One of the best books I've read this year: My review of "Unwritten" by Charles Martin @storiedcareer

Unwritten: A Novel

about the book....

An actress running from her past finds escape with a man hiding from his future.

When someone wants to be lost, a home tucked among the Ten Thousand Islands off the Florida coast is a good place to live. A couple decent boats, and a deep knowledge of fishing and a man can get by without ever having to talk to another soul. It's a nice enough existence, until the one person who ties him to the world of the living, the reason he's still among them even if only on the fringes, asks him for help.

Father Steady Capri knows quite a bit about helping others. But he is afraid Katie Quinn's problems may be beyond his abilities. Katie is a world-famous actress with an all too familiar story. Fame seems to have driven her to self-destruct. Steady knows the true cause of her desire to end her life is buried too deeply for him to reach. But there is one person who still may be able to save her from herself.

He will show her an alternate escape, a way to write a new life. But Katie still must confront her past before she can find peace. Ultimately, he will need to leave his secluded home and sacrifice the serenity he's found to help her. From the Florida coast, they will travel to the French countryside where they will discover the unwritten story of both their pasts and their future.

my review....

Beautiful prose and intense drama combine to make "Unwritten" one of the most moving stories I have read this year. More than once I found myself brushing away tears as Martin brought to life the wonderful characters of Katie, Steady, and Sunday, characters who have left a permanent imprint upon my mind. Their transformation from places of deep pain and even self-loathing, to ones of hope and healing, is simply mesmerizing to watch. When I first read the back of this book describing the story, I was a bit concerned that the characters would spend so much time in internal introspection that the pace of the story would be slow and plodding. I have never been more wrong! Though there are scenes of heartache and pain, the story unfolds at a perfect pace and kept my attention from start to finish.

"Unwritten" is one of those stories that finds you stopping numerous times to simply sit and soak in the feelings the story is drawing out of you. The writing is so real that you will feel the character's pain, and find yourself questioning along with them why things happen the way they do, why pain and suffering are in the world. You will cry when they cry, smile when they smile, and ultimately walk away from the story a different person.

I thought "Thunder and Rain" would always be my favourite book from Charles Martin, but I'm afraid that now I simply can't make up my mind whether that book or "Unwritten" tops the list for me. In any case, this is a book worth reading, more than once. I highly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher for the purposes of this unbiased review.

About the author....

Charles Martin is the author of seven novels. When not writing, his hobbies include bow hunting, working out (a blend of old school stuff and martial arts, called Fight Fit), and Tae Kwon Do, in which he currently has a blue belt, though he notes he is "the least flexible person you've ever met." He lives with his wife, Christy, and their three sons in Jacksonville, Florida.

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