cover image In the Garden of Sorrows

In the Garden of Sorrows

Karen Jewell. MindStir Media, $8.99 e-book (280p) ASIN B0C3TGXDS1

In Jewell’s memorable debut, a clairvoyant and restless American woman grieves for her son who died in WWI and gains a new sense of life from an affair with a preacher. Isabel Fuller and her husband Edward are among the more prosperous farmers in their Southern community. Isabel wishes she had prevented their oldest son, Carl, from enlisting, as she sensed he would never come back. Amid caring for their three younger sons and household chores, the relationship between Isabel and Edward fractures. After the Fullers agree to let Pentecostal reverend Micah Kane hold his revival meetings on their land, Isabel feels a powerful and unexpected attraction to Micah, who not only reciprocates but also expresses sympathy for her grief and loneliness. The two embark on an affair. Much of the narrative involves Isabel processing her feelings about her attraction to Micah and concern about losing Edward forever. There’s also a tragic episode involving Caroline, a young orphan in the Fullers’ care, whose disappearance unexpectedly leads the Fullers to renew their bond. Jewell entices with her multidimensional characters, especially Isabel, a strong, complex woman seeking to overcome despair. The author is off to a promising start with this confident and dramatic family saga. (Self-published)