First time novelist
When I heard back in the early spring that Beth Moore had written a novel, I’m pretty sure my face went all…
So I had to find out if it was true or just some social media tale. I went straight to the publisher of this alleged novel by the queen of all things, Beth Moore, to straighten in out.
Yep. It was true. Every single bit of it. And then I was all like…
Today is the big day… The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore has released and is now available at LifeWay Christian Stores! Don’t look in Christian Living. Don’t look in Women’s books. Look in Fiction! Here’s a glimpse at the story:
Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It’s not like they were close. She hadn’t seen him—or her grandmother, the ice queen—in almost 20 years. But when Adella Atwater, the manager of her grandmother’s apartment house, called and said Jillian’s expenses would be paid if she’d fly in for the burial, a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist.
What Adella didn’t tell her was that the apartment house wasn’t a house at all and, whatever it was, bore the dead weight of a long and painful history. As soon as Jillian meets the odd assortment of renters and realizes that her grandmother had no idea she was coming, she hatches a plan to escape. But the investigation into her father’s death quickly unfolds and Jillian is drawn into the lives of the colorful collection of saints and sinners who pass through Saint Silvanus. She soon discovers there is more at stake than she ever imagined. Who is behind the baffling messages and the strange relics left on the steps? Is it possible that her family is actually cursed? Or is it just this crazy old house that holds them all under its spell?
Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family’s broken history, and despite Adella’s wiliest efforts, only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.
Is Beth a novelist?
I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Undoing of Saint Silvanus back in June. I’ll admit that I opened the cover with somewhat low expectations. We all know nonfiction writers who attempt to write a novel and it has gone horribly wrong. But I tried to keep an open mind. I trust the editors and publishers at Tyndale explicitly and knew they wouldn’t steer me wrong.
Within the first three chapters, I was hooked. No joke. And I’m not saying that because Beth is a big partner for us in our ministry at LifeWay. I say that as a huge fan of Christian fiction.
The variety and depth of each character were masterfully written. From troubled Jillian to smart mouthed Adella (whom I want to carry around in my pocket, thank you very much) to stubborn and broken Olivia, each person is someone you become invested in.
Contemporary fiction can sometimes be tricky because it can come across as unrealistic or that the characters lives are lived looking through rose colored glasses. Beth gives us a mixture of relateable people who we can all identify with. Adella just wants to love and serve everyone. Olivia tries to hide the shame of her deceased husband’s bad choices that are still causing ripple effects years later in her family. Jillian arrives in New Orleans to deal with her father’s death and wants nothing to do with her grandmother Olivia and the chatty Adella but finds herself drawn to them and Saint Silvanus where they live and work.
Beth’s gift of communicating God’s grace and mercy flow easily through this novel. It’s not forced. It flows organically out of the thoughts and lives of the characters. When there is a crisis of faith, the struggle is authentic and the resolution is real. Faith is a natural part of many of these people’s lives while others are just learning to trust. I think we can all find ourselves within the pages of this book.
So, is Beth Moore a novelist?
Yes, I believe she is. If you are a fan of her teaching and writing, I know you will gobble this novel up. If you haven’t had a chance to read her before, go ahead. Start with her novel. Let The Undoing of Saint Silvanus be your introduction to Beth’s gift of writing and storytelling.
No matter who you are, I know you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was.