What? No cover art? That's right...this is another unpublished manuscript sent to me by an agent and a dear friend. And this one was a treat from start to finish! A little unusual, but a treat.
"Solo" is the story of Paul Wagner, retired pastor and fledgling writer. One late afternoon, Paul returns to his boat, Solo, after doing a little grocery shopping, only to discover the surprise of his life.
Seated in the cabin is a young and very attractive woman he recognizes from the crew of the Bonny Belle, another sailboat anchored in the marina. What unfolds is an unbelievable proposition that has him stunned. But his response...
...well, that stunned me. See, you can take the pastor out of the pulpit, but you just can't take the pulpit out of the pastor! And Paul, while he thinks he's living his life solo (get it!), finds a whole new flock God has given him to minister to.
After taking Joy, the young woman, under his wing, Paul ends up meeting and ministering to the entire quartet of women who long for a father figure in their lives...and eventually meets the college professor responsible for that oh, so indecent proposal that led to this most unlikely of mission fields.
Throughout the course of the novel, we meet and understand more of Paul's family, his life journey, and observe how a life that is genuine and a faith that is natural and real can touch infinite numbers of people in an infinite number of ways.
Some would say this novel is preachy.
I would have to agree.
Some would even say it's a bit cheesy.
Again, I agree.
But what drew me to finish, and ultimately love this story is the purity of it. Not just the message, but even the way it was written. No wasted words, no gratuitous scenes of any kind...and a message that is so utterly refreshing.
So much has been written in both secular and religious media about how the lack of a solid father figure has such an impact in the lives of today's youth and young adults. Well, this book addresses that in fictional form, and sends a loud ring of truth through those studies.
The irony of the title is, while Paul sails solo after the loss of his one and only love, God just keeps bringing people Paul's way until, finally...well, I won't ruin the surprise for you...but it's a humdinger! And that's the only word for it, given how "old-fashioned" the book tends to be.
But I surely wish that what is considered "old-fashioned" would become new once again.
In a media and sex saturated culture, "Solo" breathes new life into Biblical purity and love. I give this as yet unpublished manuscript four out of five bookmarks, with a tiny sailboat as a charm.
Why four if I loved it so much?
Because, as I said earlier...it is a little "preachy"...but I think we could all do with a little more preaching in our lives...as long as it's done like Paul does it!