but it definitely wasn't this! Some readers might like the book, but it's just not my kind of read!

About the Author
James Markert lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville and won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which was later published as A White Wind Blew, a story of redemption in a 1929 tuberculosis sanatorium, where a faith-tested doctor uses music therapy to heal the patients. James is also a USPTA tennis pro and has coached dozens of kids who’ve gone on to play college tennis in top conferences like the Big 10, the Big East, and the ACC. Learn more at; Facebook: James Markert; Twitter: @JamesMarkert.

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