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Lost In Rooville
Author: Ray Blackston
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 336

When four single friends team up for trip to Australia, the two men Jay Jarvis and Steve Cole put in motion plans to propose marriage to their girlfriends Allie Kyle and Darcy Yeager, however they get far more excitement than they bargained for. This is the final installment in Ray Blackston’s trilogy and features a cast that we have come to love in his previous works, Flabbergasted and A Delirious Summer.

Blackston’s strength in painting word pictures shines through allowing the reader to see through the eyes of the main character Jay Jarvis. You are left feeling that you are living out Jay’s experiences. At times you forget that Jarvis’ girlfriend Allie Kyle is not your girlfriend and you are not the one in love with her, so strong are the images. 

The author draws upon his own experiences in Australia and Ecuador to paint vivid landscapes in our minds. Without giving away too much of the story let’s just say these four friends are deeply in love with their respective mates and along the way have to confront their insecurities, temptations, fears, faith and near tragedy. 

This is beyond all doubt a book that should be turned into a movie as it has all the elements of suspense, comic relief and great character development. Christian producers would be wise to strike a deal for the movie rights soon because this book would easily translate for mainstream audiences as well.

This book should not be passed off as just another romance novel, it is written from the perspective of a man which makes it invaluable to blokes who may be accused of lacking a romantic side. Blackston’s novel also explores the very heart of our relationship with God. He confronts issues such as, ‘does God really care about me when I am struggling and reach the end of my financial and emotional resources?’ 

At a time when Christians are too often left with a one dimensional view of Christianity as being happy-go-lucky Blackston stands up and says, no it is okay to become frustrated and angry with God. It is alright to cry out to Him in anguish and despair and feel like your life is falling apart because in the end God will always be there to provide comfort and meet our needs.

The dynamics of relationships are addressed.  How do we learn to overlook the petty things in friendships, keep the lines of communication open and be honest about our feelings? 

Men if you want the woman in your life to understand relationships from a male point of view but in a fun and thrilling way buy her Lost in Rooville. Women if you are tired of your hubby or boyfriend questioning why you read romantic novels buy him this novel. Only tell him that you heard it has lots of drama, comical moments, takes place in the outback of Australia and the central character is a man.  After you have given him the book sit back and wait patiently. When he has finished extolling the virtues of this wonderful novel simply look him in the eye and say, ‘Honey are you talking about that romance novel I bought you?’

By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague.

Joe Montague is a  freelance Christian journalist / photographer who has been published in a variety of community, daily and Christian newspapers coast to coast in Canada and the United States.  Joe Montague's ministry of journalism is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven far too early at the age of 18. 

Lost in Rooville completes the trilogy of the adventures of Jay Jarvis and company.  As detailed in the first two books, Flabbergasted, and A Delirious Summer, Jarvis is a stockbroker turned missionary, who is toiling in the jungles of Ecuador, working side by side with his girlfriend, Allie Kyle.

Jay and Allie decide to take a trip to Australia with their best friends from home (Greenville, South Carolina).  Why the two of them decide this is a good decision is unclear, but their friends (the now married Neil and Alexis Rucker from A Delirious Summer) happen to be honeymooning there.  So, Jay sells his Microsoft stock, and his friend Darcy sells her lime green Cadillac, and the four of them are off to the Outback.

Jay and his best friend Steve Cole hit upon a formula: “Australia + woman + ring = good plan”.  The two of them have independently decided that this trip would provide a memorable backdrop for them to propose to their love interests.  Under the guise of a contest, the two couples separate and head off into the desert.  Naturally, Jay and Allie’s SUV breaks down.  He proposes anyway.  All is bliss, right?

Wrong.  They are low on supplies, trapped in the middle of nowhere with an inoperable vehicle, and unable to contact anyone.  Jay is submitted to the Job phase of his life, trying desperately to appreciate what little he has, while hoping that his future with his new fiancée will become a reality.  
Can a stockbroker who has taken two years off find a job in his chosen profession?  Can Jay raise the money that will return him to the jungle he has grown to love? Will Steve find the courage he needs to pop the question?

Read the book.  While Lost in Rooville employs the use of deus ex machina rather liberally, Christians know that quality often exists in their own lives – it’s called “grace,” and it arrives unexpectedly, and often for no reason.  Blackston understands this principle and weaves it around an entertaining tale of young love and its pitfalls.  Filled with humor, realistic dialogue between friends, and honesty, Rooville reads very easily, and does a better job of combining everyday life with spiritual issues than its predecessors.

Brian A. Smith
4 June 2005


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