There was turmoil in Mississippi in 1945. Race relations were tense, money segregated, and good versus evil went to war at Cat Lake. Missy Parker, a wealthy young white girl of just seven, is the target of a horrific attack. After her best friend, the son of a black sharecropper, saves her by giving his own life, she takes on a life mission she won't truly comprehend for years to come. As the families of these two children realize the truth of what happened that day at Cat Lake, their lives are forever connected. Torn between a life simple and ignorant, or one complicated by Truth, Missy Parker must come to terms with the battle she's been thrown into....and either win it, or watch her loved ones die trying.
It's been awhile since I've read such a powerful story it made me near-speechless. Abiding Darkness left me pondering how in the world I'd describe what made it such an awesome story...and coming up miserably short. Pinpointing one thing is impossible, so I'll list them all... or as many as I can without sounding long-winded. The only weakness in this book was occasional unnecessary head-hopping, but it wasn't enough to keep me from raving about it despite that one minor flaw.
I'll start with what impacted me most. The spiritual honesty and depth in this book. The author takes many arguments used by non-believers and flushes them out through characters so real that you can see the wisdom of Christ in the uneducated men literally overshadowing the wisdom of the wise (by this world's standards). That alone makes this author a theological genius in my book. Plus he masterfully uses southern uneducated-sounding English and slang to bring out some good points.
The sense of small-town community and the love between two cultures in the pre civil-rights era south is enough to make this book fantastic all by itself, but when he adds the spiritual mentoring it leaves readers...a bit breathless. Or choked up. I couldn't tell you how many times I was so caught up in the story my house could've been on fire and I wouldn't have noticed. My eyes blurred several times as I swallowed hard.
Plus, there were many suspenseful moments. Many times I thought Missy would either be killed or raped and I held my breath as things played out. And so many people that she loved died, yet you could see how God used it all for His glory and how her losses started a chain of events that the enemy meant for evil, only to be turned upside down. God used the broken things in their lives to reach the lost. Sometimes successfully, other times not, but the characters in this novel had their priorities straight. They had flaws, but the integrity of their love for one another and their strong belief in the Lord made up for their mistakes.
An emotionally gripping and spiritually deep novel, Abiding Darkness will impact my heart for years to come. It's just that kind of book.
Abiding Darkness was published by Warner Faithwords in August 2006.