Not a Sparrow Falls
by Linda Nichols
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published 2010, Bethany House
Paperback, 350 pages
Two Desperate People-- One With All the Answers... One With None Mary Bridget Washburn is tired of running, tired of being haunted by the empty shell her life has become. How in the world did the little girl she once was become a woman on the wrong side of the law? Determined to make a new start, she escapes to the quaint city of Alexandria, Virginia, where she takes on her mother's identity and finds sanctuary in the shadow of a decades-old church. But a little girl's plea proves to be her undoing, and the reverend...well, someone's got to open his eyes before disaster comes calling. Can Mary Bridget and her tainted past stay hidden long enough for her to bring hope to a family falling apart?When I first began reading this book, I was a bit hesitant about reading it because it does not fall into the categories of books that I prefer to read. What propelled me to keep reading was my curiousity about the grandmother of the main character, as well as how the plot seemed to sort of verge to the right of what I tried to predict would happen next as I read. I enjoy reading books that are not completely predictable, but not so unpredictable that the events are absurd. This would definitely fall under that heading.
With this book, I got a peak into a lifestyle (of drugs) that I have blessedly never experienced first hand, and it opened my eyes to the desperation and hopelessness that accompanies it. I also got a look into the polar opposite of that lifestyle - that of a pastor and the politics within a specific denomination. Along with these two heavy topics, Nichols also seamlessly weaves the equally heavy topics of depression and suicide beautifully, albeit bittersweetly. I found myself shedding tears over the book, not once, but twice. The wisdom addressing these topics was right on target and fit very naturally into the plot without the book coming across as "preachy." Each of the characters, no matter how small his or her part in the plot, was well-defined and unique, and I appreciated each one. All of the "loose ends" were accounted for and tied up, and every character seemed to reach a place of redemption in their own way.
This book was very satisfying and I am glad I decided to read it.
The Cover: I assume that the woman on the cover is the main character, Mary Bridget Washburn, simply because the book is mostly told from her point of view. The coloring of the cover makes her hair appear darker than the platinum blonde she has towards the end of the book, but too blond to be the brunette that she disguises herself as through most of the plot.She also does not show the scar on her neck that is described in the book, which I think would have been a great addition to the cover. In short, the cover shows little more than the artist's talent for photography.
First Line: "Hattie didn't know exactly what she was praying for."
This first line definitely fits the genre of Christian fiction and it also lends an air of mystery to the beginning of the story, as the reader immediately wonders why the character is praying and if the reader will get to discover who she is praying for, even if the character does not. In short, it's a good first line.
Favorite Quote: "You can't out-sin the cross."
Read For: Pages Read Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*