4 out of 4 stars
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Readers are introduced to the Engle family as this novel opens. The oldest daughter, Kathleen, carries a family secret. Stephen has a calling to serve humanity and ultimately gives up all worldly possessions in pursuit of that. Clare, who is six, looks to her brother Stephen for guidance and wisdom. Their father, Lawrence, is still consumed with grief over the death of his wife and their mother. Even though two years have gone by, he seems to be going through the motions of life stuck in the mourning process. These are the integral characters that make up the book, Not All of Me is Dust, written by Frances Maureen Richardson.
There are three parts to the story that encompass the years from 1964 to 1994 as each child grows and experiences life. It's as if one is flipping through a photo album with snapshots of achievements and disappointments. The writing is highly descriptive, but the dialogue, which isn't as abundant, holds weight. I found myself sitting up and taking notice when a character was speaking because of its importance to the core idea of the book.
Dealing with loss, infidelity, and sacrifice of self are some of the issues and conflicts the characters face. The book's genre is Christian fiction and focuses on the Catholic faith. The writer included philosophical poetry, historical facts, and quotes from scripture, which are woven beautifully into the story. Readers will instantly be aware that the author has a love for writings of old that still have significant meaning to our era. Victor Frankl and his work, Man's Search For Meaning, seems to be near and dear to the writer's heart, and she uses his message quite exquisitely as a theme.
There wasn't anything I didn't like about this book. The writing was exceptionally done with only three minor errors earning it 4 out of 4 stars. While there is absolutely no foul language used, there are a few scenes of violence and suggested sexual encounters that some may find offensive. None of the intimate scenes are too graphic but are left up to the reader's imagination. There is a bit of brutality toward humanity. However, this author chooses her words carefully so that the reader gets the idea of what is happening versus long, oppressive details. I mention both of these issues in case some readers prefer no sex or violence in their reading material.
Furthermore, some may not prefer to read about this particular religion and its practices. For those who like a moving, deep story that involves Catholicism, this may be of interest.
Not All Of Me Is Dust
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