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Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith

This is one of those novels where I must be careful not to share too much so when you pick up this marvelously penned novel there will be nothing to hold you back from being surprised. A surprise indeed. I am new to James Bryan Smith. The cover caught my attention. I didn't even read an excerpt. It simply looked inviting. I didn't know the blessing that was in store for me.

The writing is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis. Such wisdom and beauty weaved into a tale of truths that leads the reader to ponder as each sentence is absorbed. A novel that is tender, rich, and poignant. Forgiveness, redemption, and hope are entwined within these pages that hold a story that brings the reader to a whole new place in faith. Restored faith and a touch of the unknown coming into view and a dose of {everything} is possible with God.

The author of this novel was on overload. Three deaths so close together caused this man of faith to question everything, to grow angry, and to walk away from all that he knew as truth. His friend, Rich Mullins, died in a car crash in 1997. Six months later his daughter died and then not two years later he said goodbye to his mother. Now he is crushed by a weight that has caught his breath. All of these things are true for the author of this precious novel. He needed some time of quiet. During that time a dream of sorts came to life. It is through this dream that the story unfolds into a beauty that I cannot quite capture with my inadequate words. James felt the desire to share his story and through the telling of this fictional novel truth rings loudly to every heart opened as they read this novel.

This was first released back in 2000. It was updated and released again in 2007. Where I have been that I have missed this masterpiece? Maybe today is God's perfect timing. In September it will be a year that my friend said goodbye to her fifteen year old son. For anyone who has had to say goodbye this novel will pierce your soul and awaken your heart anew. This is a novel for everyone. It is truly poetic beauty.

We have such questions beyond a depth of what we can comprehend. Through the telling of the dream that awakened James we will find ourselves pondering heaven and one may even have their eyes opened to just what could be possible.

In the novel James has changed the names of the persons he has said goodbye to except his daughter's name. I love that Rich wrote a song for her. Rich died before this song could be placed on his next album. As James (Tim Hudson) tells the story we see God's goodness and glory unfold. We see Him reach down into the soul of James and bring healing to his heart, body, and soul.

This is a short novel, but one that I didn't rush through. I wanted to take my time as I turned the pages. Such beauty I didn't want it to end too soon. This is certainly a wonderful working of seeing what happens when we surrender all and trust our God.

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

James Bryan Smith teaches theology at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. His previous books include A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (coauthored with Richard Foster), and Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven. Jim and his wife, Meghan, have two children, Jacob and Hope.

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