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The Stone Pillow Paperback – September 19, 2017
About the Author
Summer Kinard is a Greek Orthodox Christian who homeschools her five children (four of whom are autistic), sings opera, and writes books on Faith, Tea, and Love. She holds an M.Div. (2003) and Th.M. (early church history and theology, 2005) from Duke University Divinity School. Texas Tea & Travel magazine called her novel Tea & Crumples an “uplifting story that will warm your heart and renew your faith.” She has a scriptorium in her home and grace stuck in her craw.
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Enjoy the journey! ❤️🙏🏼😀
The writing is luminous and passionate, full of magic and miracles. Kinnard has managed to make us believe in the holiness of Romance, indeed, has illustrated the close connection between spiritual and romantic ecstasy. What Angus and Ariadne share is true intimacy, a holy bond that parallels the stories of Christ as the Bridegroom. Secular romance novels look like cheap imitations of the real thing that Kinnard has written about.
It's important to note that this is an Orthodox Romance. As an Evangelical Christian, I found all the ritual, discussions of saints' lives, and reverence for icons illuminating, introducing me to a branch of Christianity that I was not familiar with. But I am glad I discovered Kinnard's brand of spirituality. I will certainly look for more of her work!
It's a short novel, but it's beautifully written, well paced and envelopes you in a complete world of visions, Scottish brogue, chilly autumn walks along a sea coast and bright, star-filled nights that show the glory and wonder of the Lord. Summer shows us what it is to see through the thin places of the world, to the colourful, brilliant world of the spiritual that is always there if we only have the eyes to see.
It's a book about dreams. The dreams are so vivid, and so important to the story, that you might mistake the book for magical realism. But like another Orthodox Christian book that explores the relationships between ancient saints and modern people (Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin), to class it as magical realism is to misunderstand what's going on.
Of course, it's a romance, a very different sort of read than Laurus. And where Laurus treated his love interest as a possession, Angus, Ariadne's love interest in the book, treats her with deep and profound respect. He respects her work. He respects her faith. He never asks her to be anything less than what she is. He encourages her to reach for the stars and beyond.
I love the fact that the author doesn't explain Ariadne's Orthodox Christian faith, and how it impacts her life. When you are part of a minority faith or a minority culture, and you read a book that's set in your own culture, those sorts of explanations are unnecessary and annoying. And if you're not part of the faith or culture that's represented in the book, the explanations are patronizing. I like it when authors trust their readers, as Summer Kinard does.
I was given a copy of this book for review.
I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I struggled over my rating for this book. Mainstream Christian readers will likely struggle more, as many elements of Ariadne's faith are left without explanation. Readers are dropped right into the middle of the conflict, and may be confused for a while about the true state of things. Trusting readers, however, will be rewarded with exquisite characterization, stunning visions and the naming of a longing that lurks deep in their hearts. The beauty outweighs the flaws, but I wish the author had spent more time on the nuances that could have elevated the book further.