Song of Renewal by Emily Sue Harvey is quite simply a beautiful book with a equally beautiful cover. It’s a short novel at 150 pages but it packs a powerful message. It has a vast array of elements ranging from loss, grief, betrayal, trust issues all the way to faith and hope. It is beautifully written, inspirational, and I found it a delight to read even though at times it had me in tears and some of those were happy tears too.
This story is focused on the Wakefield family – Garrison, Liza and their sixteen year old daughter Angel. Angel wants to go to a concert with her boyfriend Troy and asks her father who promptly says no. The weather is bad, it’s not safe. Angel is upset and goes to her mother and begins to play each parent off the other until Liza tells her she can go to the concert. Later Garrison is upstairs working and Liza relaxing when the doorbell rings. The worst has happened, Angel has been in an accident and Troy has been killed.
Immediately the blame game begins. The Wakefield marriage had already been on rocky ground with Garrison being busy with work and Liza busy with the various committees she was on. The accident and Angel being in a coma with severe injuries throws a huge wall up in the marriage. Garrison can’t help but blame Liza – why did she let Angel go when he had said no? If only she hadn’t done that. Liza just keeps thinking if only she hadn’t let her go; she would still be home with them and still be whole.
Some of the most intense parts of the book for me were the parts where Angel, in her coma, is experiencing things around her and is feeling pain, but she has no way of communicating. She’s wondering what’s happening to her, she’s terrified but her one solid thing in this silent world right now is Troy. Angel’s thoughts while in her coma…
- ‘Floating…floating…why couldn’t she move, dang it?…tightness, like a coil, intruding on the blasted nothingness…coil pulls pulls pulls…Snap! Blackness.’ (pg 33)
- ‘Fog moved in…gloom spread…darker…the warmth of him abruptly left her and she shivered. Nonono. Icy fingers clutched her as peace shattered in a million directions…Angel tumbled headlong into darkness.’ (pg 43)
Garrison and Liza are struggling. They have both retreated into their shells and the only place they truly come together is over their daughter’s hospital bed. Garrison has escaped into his painting and Liza into her ballet. They are constantly wondering if Angel will survive this and come out of her coma? Will their relationship stand the stress if she doesn’t? It is through their passions and this tragedy that they learn to forgive and see the light of life again and this leads them on the path to the renewal of their relationship once again.
There are so many things one can take away from this emotionally charged novel but I think the biggest is to remember that in life there is always hope, faith and renewal – you only have to lead yourself in that direction. It shows us the importance of listening to your children, to each other. Don’t try to live someone else’s life for them; share it with them instead. Let them live their dreams. You don’t want to ever have nothing left but regrets. Hope is a much better promise to be left with.
Song of Renewal will tug at your heart but leave you with a feeling of hope. This novel does have a Christian element but it is very subtle and fits so well with the story. The characters are well written and very real. You feel yourself in the story, feeling their pain, fear and uncertainties and you catch yourself hoping with them that things will be allright even in the face of such a tragedy.
Emily Sue Harvey is the host of the website Renewal Stories and you should pop by and check it out as well as her blog here. This is Emily Sue Harvey’s first novel and I sure hope we’ll see more from her. You can buy Song of Renewal here in the US and here in Canada.
Many thanks to Joy Strazza for my copy of Song of Renewal. Please be sure to pop by Peeking Between the Pages tomorrow when Emily Sue Harvey joins us with a guest post that comes straight from her heart and just gave me chills to read.