After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart
To win a copy of this amazing novel simply read my review, then enter a comment at the end of this post telling me what I said in my review that made you want to read this book. Thanks, and best wishes.
About the Book:
Her childhood marked by rejection and loss, Julia Bakker longs for life to finally begin. Determined to escape her conservative Christian hometown, she chooses college for a radical reinvention. But following a momentous mistake, the self-defeated Julia returns to her loving grandmother's farm. Will she learn to hope in a God who makes all things new?
The following section in italics contains one of the most beautiful concepts I've read in a Christian novel.
It seemed like a strange thing to say, but with every repetition she drove a tiny seed of hope further into my heart. I almost didn't want it there--hope is not a promise, merely a wish, a yearning for something that may never materialize--but it sank down deep where I could not extract it and began, even in that moment, to put down fragile roots.
It was the hope that scared me most of all, and only when I had felt it tremble inside me did I begin to cry.
That section of the story spoke most deeply to my heart. It's what we all need when the world seems to be caving in on us. We need hope. We need someone to gift us with it so we will see things from a different perspective. We don't need judgment or condemnation. This fallen world dishes out plenty of that, and what the world doesn't dump on us we heap on ourselves. After the Leaves Fall is about hope.
There were so many beautiful and profound discoveries that Julia made about herself in the story, which is more like a coming-of-age journey, that I don't know where to begin. I don't want to spoil any of the precious treasures the reader will discover along with Julia. My heart broke for her and yet it also understood her. There is a little piece of Julia in all of us. Children need affirmation from a mother, and without it they spend their lives second-guessing themselves. This came out in so many of her internal thoughts and her impulsive decisions. Often as she contemplated her life I found myself doing the same.
After the Leaves Fall is so impressively introspective with it's gorgeous prose that words are inadequate to describe it. And on some deep level, every wounded child wants to do what their parent did, but do it right this time. No one wants to duplicate mistakes, but the deep need to be loved often drives our behavior. It's truly amazing how that works, but it's how God created us...to need love. Anyway, this is one of the most emotional and wonderful books I've ever read and it has impacted my heart deeply. I can't recommend it highly enough. If all authors were as gifted as this debut author, I would never get anything done.
After the Leaves Fall was published by Tyndale and released in October 2007.