BOOK NOOK: ‘Cross Roads’

Is the calendar wrong? I wondered. It says “April.”

Wet, gray and shivering, Thursday was a stubborn throwback to winter.  Hardly a day for a spring picnic. It was, however, a perfect day for hot chocolate, a crackling fire, and a new book.

I skipped into the library and snagged Cross Roads off the shelf for one reason: I absolutely loved author Wm. Paul Young’s prior novel, The Shack.

I wanted more.

Be advised that although similar themes emerge in both books, Cross Roads is not a sequel to The Shack. It is a completely separate and distinct work centered on uber jerk and self-made business tycoon Anthony Spencer of Portland, OR. Ruthless, self-centered, and “hopelessly” broken, this guy makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like a piker. Until he’s felled by a brain tumor, winds up in a coma, and wanders into a ramshackle ranch house he should recognize but doesn’t.

Along the way, Spencer meets an entire cast of notables. Like single mom Molly Perkins, her ebullient sixteen year-old Down syndrome son “Cabby,” and her fourteen year-old daughter Lindsay who’s fighting for her life in Pediatric Oncology.

Also the lovable Maggie, Molly’s best friend and nurse extraordinaire, as well as her reluctant sweetheart, Officer Clarence Walker.

Robust and rich, this fictional story is both whimsical and deep. Mesmerizing. Compelling. Gentle and firm at the same time. Part Pilgrim’s Progress, part A Christmas Carol, and part War Room, Cross Roads is all heart. And hard to put down.

I especially enjoyed meeting old friends along the way as their quotes head each chapter. Oh, and the addition of Jack-From-Ireland? Delicious! (If you know Aslan, you’ll recognize Jack instantly.)

A word about the plot. Introducing Molly, Cabby and Maggie a little sooner – perhaps before Tony meets “Grandmother” – may have made more sense. But let’s not get picky here.

Wait. The rains have stopped. Is that a ray of sunshine?

Talitha Cumi.


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