Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review of _A Light in the Darkness_ by Heather Sutherlin

As a follow-up to Heather Sutherlin's post on inspiration, here is my review of her first novel, A Light in the Darkness, a good example of fantasy and allegorical (but not obvious allegory!) presentation of faith.

This is a well written fantasy with memorable characters.  Merrilyn's faith in a forgotten god, Loian, and her strict adherance to her professional principles place a strain on her friendship with Prince Justan.  Had she not been the Alaith, Merrilyn's romantic relationship with Justan could have developed more quickly.  Instead, following her professional call and her faith, Merrilyn finds a new friend--and a love triangle.
This is a fantasy set in a capably-created world where magic is a real threat to the health and security of the people of Justan's kingdom. Merrilyn shares a nearly forgotten faith in a god who guides her personally, and an interesting part of the writing of this novel is how to share something as intimate as one's faith in a way that others will find meaningful and helpful.  That is a difficult theme, and Sutherlin handles it well.
I enjoyed this story and its delicate portrayal of shared belief and the community of women who support Merrilyn's work and encourage her faith.

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