Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer

Remember the Titanic 100 years after its doomed voyage with Tricia Goyer’s fictional portrayal of one woman’s journey. To Amelia Gladstone, this ship means promise of seeing family again. To Quentin Walpole, the Titanic represents a new start in America…if he can get onboard. All seems lost until Amelia offers him a ticket, securing his passage—and bringing him face-to-face with his railroad tycoon father and older brother, Damian. As Amelia works to reconcile father and son, she finds herself the object of both brothers’ affection. Can she choose between two brothers? Or will she lose everything to the icy waters of the Atlantic?

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With the upcoming 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I thought I’d commemorate the event with a few books related to the subject, and like many people, I plan to re-watch James Cameron’s film version as well.  By the Light of the Silvery Moon is one of many literary options available, and one that seemed right up my alley: a novel written by a Christian author with many of the themes that made me love the 1997 film. Its premise offers the romance and adventure of Cameron’s epic, but within Tricia Goyer’s Christian worldview.

Despite the sad, inevitable moments near the end, By the Light of the Silvery Moon was an enjoyable novel.  I liked the main characters, as they frequently were flawed individuals who were just making their way in the world and trying to heal the wounded corners of their hearts.  Amelia Gladstone is sweet without being a Pollyanna, and the men in her life are often complex individuals who aren’t always what they seem to be.

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Although the bulk of the plot is played out on board the doomed vessel, the story really is a bit of a retelling of The Prodigal Son, as seen in Luke 15 in the New Testament. The narrative hits all the main points—
  • A son leaves with his portion of his father’s inheritance
  • Ends up squandering his life away
  • Humbly returns to his joyous father, hoping for a job
  • Father rolls out the red carpet for him
  • Elder brother is resentful of the situation after his years of faithfulness
Tricia Goyer fills out this story, however, adding a tragic history that helps us understand why the elder son felt the need to run away.  Quentin’s story is one of loss and redemption, while finding love with Amelia along the way. Damian’s role as the elder brother is realistic, and he’s humanized in a way that helps us sympathize with him and not paint him with a broad brush of villainy.

My quibbles with Silvery Moon are minor.  Goyer’s style can sometimes be a bit clichéd, as she has an overabundance of similes within her writing.  Matters of the mind and heart are frequently compared to the Titanic and/or the natural elements around her.  And given that the events of the Titanic and The Prodigal Son are a matter of public record, the storylines are a bit predictable.  However, this last point isn’t a strong one for me.  I knew exactly where these characters were headed (save for one which took me by surprise), but it was still an enjoyable ride.  I felt the same in Cameron’s Titanic.  We knew the ship was going down; it was the story attached to it that was also holding our interest.

Of course as a Christian writer, Goyer keeps things very chaste. There are mentions of one character’s prolific sexual lifestyle, but not many details are given beyond that.  There are no curse words printed, but mentioned. Romantic interludes are sweet and very brief.  Religious references aren’t heavy handed, but are sprinkled throughout and are more emphatic near the end.  Certainly any lover of Christian fiction would enjoy Goyer’s writing.

While there wasn't much of a moon the night of the Titanic’s demise, the theme of the old 1909 song "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" runs throughout this sweet story.  You’ll find delightful romance, compelling redemption and riveting action that will keep the pages turning right until the book’s satisfying conclusion. Tricia Goyer has written a pleasant novel that is a great way to not only remember the Titanic disaster, but also to recall Jesus’ messages of redemption for all of us.

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By the Light of the Silvery Moon Book Trailer:

Check out the other stops on the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour
 for By the Light of the Silvery Moon here!

I received this book from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review
and blog tour participation. No other compensation was given.


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