Book Review: As I Have Loved You

July 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Reviews

By Roseanna White of CRoB      

Novel by Nikki Arana
Wow.  Really, that’s the first word that springs to mind when you ask me to sum up Nikki Arana’s new release, As I Have Loved You.  She grabbed me in the prologue, when she parts the misty veil between heaven and earth and reveals the plan of God in one boy’s life, and she kept me hooked until the last page.  This book made me cry—which is a real feat—and kept me thinking for days on end.

Leigh Scott is a woman who has worked hard to win that morsel of security in her life, and now everything rests on her son.  Jeff’s been fighting severe ADD all of his life, but he’s finally almost done with college and has a career lined up.  She’s had to give up many of her own dreams to help her son reach his, she’s had to protect him from her disaster of a marriage so that he carried only good memories of his father.  Now it’s finally time to focus on herself a little, to turn her modest writing career into one worthy of the call she feels on her life.  But how is she supposed to focus on the proposal that’s been requested when Jeff’s spending so much time with a girl that can only mean trouble?

Jeff’s always seen thing in people that others don’t.  And in Jessica he sees a beautiful girl with auburn hair who’s been hurt so much but has always managed to rise above it.  His mom doesn’t much like their blossoming relationship, but how can he deny Jessica when their friendship is all she has?  Still, he doesn’t intend things to go the way they go.  And when the situation gets continually worse, he’s not sure how to repair the damage.  All he knows is that he loves both women and will do whatever it takes to keep them both in his life.

The touch of the Holy Spirit plays a huge role in As I Have Loved You, and the story addresses the struggle and misconception that can go hand and hand with seeking that power, as well as the beauty and grace that accompany it when it finds a pure and open heart.  The characters are deep and flawed and fighting desperately for their faith, but each chapter hammers home the lesson of the title: that if we’re to truly please Him, we must love one another as He has loved us.

Arana manages something spectacular in this book.  Her writing is a scalpel that cuts straight into the heart, and she reveals truths that both hurt and heal.  As we look into the deepest longings of Leigh and Jeff and Jessica and John, an old friend of Leigh’s, we see different sides of the same problem, different wounds seeking the same balm.  Each character grows and shifts and changes, alternately taking steps forward on the path to God and then slipping away down the path to self.  But it’s the journey they each choose to make that really illuminates the depths of humanity within them; and it’s the place they finally reach that made me blink back tears and wonder what wonders await me behind the misty veil.

Review provided by the Christian Review of Books.  Their website can be found at www.christianreviewofbooks.com

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