cover image Resurrection in May

Resurrection in May

Lisa Samson, Thomas Nelson, $14.99 paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-59554-544-2

Samson (The Passion of Mary-Margaret) goes after the big enchilada of theodicy—why a good God would permit evil—in this tale of a mildly dissolute but open-hearted young woman, May Seymour, whose mission trip to Rwanda shows her humanity at its most basic. Despite a warning, she remains in her village and is the only survivor of the genocidal onslaught. She returns to a Kentucky farm whose owner, Claudius Borne, extended paternal hospitality to her before her trip. She remains there for years in the grip of post-traumatic agoraphobia. The plot turns when May learns that college boyfriend Eli Campbell is on death row, and the two renew their acquaintance. Samson is bold as ever, exploring big questions through her vivid writing and memorable characters. But the plot creaks mechanically at points in this outing, with some key episodes and secondary characters not developed enough to reel the reader in. Eli's daughter Callie is unconvincing, and the exchange of letters between the imprisoned Eli and May is a little heavy-handed. Samson gets high marks for imagination and ambition, but points off for flaws in execution. (Aug.)