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Saturday, September 24, 2011

My review of The Unforgivable by Tessa Stockton

About the book:

Accused of the worst war crimes in the history of Argentina, Carlos Cornella is despised by a wounded nation... "I'm in love with a monster. That's what people call him anyway: monster, murderer, kidnapper, torturer, sociopath, even the devil. His crimes are so terrible that he may be unforgivable. But I have come to know him as something else. I know him as God's Treasure. And I'm not sure what to do about that. So, here's my story."

My review:

I adore books that makes me think, and love them when they make me feel something deep inside my heart. This novel does even more than that. It challenged my faith and my beliefs and made me wonder how I would act in a similar situation. How far am I willing to go to obey God's call for my life? It's a healthy question for all Christians to ask themselves. Are we willing to set the familiar aside and delve into the unknown, especially when it comes with insecurity? I loved how the author tied Christ's love into the whole story, and did so in a powerful, yet convincing manner.

Jesus was despised and rejected. The author took someone with a similar history to a Nazi and basically showed that yes, God loves even "those" people. He loved them enough to send Jesus to die for them too. While in theory this makes sense to people who follow Christ, but if coupled with someone who truly had a horrendous past like Carlos, then how do we see things? The Bible says all sin is equally repugnant to God. It's people that elevate some sins above others. But God's grace extends to us all. Now I won't say that there weren't things that were difficult to understand or to stomach in this story. I think the beauty of this book is that the author takes things that are vile and very difficult to understand and makes you think about them and how true forgiveness extends even that far.

The character Gen in this story was a strong woman in that she really heard from God and wanted to do what He wanted her to do. She wanted to follow God's path and His voice. So would she listen to man's pressure, or would she do what she knew God wanted her to do? I've felt that way at times with my writing. Should I buckle to pressure and not write what I know God wants me to write?

I personally admire people who write brave books like this one -- books that challenge spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Books that expand our capacity for compassion and true Christian love. I can see how some readers may misconstrue the author's intent in this book. The heroine didn't think it was her love that would change Carlos, like many women believe when they hook up with a messed up man thinking he will change if he is really "loved." Gen believed God wanted to show His love to Carlos through her. That's a different perspective entirely. It comes with a lot of prayer. It's not for the weak Christian.

I loved how true-to-life the characters seemed as well as the strong spiritual thread in this story and how it was applied. Rather than spouting platitudes, the author showed through this novel how tough it can be to serve the Lord at times. What a wonderful story with a difficult, but rewarding message. Oh, and it's a bit edgy, too. That just gave it bonus points in my mind because the author addressed some ugly things in life that most Christians would rather ignore than deal with. I highly recommend it.

The Unforgivable was published by Risen Books (D&D) and was released in April 2011.

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