Friday, May 3, 2013

Past Darkness by Laurel Woiwode - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Past Darkness
Crossway (April 30, 2013)
Laurel Woiwode


Laurel Woiwode graduated with honors from Jamestown College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both English and History. She works with ESL students, writes movie reviews at, works on writing and editing projects, and is always ready for outdoor adventures. Laurel grew up in rural North Dakota, has had an avid interest in animals, nature, and literature since childhood, and she is the author of Past Darkness.


Gabrielle Larson is an average, 15 year old girl living in Chicago when tragedy strikes. In the aftermath, she is forced to relocate to rural North Dakota and henceforth spends the next chapter of her life learning to cope with trials involving everything from family to faith. Laurel Woiwode, daughter of critically acclaimed novelist Larry Woiwode, offers here a moving story that will be appreciated by female and male readers alike. Past Darkness is not preachy or heavy-handed, but rather a touching story about the importance of family, the power of music, and the ever-present mercy of God.

My Thoughts:

Why did you leave me alone? 
  Nature is the echo of my emptiness.
  I am alone
.”  (p. 86)

Gabrielle Larson’s life takes a tragic turn when she is but fifteen years old.  Past Darkness  is the story of her journey out of tragedy.  What she finds on the other side isn’t found quickly nor easily.  I was actually surprised at how much time this story covered.  In fact, I guess my only complaint about the novel is that I felt a bit rushed from one point in time to another.  I would have been better satisfied with a longer story and more time spent getting to know Gabrielle as she grew into adulthood.

However, I think the target audience is the young adult market, so the length of the novel makes sense from that point of view.  I think that Laruel Woiwode is a talented writer, and I enjoyed my brief time with Gabrielle.  Her story echoes some powerful and universal truths about the choices we all must make at some point in our lives. Gabrielle navigated her troubled waters with as much or more strength that most kids I know.  I saw a lot of my younger self reflected in her heart.

I think Past Darkness is a powerful and significant novel to offer the young adult market.  I can only encourage Laurel to write faster!  This is a beautiful story!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Past Darkness, go HERE,

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