Still Life by Christa Parrish

Book description:

Ada escaped her family’s self-enclosed world to elope with a mysterious stranger. Five months later, she’s a widow in a strange new world.

Ada was born into a fringe religious sect named for her father, The Prophet. But her lifelong habit of absolute obedience was shattered when she fled the family compound to elope with photographer Julian Goetz.

Katherine Walker’s marriage was a sham. She and Will rarely spoke without yelling—and never touched. Her affair brings her both escape and guilt.

When a tragic plane crash takes Julian from Ada and exacerbates Katherine’s sense of shame, both women become desperately unsure of where they belong in the world—until the devotion of an artistic young boy conspires to bring them together.

From award-winning novelist Christa Parrish, Still Life is a cunningly complex work that captures themes of abusive religion, supernatural love, and merciful escape. It will resonate with anyone who has ever felt called to a drastic change—or tried to hear the small whisper of God’s voice.

My review:

It is very rare when a novel offers such an honest look at the best and worst of humanity in such a captivating way.  There is so much beauty to be found in the pages of this book, not only in the heroic and self-sacrificing character of Julian, but in the courage of Ada, Will, and Katherine.

Parrish gives readers characters that are multi-faceted, but reveals them to us slowly in ways that we can identify different aspects of our own hearts in each one.  I personally love novels that don’t necessarily end in a happy ending, but one in which the reality of life shines through.  Obviously, Julian and Ada do not have a happy ending, but we see how Julian’s strength of character is able to help his damaged wife continue to heal even after he is gone.

This is one of those books that stays with you even after you finish the last page.  You close the book and sigh as you imagine what will come next for the characters that you have grown to care about so much.  It is the first book that I have read by Parrish, but I will definitely seek out another one of her books very soon.  It is a very powerful book.

If you love books that give a realistic look at all the good and bad that humanity has to offer, this is the book for you.  It is a great book to end January with and sets the bar very high for February’s novels.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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