In Sigmund Brouwer’s Out of the Shadows, Nick Barrett’s life has been shaped by two abandonments. His mother left with his trust fund before his tenth birthday, and there had been no word from her since. And as an adult, his wife of four days betrayed him.
Nick’s mother had been a waitress when a war hero from one of Charleston’s elite families saw her and fell in love. They married, but Nick and his mother were considered outsiders, especially after his father died. When his mother left, he was begrudgingly taken in by his father’s relatives. But he was still always on the outside. Just four days after he married the girl he loved, an accident cost him his leg, his marriage, and his Charleston residency. He signed an agreement to leave and never return.
Nick has been away from his native Charleston, SC, for fifteen years. He’s bitter against his mother, his relatives, and God. But a mysterious unsigned note has brought him back, promising information about his mother. Looking not only for information, but also revenge, Nick is led through a winding path of revelations. But what will they cost him in the end?
In defense of the stubbornness of my soul’s early flight from God, there were all the events before I left Charleston—events that seemed totally bereft of the touch of a God of love. God, however, as I was about to discover, is a patient hunter. I can now examine my years of exile and see earmarked on the pages of my personal history the times he beckoned, times that I resolutely turned aside to my own path. I imagine that in a way, I was like Jonah, determined to head in the opposite direction of God’s calling. For Jonah, the city he desperately wanted to avoid was Nineveh. For me, it was Charleston.
I picked up this book on a Kindle sale partly because I love Charleston and partly because I had read something of Brouwer’s in the past. I remembered enjoying it, though I couldn’t remember what it was.
This book was fascinating. There were several jaw-dropping surprises or twists, but not too many to seem realistic. I love the Charleston history and setting. I loved the irony of the Old South incongruity of using the most polite language while doing the most awful things. A couple of my favorite characters were a gossipy pair of elderly twin antique owners.
I didn’t know at first that this book was the beginning of a series. But now I look forward to reading the rest.
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