Nov 12, 2011

A Novel With a Celtic Heart

Review: There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

It's not often a book review finds its way onto this blog. It has to have an Irish and/or Celtic connection, and of course it has to inspire me. If you look back in this blog's archives, you might think I don't read much. You'd be wrong. I read a lot. I just don't find many books to review here.

So I was delighted to find that my friend, Jenny Jones, had written a novel set in Ireland. Jenny is a wonderful novelist who has written several contemporary romances/woman fiction, and YA. She's won several awards. I've enjoyed her books, but this one is the one that touched my heart. I'll tell you why.

It's a book about a young girl named Finley Sinclair who goes to Ireland to live with a host family and attend school while she prepares an original composition on her violin for an audition she hopes will get her into a music conservatory in New York. On the plane to Ireland she meets a handsome movie star, a teenage heartthrob named Beckett Rush. Finley doesn't want anything to do with him, however. She's still hurting over the death of her brother two years ago, and she hopes that retracing his steps when he visited Ireland (by way of his journal) will help her heal and inspire her to finish her piece for the audition, which she just can't seem to find the ending to.

The book visits themes of high school bullying, eating disorders, and family disfunction (including her own unwillingness to communicate with her family back home, Beckett's domination by his father, and the broken relationship of a dying nursing home resident Finley is assigned to as a school project.) As Finley goes to the places her brother visited, the wonder of the Creator comes alive--as you will understand if you've ever been to Ireland. But Finley doesn't think God hears her prayers. Why try?

There is one place in Finley's brother's journal that Finley, and Beckett her guide, have trouble finding. All they have is a photograph of a Celtic cross, and how many of those are there in that country? How she finds what she is looking for, and how she's healed is something you'll want to find out for yourself. But the ancient landscape and the history of faith on that island have something to do with it.

You'll find my name, along with other writer friends, mentioned in the acknowledgments for helping pray Jenny through the writing of this book. She admits that this book "kicked my tail." I don't think she'd want to revisit the difficult time she had in writing this, but that's probably why the book feels so authentic. Finley struggled to find her way to the end of the song for her brother. She planned to take this journey alone in a foreign land. That didn't happen. Many others went with her. What she found was worth the journey.

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