I met Sarah Hughes and Michael Kent on New Year's Eve, and they were the first people I spent time with the next day, in the early hours of 2012. They felt like old friends by the time I said goodbye Sunday evening, but I probably won't hear from them again until summer. At least that's when I hope to meet up with them again.
Michael and Sarah are characters in Glynn Young's recently released first novel, Dancing Priest, and a sequel is due out in a few months.
I had been hearing about Glynn's book since it was first accepted for publication; Glynn and I work together as editors for The High Calling. So, on Friday, when I took all of the gifts cards and cash I had received for Christmas and bought a Kindle Fire, I knew the first book I would download would be Dancing Priest.
My only disappointment was that I didn't buy it sooner.
The storyline of the book is hard to summarize quickly since the action takes place on two continents, in at least four countries. There are two main characters, and a host of supporting actors. The summer Olympics make an appearance, as does the schism of the world-wide Episcopal church and the declining popularity of the British monarchy. But none of this is what the book is really about.
At the heart of this story is a young man whose great faith makes everything he touches great and a young woman whose great doubt threatens to undermine them both. This book is also about family and friendship and what it means to live out both in the context of Christian faith.
The ambitious storyline with the cadre of amazing young people as leading characters reminded me a lot of some of Madeleine L'Engle's fiction, like The Small Rain or A Live Coal in the Sea. The lives woven out of Glynn's imagination also took on that air of cultural exuberance that always intrigued me of L'Engle's characters, as well - people who excel in art and music and architecture and athletics and preaching. In that sense, the work ethic and talents exhibited by the main characters become a character of their own.
Dancing Priest is also a love story, told from two perspectives, that kept me flipping through the pages as quickly as possible to see what happened.
And since I'm notorious for giving away plots, I'll leave it there, except to say, you should buy this book. You will love it.
Just this week, Glynn made the first chapter of Dancing Priest available on his blog. Read it here.
Also, you can read this wonderful interview of Glynn by Maureen Doallas. He reveals more about the story, the process of writing, and why sometimes he has to put away the keyboard and use a pen.
Join me for regular jaunts around The High Calling network, randomly visiting fellow bloggers, soaking up their words and ideas, and then coming back here to write about them from my perspective.
Each Thursday, consider going "There and Back Again" yourself. It's simple.