ATONEMENT FOR EMILY ADAMS
by Susan R. Lawrence
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
978-1-941103-01-2, 254 pages
Emily Adams is wracked with guilt after accidentally hitting and killing ten-year-old Isaiah Nelson with her car. Her attempts to make up for the wrong strain her relationships, and her life increasingly falls into disarray. Meanwhile, Isaiah’s family members wrestle with their grief; Isaiah’s father, consumed with rage, files a wrongful death suit against Emily. Everyone involved struggles with trying to find closure and provide forgiveness.
Lawrence tells a richly detailed and believable, if somewhat, predictable story. Some characters seem one-dimensional, and others, such as Isaiah and his grandmother, Donna, appear almost too good to be true. The plot is fairly simplistic and it strays into excessive, sappy emotion at times. However, Atonement effectively and biblically explores the difficulty and necessity of forgiveness. The characters’ relationships (and struggles) with God and with one another reflect reality and ultimately inspire positive change.
Overall, Atonement is solid, wholesome Christian fiction. It is worth mentioning that, according to the author’s note, all author’s royalties from sales of this novel go to Pour International, a charity. Due to some heavy content (tragic death of a child and a non-explicit rape scene), this book is most suitable for audiences aged 13 and older.
Katherine Hiegel of Mundelein, Illinois, is a professional writing major at Taylor University and a freelance writer for Church Libraries and The Aboite Independent.