Monday, August 29, 2011
Michelle Buckman's Rachel's Contrition ~ Reviewed
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press (September 30, 2010)
Rachel Winters had nothing, won it all, and then lost everything. After the death of her daughter, grief-spawned delusions cause Rachel to lose her husband, her home, and custody of her son.
Help arrives from two unlikely sources: a young teen, Lilly, battling her own demons, and a tattered holy card depicting Saint Therese of Lisieux.
As Rachel grows closer to Lilly and comes to know Saint Therese, unbidden memories from her edgy past reveal fearful mysteries of seduction, madness, and murder . . . and a truth that will haunt her forever.
A medley of broken people populate Rachel's new world. And her new world is a swirling vortex of denial, grief, abuse, pain and often a prescription drug induced haze.
After the death of her infant daughter Rachel's old world split wide open. Her marriage crashes, her son hates her, her non-life is spent marinating in a musty pool house apartment.
Slowly, healing and reality begin begin to pull Rachel's world back together. With a little help from St. Teresa of Avila, a broken priest and an unlikely alliance with an angry teenager.
Some of this novel was so emotionally difficult to read that I had to set it down. Not for those who can't deal with heavy, heavy topics in their fiction choices. However, Buckman handles mental illness and grief gently and she paints a complex character in Rachel.
Some secondary characters are seen through the haze of over-medication and grief so they are harder to sympathize with and relate to. A couple of unbelievable situations and/or moments caught me off guard.
Buckman handles the Catholic faith with respect and points to hope in a relationship with God, saints, and their earthly helpers.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer