Jess, Ellen, Jack and Adam are inspiring characters that manage to find peace in the face of suffering and overwhelming guilt. They’ve experienced more pain than anyone ever should, but they finally have a chance at happiness. Like Jess thinks when she sees Adam’s scars: she’d never change that because the scars made them who they are now.
I loved how both Jess and Ellen were portrayed as vulnerable, but essentially strong women. After being broken and ruined by men, they got up and re-built their lives. Their hesitation about letting new men into their lives was believable, although the guilt Jess and Ellen felt was perhaps a bit overdone. However, it helped to add to their inner conflict so that was easy to overlook.
Sister Luke was a refreshing, wise character that brought some wonderfully quirky moments to the story. I felt a bit more humor would make the story less sentimental and even more enjoyable by juxtaposing the poignancy of the characters’ lives with some comic relief. Even the setting fit the emotional atmosphere, with the desolate Australian Outback symbolizing the isolation of every individual. It read very authentic and real, to the point of me feeling the dust tickling my nose as I read about the dry red expanse of land.
Although the story holds a strong message of how we all deserve to be forgiven, mostly by ourselves, but by others, too, it’s the strong characters that will stay with me. The selflessness of Jack and Adam, the courage and fighting spirit of Ellen, the essential goodness of Jess. They made this story strong and unputdownable.
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