Above the Thorns
by John E. Collier
CAOM Press

"God is the God of Second Chances."

Ever wish there was a rewind button on life? Grief, no matter what form it takes, never smoothes over with time; it just takes on a new form as people learn to adapt, as is the case for Albert and Mary in Collier’s novel. The couple experience a tragedy that is every parent’s worst nightmare—the death of a child.

The story focuses on what it means to heal and live again after an unimaginable loss. Collier draws on many perspectives in the story to paint a picture of what it means to move forward after a death. What looks like a multitude of happy coincidences in Bobby Digger, a sixteen-year-old boy who has the same name as Albert and Mary’s dead son, ends up being the saving grace for both their lives and business. Bobby is endearing, a guiding star for both the couple in the story as well as the reader. Collier uses all three of these characters to artfully teach how one can accept God’s grace even in the darkest of times and choose accordingly.

While the story of Bobby, Albert, and Mary is heartfelt and poignant, the writing is more action-focused than on the internal machinations of the mind. Nonetheless, this does not detract from either the tale or its purpose. It is an emotional ride for any who have lost a parent, sibling, or child and have felt lost in a world that doesn’t understand grief. It is a beautiful telling that will leave mist in one’s eyes, for it is relatable to all walks of life. The author’s book is food for the soul and will be enjoyed by readers who are looking for a saving grace to guide them through the darkest of times.

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