Friday, April 22, 2011

HEAVEN SENT by Xavier Leret

Heaven Sent is a love story, maybe; a coming of age story; a dark and gritty tale of England's dark and gritty streets; a pondering on the meaning of faith, love and forgiveness and the presence or absence of God; and a deeply absorbing read. It's definitely not an easy book to read—and not just because of Daisy’s well-rendered Bristol dialect. It’s not an easy book to put down either. It raises more questions about love than it answers, and leaves the reader deeply glad we’re not Carlo, and deeply thankful that Carlos still exist in a world of broken Daisys.

Carlo is a sixteen-year-old good Catholic boy from an overly good Catholic family in Bristol, England. Strict rules of duty and devotion have separated him from school friends, marking him as permanently different. But he doesn’t belong in his parents’ unquestioning world either. He wonders how God can be so perfectly trusted when He’s already shown us what He might do to His son, never mind a mortal sinner. And how can God be forgiving if there are parts of society too evil to be forgiven?

Daisy is a former foster child. Child prostitute, child of ill repute, she’s as much an outsider on the street corner as Carlo is. And, in her own way, she’s beautiful. Carlo is drawn to Daisy and Daisy finds herself drawn by his undemanding acceptance. But Carlo’s inept attempts first to help her, then to empathize with her, almost threaten their new-born friendship. Still, circumstances intervene and lead to a wild and dangerous chase across Southern England, reminiscent of Thelma and Louise told by English teens.

Does God send us just what we need in time of trouble? Perhaps He’s sent Daisy as a gift to Carlo, to introduce him to the world. After all, her tee-shirt does have the words “heaven sent” emblazoned across it. Or perhaps Daisy’s a gift to Carlo’s mother, to show her the error of her ways. Or perhaps, in the end, Carlo is the gift to Daisy, the one who, like God, sees through to the good in each of us, holding our hands when everyone else has turned away.

Heaven Sent tells of religious fervor masquerading as love, of physical need pretending affection, of familial duty calling itself mercy, and of true love disguised as forgiveness. It spares no punches, goes where no sixteen-year-old should go, and asks whatever questions come to mind. But it’s a powerful tale, heaven sent to take readers out of their comfort zones and make them think—maybe even show them love.  —Sheila Deeth

Disclosure: I received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 285 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

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