By Michele & Jamie Eliassaint
WestBow Press, $22.95, 289 pages
While there can be sweetness in a story of redemption, everything falls flat when moralism rise above the action, forcing characters into plastic roles that never speak of anything more than the lesson we are about to learn. Unfortunately Michele and Jamie Eliassaint’s God’s Plan and the Glory Thereof falls into this didactic trap.
“Amy stood in front of the mirror and gazed at herself. She wore a white princess-shaped dress, lace with vertical features flowing from her shoulders down to a flared skirt, creating an inverted V-shaped trail of about four feet, and a long veil held by a hairpiece that went down to her trail. She had on light makeup that brought out her hazel eyes, while her red lipstick seeped into her lips. Looking at her reflection, she smiled.”
The protagonist, whose life mirrors that of Michele Eliassaint, is born into a world where her loved ones are stripped away, one by one, until she is alone. Despite a life of tragedy and naysayers, Amy Rebecca Williams continually rises above the fray, holding firmly to an unwavering faith in God. And while her steadfastness is admirable, we are never privy to the likely complexity that comes before acceptance; instead, we only hear the moral, and even that is delivered – again and again – with a stiffness that belies Amy’s humanity: “I wish I knew my biological parents,” Amy says in Chapter 8. “It is so hard to live not knowing who I am or where I came from. But I’m very pleased with your company, Auntie Amelia. I thank God that Uncle John gave me a good foundation before he left me forever.” In short, the story behind God’s Plan and the Glory Thereof holds promise, but the delivery is unfortunately shallow.
Reviewed by Jennie A. Harrop