We all want to be loved. We desire it with our whole being because we were created to love God and be loved by Him. No other love is enough, no other love will do.
This is a story of two sisters, born into wealth and prestige during the Gilded Age, who take two different paths in life on a search to be loved.
Neither knows the Lord.
One seeks love through things and notoriety making some horrific mistakes, the other runs away looking to find love somewhere away from all the glitz and glamor.
The author says of the wealthy during the Gilded Age:
"...But under all the glitter and gold simmered stories of adultery, murder, embezzlement, and unrest. People who weren't satisfied. People who thirsted for more out of a life that had already given them 'everything.' I believe it's because they-like all of us-were searching for love. They simply didn't realize they couldn't buy it."
This is where Susan May Warren sets her story.
The writing in this novel was superb. I could not put it down. The words were almost lyrical, so beautifully written.
I loved the way Susan gently wove this story. The spiritual theme was subtle, yet powerful.
There were times though, when I did feel uncomfortable reading, as one sister has an affair. This sisters emotional struggles, within her loveless abusive marriage, were expressed deeply and honestly, yet I never felt the author condoned or glorified the affair. It was essential for the reader to feel what the character was feeling, in order to see her deep desire to be loved. So many women seek love in relationships that can not give them the unconditional love God can.
It is a natural reaction to feel anger, disgust and judgmental towards someone who has had an affair, but I kept thinking of Jesus and how he treated the adulterer in John chapter 8.
and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?'
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'
'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin."
Jesus did not condemn her, she was already condemned in her sin. He gave her a way out. He forgave her and told her to sin no more.
*If you are sensitive to the subject of adultery, this may not be the book for you. But if you'd like to read a book with exquisite writing and a redemptive story I would recommend this one.