The book: (from the publisher) “I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”
It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.
Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.
The author: Born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle Phoenix is a consultant, writer and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies and paths to healing.
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
Maturity rating: PG
Reflection: Whoa…this one surprised me. As someone with many connections to missionaries and missions-minded people, this novel’s premise intrigued me deeply. I looked forward to the insights it promised into that lifestyle. I expected an eye-opening, entertaining read, which it was. I did not, however, expect it to go where it did, or to explore real-world scenarios with such depth of insight, compassion, and gut-wrenching honesty.
From the author’s incisive exploration of emotions and precise details of setting, it’s obvious Of Stillness and Storm is overflow from her personal well of experience. Michèle’s storytelling is layered and incredibly nuanced as she boldly explores the great complexities of pursuing a calling and of a marriage under strain. I found my own emotions shifting as I journeyed alongside Lauren and her family, sometimes cheering, sometimes wanting to shake someone until teeth rattled. For sure, this story opened my eyes to the challenging reality confronting many missionary families.
In Of Stillness and Storm, Michèle pulls back the veil to reveal the tensions of pursuing a calling while maintaining healthy relationships and living up to mortal responsibilities. Because her story raises more questions than answers, it would make an excellent Book Club pick and foundation for some lively discussion. I’d also consider it a must-have for any church library.
Sobering and sometimes shocking, this is not a light read, but its redemptive ending leaves room for hope. Of Stillness and Storm beautifully showcases Michèle Phoenix’s skill as both a storyteller and an advocate for missionaries’ kids. I believe it is her finest work to date.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson for providing me this book free of charge. All opinions are mine.
After words: Have you read any of Michèle Phoenix’s other work? Can you choose a favorite?
Giveaway: Take Michèle’s new book with you on your winter vacation and enter to win her Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack (because you can’t take a stack of books with you when you travel).
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 31. The winner will be announced January 3 on Michèle’s blog.