I think of God every time I read a book, watch a movie or sitcom, or listen to a song. I see the Spirit’s subtle hand everywhere. I marvel. Seldom do I see writers treat religion as much more than a cardboard cut-out. The life of faith, which I find fascinating and rich, is often the subject of a joke, and people of faith (regardless of their religion) are cast as simpletons, backwards fundamentalists, terrorists, quaint bumpkins—you get the idea. This gets me sick.
When writers deal with life and death (or everyday) stories and don’t mention religion it is an opportunity lost. I think both those who practice religion and those who don’t, have religious thoughts and ask religious questions. This seldom appears on the page, which is too bad.
Barrie Kirby does it winningly in her novel No Such Thing As A Cherokee Princess. Over the last year, I had the privilege of reading two early drafts of this novel-in-process. The finished project was released this Thanksgiving weekend.
Kirby tells a story that took me spellbound via airplane on a recent trip from Greenville to Grand Rapids with a teary layover in Detroit. Thrice Kirby took me down into cold waters with the gutsy, vulnerable Susan McAlister. And three times I resurfaced with her, gasping—shocked not only by cold, but refreshed and refocused.
Our protagonist is curious enough to slip the straightjacket of the storybook plans she concocted for her life, and brave enough to stay her new course even though she knows not all of the changes she must make are ideal. This is no small adjustment for a young woman who still believes that if she works hard enough and colors inside the lines she can get everything she wants. When shadows become fraught with something more than imagined danger, can the new love she has discovered actually last? Should it? Her friends and family will stand by her, but will that be enough? Susan stands to lose more than her carefully wrought plans, and her new road of hairpin curves may lead out of the valley or over a cliff. There may be a happily-ever-after, but there will also be scars.
No schmaltzy fairy tale, this story is bent towards light and hope even though some things are terribly taken away, many things are necessarily given up, and the truest of things are sought to be restored.
No Such Thing As A Cherokee Princess is available in e-book format on Amazon.com.
I was born and raised in the sight of water in Hampton, Virginia. I was baptized and nurtured in the Presbyterian church. There was never a time when weekly worship attendance, the giving of ...