29-year-old Cole Micheal’s had the world at his fingertips… a wonderful career as a musician, a loving wife and a three-year old son that had stolen his heart the moment he was born. Cole thanked God all the time for the incredible blessings in his life.
And then tragedy strikes and all that Cole held near slips through his fingers and there is nothing he can so but painfully watch it go.
How could a loving God allow something like this to happen?
Broken and angry, Cole starts down a path of self-destruction, doing anything to drown out the pain and find peace – and he tries to find it in the bottom of every bottle…
And tragedy strikes again.
Now in prison Cole is swallowed up by his anger. Where is this loving God that his Pastor spoke of? Where is the God who blesses those who live a good clean life? Where is he now that Cole needs Him more than ever?
Or does he need Him? Because who really needs this level of grief?
I have to share a little background story. Many years ago I discovered this author Randall Arthur. I read Wisdom Hunter, Jordon’s Crossing, and Brotherhood of Betrayal. I loved that his books were faith-based, but not sugary sweet. They had real meat to them. Hard issues. Real issues and real situations with three-dimensional characters. I devoured his books and waited for more. And waited and waited. Finally after watching for more books for a couple of years, I forgot about him, although I continued to recommend his books.
A little over a month ago I received an email from…. yup, Randall Arthur. He had a new book out, and seen that I had once talked about his books here. He was wondering if I would consider reviewing Forgotten Road if he sent me a copy.
Seriously, I was floored, not wanting to seem to fan-girly I quickly emailed back a definite YES.
It’s hard when an author you have raved about comes out with a book after many years of drought. You, as the reader have to wonder if the book will live up to the wondrous experiences you have had in the past, you wonder if your memory serves you right – or if over the years you have elevated the writing to a level of fictitious quality…
I need not worry here.
Forgotten Road was everything I had appreciated about Randall Arthur’s writing. This book is not your run of the mill “tragedy, lost God, found God, all was roses for ever and ever…”. Instead, you feel like you could be living in Cole Micheal’s town. You can imagine that you knew this great song writer and fiddler and feel the pain when tragedy strikes his family, not once but twice in rapid succession.
AND you can imagine what you would feel like to hear that this once great man, respected by his community goes off the deep end, drinking and soaking in a deep dark pain. All of this felt like I knew Cole Michael’s…
Written in a way that flashed back to earlier times as piece by piece you get the entire story, occasionally painful – I admit to crying twice while reading.
AND then, along side this story line is another story of a boy named Jesse who is abused at home and very VERY angry. He finds out he is adopted and while that is a relief to know that the man who puts him down and beats him is not his real father, he can not help but hold in contempt the people who gave him up and left him to this hell like life. As Jesse gets older his anger overcomes him and he becomes this beast of a person….
and you have to wonder as his chapters slip between Cole’s what one has to do with the other…
How do I describe such a book? Powerful comes to mind. Out of the cookie cutter Christian fiction box is another. And of course I have to add, a must read. Randall Arthur was worth the wait on this one. Beautifully and well written, if you read Christian fiction or not I am going to tell you that you will not be disappointed with this incredibly real read that even as it came to a close, shocked me again, which to this reader, is a big compliment to the author.