Levi's Will ;
 

Summer of Light

W. Dale Cramer, Author
W. Dale Cramer, Author . Baker/Bethany House $13.99 (395p) ISBN 978-0-7642-2996-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0072-8
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As its title would suggest, Cramer's fourth novel is lighter and less gritty than its critically acclaimed predecessors (Levi's Will ; Bad Ground ), but it is a thoughtful and engaging read. When ironworker Mick Brannigan loses his construction job, he becomes a stay-at-home dad to his three children. Especially troublesome is four-year-old Dylan, who may have sensory integration dysfunction (and is in trouble for such things as licking the day-care teacher's ankle because he likes the texture of pantyhose on his tongue). The Brannigans' Georgia neighbors include a snobbish, wealthy couple and the contrasting Hap Harrelson, a grizzled fix-it man in unbuttoned overalls who is accompanied by a pack of beagles. A handless, homeless man (who faintly echoes a messianic character in Cramer's debut novel, Sutter's Cross ) serves as sort of a supernatural figure. Layne Brannigan, a paralegal, is a strong woman figure for faith fiction, both nurturing of her family and talented in her profession. Cramer allows Mick to be reasonably competent but thoroughly male in his parenting style, and Mick's discovery of his creative talent for photography is an uplifting addition. Although the plot feels pieced together and Cramer occasionally narrates instead of letting the story unfold, the enjoyable cast of characters will keep the reader interested. (Feb.)

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