Gather sticks along the way by Tyler Mills

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Helllllllo readers – bit of an apology review. This was supposed to go up last month and was all scheduled and written up and wordpress decided to delete it and leave me without a back-up and I just haven’t got round to re-writing up which is a bit slapped wrist for this blogger – however I finally managed to recover my notes and get this all written up for the second time. Apologies to the wonderful author Tyler Mills for understanding my techno-fail; enjoy the review bookworms.

When God commanded Abraham to carry Isaac up the mountain, the boy was told by his father to gather sticks to build an altar. With each piece he gathered he unknowingly contributed to his own sacrifice. But before the blade would fall an angel of God would appear. The entire parable hinged on Abraham’s faith in God’s plan and his determination to carry it out with his own hands.

Charles is an average man. He has a loving family and is solid in his own beliefs. But his faith is soon tested with the loss of his son and Charles becomes a man driven by the need for answers. He needs to know what happened to his child and is prepared to do anything to find out. As simple actions by multiple individuals begin to unfold, a tragedy is formed and Charles is caught in the middle. Throughout it all he knows he is not alone. He knows God is with him. As Charles begins to see signs of what he believes to be the truth behind his son’s disappearance, he’s unsure if these come from God or if they are just coincidences. Is it his vengeance that propels him or is he just doing God’s plan? His faith will either see him through this catastrophe or cause him to lose all he has left.

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I’m not going to write too much in terms of the blurb because I think it’s quite well described there which is always wonderful. Blurbs are really tough to write and it’s a fine line between too much and too little but I think that sells it without giving too much away just perfectly. The plot line follows the disappearance of a pastor’s son and the way that he deals with his faith during this time and the honest and heart-breaking reactions and feelings of his lovely family. The plot line revolves around the location of a known sex-offender and the added anguish this adds to the already upsetting story.

I thought this book and story line was really powerful – I don’t read a lot of books that focus so strongly on religion because it’s not something I tend to enjoy but  I wanted to see how well the religious side was weaved into the story and it was managed so not to overwhelm the original plot line. Most of the content follows the idea of being challenged throughout our lives and we see Charles as he struggles at times to understand his faith through the misery he is feeling through the loss of his child. It was interesting to see the relationship between Anne and Charles change and grow through this and reading along I was really pulled into the story as a whole. I thought that the idea of the pastor being a normal human with flaws and struggles was really well voiced; we see Charles struggle to tell the truth to the police and dealing with his own guilt – it is a really well established story.

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 The writing is quite concise and overall not overly descriptive although it does engage the reader. For me it could be a little more evocative but it does move with pace (seeing as the book is only a mere 96 pages it kind of has too) but that doesn’t mean you feel you’re missing out. Instead it’s the perfect book to get read on your lunch break or on the train journey home/. This does mean that the book tends to focus just on this plot line and it just works because we’re so focused on this but I always like a few interweaving ones to really engage the reader especially if the religious story line doesn’t really appeal but that’s just me. Couple of tiny grammatical errors that could be ironed out but another small point.

Overall a lovely little read especially if you’re looking for something that pulls on your heartstrings a little. The writing is simple but effective and the ending is brilliantly thought through and definitely made me sit up and remember this book. Not perfect for me because of the religious themes but overall something I’m very happy to have read.

Linnnnnks

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