I have to be honest about this book – I finally finished it but never could get at all involved with the characters. Sometimes a Light Surprises is primarily about a self-absorbed man who essentially ignored his four children for over twenty years after his wife’s unsolved murder. Although the focus was on events and people who influenced Ben’s slow journey toward emotional healing, in my opinion he still remained apathetic and self-centered. His attempts to reconnect with his children were half-hearted at best. At least he did realize what a poor father he had been.
Several other characters in the spotlight included Ben’s daughter Erin, his secretary Caroline, and Kelly, the daughter of his wife’s friend. Each of these women had struggles of her own yet nothing was ever resolved for them. This would leave ample opportunity for a sequel but I can’t say I care enough to find out what happens to them. All things considered, I found the lack of resolution to be somewhat disappointing.
One positive thing I can say is that through dialogue and events the author presented the Lord’s caring involvement in the daily lives of people. However the portrayal of Christians included Shelley and her husband who wanted everyone to know about all their good deeds; Macon Mahoney, a vendor who was portrayed as eccentric; and Kelly, timid and afraid to share her faith. Yes, I know this is realistic – I have known people like each of them – but somehow I felt like an opportunity was missed, especially with Macon Mahoney.
If you like a fast moving, exciting novel, you should probably pass this one by. On the other hand, if you like thought provoking, analytical books, Sometimes a Light Surprises just might be for you.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Ben Buckley has never gotten over the loss of his wife. More bewildering than the mystery surrounding her death is the radical change that occurred in her shortly beforehand–a “conversion,” she had called it. Baffled, angry, and still feeling guilty for the way he’d withdrawn from her during those final weeks, Ben now lives behind the protective walls of severed relationships and rigid routines.
An unlikely young woman knocks on the door of his narrow world. Her simple honesty and childlike faith are incomprehensible to him, but in spite of his misgivings Ben finds himself on a journey he never would have begun on his own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jamie Langston Turner, author of six novels and winner of a Christy Award, has been a teacher for more than thirty years. Currently a professor of creative writing and poetry at Bob Jones University, she lives with her husband in Greenville, South Carolina. Visit www.jamielangstonturner.com