I've just discovered author Dan Walsh. I've read two of his books now, and this one was fantastic! In fact, right now it's one of my favourite books I've ever read. He has written three suspense novels (this is one of them), and several inspirational novels, as well as a series of books with Gary Smalley. I have a couple more of his books on my list to read soon!
The Discovery: A Novel is the story of aspiring author Michael Warner. His grandfather, famous and prolific author Gerard Warner, has recently passed away, leaving millions of dollars to his beloved family and his home in Charleston's richest neighbourhood to Michael. As Michael prepares to finally write his first novel, he discovers in his grandfather's study an unpublished manuscript, obviously intended for Michael to find. As he begins reading this yellowed manuscript, Michael realizes that this story is different than any of his grandfather's others: this one is a love story. As the story unfolds, Michael begins to understand that this story will change his past as well as his future.
I loved this book for several reasons. First, it's a novel within a novel. The full text of that old manuscript is included in the story, and we get to read it along with Michael. It's the World-War-II-era story of Ben and Claire and the insurmountable obstacles to their love. The manuscript story is full of suspense, with Nazi spies and the FBI, but it also has the sweet beginnings of a lasting love that kept me anxious to see what happened next. And as Michael read, I was amazed that he couldn't see what I was seeing: the purpose behind the manuscript and why it hadn't been published.
Another reason I loved The Discovery is its portrayal of unselfish love. Ben and Claire love each other completely, but there comes a point where their love is tested beyond measure. And Claire's parents showed extraordinary love for their daughter, as well as great common sense in dealing with her hurt. Sacrificial love isn't only the romantic kind between a man and woman; it can also be shown between parents and children. I loved that Walsh included that kind of love in his book!
In both books I've read by Walsh, although they were romances, they were clean, yet another reason to love this book! There is absolutely no profanity, not even a hint of it, and the scenes between couples within the book are kept clean, yet it's an exciting story that keeps your attention for the entire book. That's something that most people don't believe can be done. I believe otherwise, and I'm glad Mr. Walsh does too.
One thing I didn't love is that, although this is Christian fiction, there is no clear presentation of the Gospel. There's quite a bit of religious thought, including some Bible verses that are comforting, but nothing that would enable a person to know how to have a true relationship with God. The spiritual counsellor in the manuscript story, Father Flanagan, listens to Ben's confessions, but he only gives some verses to think about - no answer to the problem of sin in his life - and some advice. Those things are good of themselves, but they're not life-changing conversion. I would like to have seen Ben actually get saved, rather than just being religious. Michael's family seems to have some religious aspects, but again, no mention of salvation. I'd love to have seen a clear presentation of the Gospel.
Aside from the lack of a clear Gospel message, I would heartily recommend this book! It's both contemporary and historical fiction, has some mystery, suspense, action, and romance, and inspires the belief that true love can indeed overcome serious obstacles. I was thoroughly entertained by this story, and I was also inspired by its theme of overcoming impossible odds to have a lifelong kind of love. I think it would be appropriate for teens as well as adults, and especially interesting to anyone interested in World War II.
Have you read The Discovery? What are your thoughts?
Be sure to check out my Reading List 2015 to see what other books I've read this year!