4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
A Religion Called Love by David Trock is the story of kindergarten teacher Kathryn James. She genuinely cares for the children in her class, and they love her. However, some parents dislike Kathryn because she's not religious. When Kathryn gets murdered, some people think it's connected to her ideas even if no clues can confirm it. Her death shocks her hometown in different ways, and a manuscript she was writing about love start getting spread around.
This novel is cataloged as a mystery, but that's only a little part of the story. There's a murder, but the investigation and the trial cover only a few chapters. Probably, experts of the mystery genre will easily figure out who's the murderer, but that's not the point of the novel. In fact, this book is mostly about faith and morality with love at its center. In fact, it advocates the concept that love can be a central force in people's lives without the need of any deity as its source.
Note that this novel is not anti-religion, and David Trock depicted characters that can be good or bad regardless of their religious practice. One of Kathryn's friends is a pastor who is open to at least some of her secular ideas. Most characters are Christian because the story is set in a small town in the USA. The author uses them to show different ways to practice religion. Some people claim they practice a religion of love, but they're hostile to people who have different ideas. Some bad people hide behind religion to create a façade of decency.
I appreciated that David Trock used Kathryn's manuscript to argue his ideas with a positive attitude, without attacking other positions. There are some philosophical concepts behind that idea of love, but the author often uses simple acts to show that in the end it's a way of life, not just a nice theory.
Questions are asked after Kathryn is murdered because some people think that her secular ideas made her a target. An unexpected consequence is that a manuscript she was writing gets spread around, and people talk about its contents, the secular idea of love that needs no deity as its source. Various points of view are offered, and I liked that they give the readers an opportunity to reflect about those ideas.
A great deal of the story is told following Dr. Reed Palmer, one of Kathryn's best friends. He's a medical doctor who cares about his patients, and often talks about medical research with his oldest friend Howell Martin. The author published articles about medical research, so he clearly knows what he's writing about. The occasional use of jargon is justified by some plot developments, but sometimes I felt he used too much of that, and that's the only thing I can say I didn't like about the novel.
The novel includes some profanities, some sexual contents, and some descriptions of violent acts caused by criminal activities, so it's suitable for adults. It's professionally edited with only a couple of formatting problems. Above all, it's a thought provoking novel based on dialogues and reflections. There are some intriguing twists that offer even more food for thought, but there's little action, so the pace is quite slow. Overall, I found its contents very interesting, so my rating is 4 out of 4 stars. If you're open to questions about faith and morality, I recommend A Religion Called Love.
A Religion Called Love
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon