I don’t know about you, but I have been known to get into a bit of reading rut. In my other life away from Three Ladies, I oversee a small (very small) church bookstore whose policy is to review the material we sell. That, my friends, means I do more reading than the average person. The blessing is that I regularly read essentially every genre of Christian book that you would find in a bookstore. The struggle? I regularly read essentially every genre of Christian book that you would find in a bookstore.
While we do carry fiction, there is both limited room and demand for it in our tiny space, so it’s mostly nonfiction for me. After a season of particularly weighty reads, I was ready for something a little different. So when Tyndale House floated the offer to read Francine Rivers newest offering I was ready for a change of pace.
The Masterpiece is a contemporary story, set in California. What happens when two people with similar pasts, have similar hurts and find themselves together in very different places in life? Rivers gives us two characters whose lives intersect; Roman, graffiti artist turned accomplished muralist and sought after modern artist and Grace, a single mom facing hard choices for her child’s future who takes a job as personal assistant to Roman. The haves and the have nots in this story reveal not only a contrast of financial security but also of spiritual security.
The way they respond to each other becomes more clear as their backstories unfold with the inserting of flash backs to each character at the same age; Roman at 15, Grace at 15, Roman at 7, Grace at 7. This is where we begin to discover their similar backgrounds and experiences, and see how those things shaped them into the people they are today. Because this is Francine Rivers, the slender thread of God’s grace is seen throughout their stories, and culminates in redemption.
While there was a predictable element to the characters and the conclusion, it was a consoling prediction, like hearing someone who you know to be redeemed share how they got that way. You know the end of their story first, but there is still an anticipation as the details unfold. The Masterpiece is similar, the story flows well, and despite its length, I finished the book quickly.
I particularly like the way the two characters had assumptions about the other that were dispelled as they worked together and learned more about each other. Both were accomplished people in many ways, and both still having jagged brokenness in themselves. There were some aspects of this part of the story that were thought provoking about myself and people I know. While an easy read, the story had some weight to it.
There is a section of questions for a book group included, and a story about the cover art and how God brought just the right artist for the project. The Masterpiece was a refreshing and fun reading break for me, and if you are a fan of contemporary Christian fiction, The Masterpiece is a worthy read.
Read well, friends!
Tyndale House Publisher, February 2018
484 pages, plus book group questions
***Thank you Tyndale Publishing for providing a free copy to review for threeladiesoflit.com and book retailers.***This post contains affiliate links, which means purchase made from said links provides a tiny remuneration to the ladies.***