This month, the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour is for The Restorer: A Novel (The Sword of Lyric, Bk. 1) by Sharon Hinck.
Susan Mitchell, frazzled stay at home mom of four, retreats up to the sanctuary her husband built for her in the attic and reads about Deborah, a Judge (leader) of ancient Israel, but is interrupted by strange noises. She investigates, accidentally activates a hidden portal to a world uniquely Hinck’s, and finds herself in a land that desperately needs her to be their Deborah.
Now, there is a logical reason for there to be a portal to another dimension in her attic, but I can’t share it without revealing one of numerous plot twists. Nor does that tidy plot summary really do the book justice. Per the cover blurb, Hinck indeed zigs where most readers would expect a zag.
Honestly, I was quite impressed with this one. Clean style, with sparse few mechanical kinks, and an awesome heroine.
I absolutely loved Susan, precisely because she isn’t the typical headstrong spitfire most go with. Susan, instead, is, well, a mom, and not just any mom, the kind that doesn’t like the sight of blood, is afraid of spiders, and compares unfamiliar housing to her younger children’s playdoh villages. In waking up in a world completely alien to ours, she thinks she’s either dreaming or crazy like most of us would. When she’s not getting swept into the local politics or into the local military, she’s lonely, misses her husband and children, has moments where she wishes her husband was there to help her, and where she just wants to go home, especially when things get tough. She’s weak in ways many readers will be able to identify with.
But–and this is the but that makes her such an awesome heroine–she rises above herself to become in His strength everything God made her to be at this moment in time. As far as heroes go, she’s more like Paul–someone who’s taken a path we can realistically follow (portal to an alternate reality not required.)
My only caveats: 1) The redheaded, green eyed characters. Personally, I didn’t care much for sharing those traits with a race of demoniacs that poison minds with lies (though that whole thread is a reason to read the book in and of itself) Which leaves caveat 2) The ending. Hinck went for the cliff hanger to draw the reader into the next book in the series. I understand the mechanics/plot considerations that went into it as a writer, but found it annoying as a reader. So this is just one small thing to consider if you prefer an ending with all the majors threads nicely tidied up and some kind of assurance to the general health and safety of a character you’ve been emotionally invested in for 400 pages or so.
But, if you believe in miracles, and that God can and will intervene on the behalf of His people if we will keep faith, if you’re looking for an everyday hero rather than larger than life, you’ll likely love The Restorer, too.
Good review. I agree with you about the ending. I would have read the next book with or without that cliffhanger 🙂
Thanks, Grace 🙂 I had the same thought. But I’m not sure what else she could have done with the way she constructed her plot. Boy is Susan glad she didn’t let. . . oh wait. That might spoil the plot 🙂
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