Sunday, March 25, 2012

After the Snow Falls, Carey Jane Clark (4 stars)

From Amazon: In the middle of a soccer drill, in an awful, awkward moment, Celia Bennett's eight-year-old son Caleb lands on his face and chest in the grass. The diagnosis blindsides her, bringing her face-to-face with every parent's worst nightmare.

Desperate to save her son's life, Celia pursues a cure through alternative medicine, but her quest ends in frustration and disappointment. Facing despair, hope walks in on the most unlikely set of legs, when her father returns after a 30-year absence. Can she release pain to embrace hope? Will it make a difference, or is it too late?

Your heart will belong to the Bennett family from page one. Celia Bennett faces something every parent fears the most, the very real possibility of losing her child. As she’s reeling from the news, the father that abandoned her comes back into her life.

The story alternates between the perspectives of Celia and Alfie, her father. At first, Alfie’s story is an unwelcome diversion from finding out more about Celia and Caleb. But it soon becomes clear just how intertwined the two stories are.

Celia goes through a roller coaster of emotions. The reader follows her from diagnosis to considering alternative medicine, to meeting a parent going through the same thing, and finally to questioning her religious beliefs. There were times I was so entranced by the story that I heard the doctor’s footsteps coming down the hall and cried right along with Celia.

I admit I wanted more from Celia’s journey to Mexico, exploring alternative medicine was a great plot point that was wrapped up a bit too quickly. The characters were well-developed and memorable, except for Celia’s best friend, Sarah. I kept waiting for a better explanation for why she wasn’t there for Celia. But these are nit-picky details in an otherwise inspiring novel.

After the Snow Falls is a compelling story of courage, faith, strength, and love full of characters that will stay with you long after the last page. I walked away from this book feeling stronger and blessed, and I’m sure you will, too.

Rating: 4 stars

Note: I received a complimentary copy to review from World Literary Café. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.