On the other side of the world from Arkansas, a young missionary named Benton Sage works desperately in Ethiopia to please his father and get a grasp on his faith. His disgraceful return to the United States sets off a chain of events that lead to the woodpecker, Cullen, Gabriel's disappearance, and the once-dull town of Lily.
At first, I was wondering how the stories of Cullen Witter and Benton Sage would intertwine in a logical way, but the climax was a beautiful weaving of the lives of two very different and complex characters. The ending left me with no questions, just a satisfied feeling. Though dark and suspenseful, the story had an overall whimsical feel to it, and the chapters from Cullen's perspective read exactly as if I were being told the story by an imaginative and sarcastic seventeen-year-old boy. This was a beautiful debut novel with a perfect balance of sadness and hope, and it painted a great portrait of how extraordinary things can happen in the most unlikely of places.
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tarpon Springs, Florida United States