And since it's summer, isn't it time to take a break from it all, chill a bit and refresh our exhausted, over-worked adrenals? If compassion fatigue has set in, maybe it's time to take a powder and grab a delightful, yet deeply worthwhile book.
To wit: The Awakening of Miss Prim promises to fill the bill and deliver refreshment to the heart, mind and soul. I need it desperately.
Trevin Wax, managing editor at The Gospel Coalition, writes the book review:
The Awakening of Miss Prim, the debut novel from Spanish journalist Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera has become an international bestseller – which surprises me, but only slightly. Critics are saying it is beautifully written, distinctive and inspiring. The Huffington Post describes it as “an ode to the simple joys of life.”Great review Trevin, just ordered my copy from Amazon yesterday and it's on its way to me here in Jackson Hole. If you wonder where I've gone, worry no further...it's to The Awakening of Miss Prim, and also to Carolyn Weber's fabulous novel, Surprised By Oxford. But more on that later.
The book merits such praise, but Fenollera’s work is much more profound. With a generous serving of tea and cake, The Awakening of Miss Prim subverts the secular worldview and challenges contemporary orthodoxy regarding marriage, the economy, the place of religion, what constitutes progress, and the definition of feminism.
Fenollera’s tender treatment charms the reader into wanting the main character (Miss Prim) to give up her stubborn, secular ways and give in to the dazzling mystery of the Christian faith.
A Brief Summary
A well-educated woman (Prudencia Prim) moves to the village of San Ireneo de Arnois and takes a job as the private librarian for an eccentric man (think, C. S. Lewis), a master of languages who carefully tends to the education of multiple children. He is also a practicing Catholic with a deep appreciation for gifts inherited from Western civilization. As Miss Prim gets to know her boss, the children, and the people who make their homes in this village, she finds herself drawn to different belief system and new way of life. A good premise. A Spanish setting. Good characters. Fenollera delivers these and more.
The beauty of this book is its portrait of Christianity as a life-giving vision of the world. Awakening won’t let the reader reduce the convictions of the religious townspeople to merely a private, individualized assent to doctrine. Because the convictions at the heart of this world are good, true, and beautiful, the surrounding community (including the skeptics and agnostics) are drawn to its light.
There is plenty of logic and reasoning in Miss Prim, but it’s mystery that draws the reader in.
Following the threads and the hints and clues make you wonder how a little village like this can exist, until you arrive at the fountain – the source of inspiration for Western culture.
Some will categorize the story as a romance. Perhaps. But it’s more like a detective story in which the protagonist is falling in love, not just with a man, but with the Author who has written the story of our world.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think you will, too.
I will be along here sporadically this summer cause I need to fill my tank with lots of light and utter simplicity.