Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Missing Isaac penned by Valerie Fraser Luesse

This was a gem of a read. We travel through the years of 1962-1968 as we follow Pete, a young teen at the beginning of the story, but as we come to a close in the novel we see through these years he grows in great depths. 

This young boy faces loss, a loss I faced at the age of nineteen. Losing his dad greatly impacted his life. We see the character of his father through Pete's life. He lives a life of honor and doesn't allow trial or tragedy to cause him to choose a different way of life. He stays grounded in the foundation that his parents gave him. This is a wonderful trait to see in a character. He was easy to love. 

In the title, Missing Isaac, well, it fits perfectly. Isaac is another figure in the novel that stands out. He worked the land, but he was much more than a hired hand. He was a friend to the family. Pete's dad and Isaac shared a deep friendship. After the death of Pete's dad, Isaac steps in even more so to walk this journey with Pete. 

Friendships between these characters is sometimes hard to find in our world today. But Luesse gives us a great gift to look back in time when things really weren't so different as today. If we really look hard we can find those who are willing to walk the walk and talk the talk of a life of faith. I love how faith is woven throughout this novel. It is gently shared in the lives of the characters as we see them struggle and try to overcome the curve balls life throws at us at warp speed. Sometimes as we see there isn't much time to get over one hit before another is thrown our way. 

I love that this fictitious novel is grown in Glory, Alabama. Glory indeed is what we are invited to see. These characters are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We see priority and people doing what's right even when it's not understood by others. We see characters standing up for those they love, fighting for justice for those who no longer have a voice, all in a place where there is judgement if your different. 

We see the color of our skin shouldn't make a difference in how we are accepted, but because all of our colors are different we should embrace and celebrate the heart of man inside out. 

I really loved this novel. What a wonderful debut for this author. I cannot wait to see what's next. One thing I loved was the older characters who walk in such mighty faith and trust, who give advice with love and kindness. Characters who give without wondering what the cost is for them. 

We travel with Pete as he misses Isaac. We too get to see the legacy of Isaac. He wasn't a perfect man. Oh, but if not for the grace of God there go I. But what Isaac had was a deep love for others, whether for friend or for stranger, he was willing to give all of himself. 

I loved the relationships and how the author gave us such a powerful portrayal of what life is like when we dare to take a chance on really caring, seeing beyond ourselves, and being willing to spend time with another, not so much for our benefit, but for the blessing to reach far beyond just {me}.  

This novel was a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you. 

Valerie Fraser Luesse is an award-winning writer and a senior travel editor for Southern Living. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana's Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She lives in Alabama. 


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