Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Sinner's Garden

Book Review:

The Sinners’ Garden
It is not often that I read a book that is so wonderful that I find it difficult to search out words to tell someone else what I loved about the book. The Sinner’s Garden by William Sirls is such a book. This book had all the traditional literary elements – strong, compelling plot, richly drawn characters – but it also showed the unique ways that God speaks to us. It also showed how God cares and expresses that caring in individual ways. What could be more effective for a teenage boy than having God speak through an ipod? The book showed the power of God and His provision in difficult times for His people through a supernatural garden. What a beautiful expression of God’s love.
Sirls has fashioned characters that became so real it was difficult to give them up at the end of the book. The book consumed me. I was forced to continue reading until I was done. Then, I felt sad that I had read the entire book. I felt a loss in my soul. The characters were ordinary people who had extraordinary things happen in their lives. There was Heather who had not been able to deal with the death of her father. Judi who believed that she deserved the abuse dished out by her ex-husband. And that is only the beginning. The relationship between Rip and nephew Andy is part of what I loved about the book but find if difficult to express the reason why. The plot was exciting and it built over the span of the book. However, I would have loved this book even without the excitement.
If I had a minor complaint it would be the epilogue. It seemed anticlimactic. I felt the ending would have been more effective without the epilogue. However, on the other hand, it did show God continuing to work in the life of another young boy.
The Sinner’s Garden is an amazing book. I recommend it because it is a wonderful story but it also reaches out to the reader and shows how detailed minded God is and how he has special, loving ways to communicate with each one of His children.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden …

Andy Kemp’s young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.
As Andy’s mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help end Andy’s pain. When Andy begins hearing strange music through his iPod and making near-prophetic announcements, Rip is convinced that what Andy is hearing is the voice of God.
Elsewhere, police officer Heather Gerisch responds to a late-night breaking and entering in one of the poorest homes in town. She soon realizes that the masked prowler has left thousands of dollars in gift cards from a local grocery store.
As the bizarre break-ins continue and Heather pursues the elusive “Summer Santa,” Andy and Rip discover an enormous and well-kept garden of wildflowers that seems to have grown overnight at an abandoned steel mill.
Soon, they realize who the gardener is, and a spree of miracles transfigures this small town from a place of hopelessness into a place of healing and beauty.

About the Author:

Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows--some born of chance, some born of choice. Life lessons involving faith, grace, and forgiveness are evident in his writing. "The Sinners’ Garden" is his second novel. His first novel, "The Reason," was published in 2012. William makes his home in southern Michigan and you can reach him at

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