Grass Valley, CA (PressExposure) June 02, 2009 -- From abortion to adult dating to interracial relationships, this book bravely takes on a number of hot-button social issues.
Touching the Brilliance of Sunrise tells us in the subtitle that it's "a novel of faith, love, and second chances." So right away we know where this book is coming from: presumably a relatively conservative worldview. It doesn't backpedal on its core belief system.
Still, it acknowledges that the issues are real in our world, and it tells us what it thinks about them without being too overbearing. For example:
--Adult dating. We find out right away that the central romantic characters are Christians, so we expect certain behaviors. Those who care won't be disappointed. Still, normal feelings and desires are acknowledged.
--Second marriages. The main characters are widowed (her) and divorced (him). Both acknowledge fault in their previous unsuccessful marriages. They also acknowledge some trepidation in trying again, yet they do what they need to do to make it work.
--Step-parenting. The kids in this story love and are loved by the new stepparent-to-be. We know it isn't always this way. But this is a happy story, and with some reasonable and realistic conflicts, they figure out how to become a family.
--Abortion. We don't want to give too much away here, but an abortion figures into a character's past. This fact is presented as the tragedy with long-term consequences that it should be, given the conservative worldview of the book.
--Homosexuality. While this subject is touched on only lightly, it's presented as--while not excused--not an excuse to mistreat another person either, but rather a call for compassion.
--Interracial relationships. A character in the story is the child of a mixed-race relationship. This person is described in a very favorable way and is the object of much attention by persons of opposite sex. A future romantic relationship is hinted at.
--The meaning of family. Divorce, widowhood, stepkids, adoption, pets, extended family, surrogate family, broken relationships, healed relationships...it's pretty much all here. Given the traditional worldview of the story and its characters, a fairly generous definition of family is presented.
Early reviews are favorable. Travel writer Teresa L. Carpenter says, "Some of the best writing I've come across. It had me spellbound as much as the Left Behind series." The book is available from the author's website as well as from Amazon.
Readers looking for a good story without violence or profanity, an upbeat romance with a happy but believable ending, a novel that makes us feel good about life--will be happy to have found Touching the Brilliance of Sunrise.