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Matter of Faith
Author: Brian Morin
Length: 292 pp.
Caroline Studeman seems to have it all: a successful medical practice, a happy marriage, a child on the way, rewarding work with local children who are responding positively to her, and a deep relationship with God. But (and you knew there was a "but" coming), she suffers an accident that leaves her in a coma. As her family and friends rally around her, they discover a box full of letters, revealing many things about her past of which they have only known bits and pieces. Some of them are shocking, some endearing, and some explain a lot to those who had wondered about her. This is a woman with deeply rooted secrets.
The book is spent reconstructing the past of several characters, Caroline and her circle of friends and family around her. It centers on her time as a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. As we read the letters and accounts by several of her friends, we get a larger picture of what made her the woman she is now and a hint to the internal struggles she is dealing with even while in the coma.
Suffice it to say the book's title has a double meaning that I will not reveal here. A Matter of Faith is surprisingly compelling, especially for a first novel. The characters here will amuse you, shock you, draw your hatred, your compassion, and you find yourself rooting for some of them. All of them need healing in some way and they realize this in the midst of their crisis. Can they help Caroline heal herself? What effect, if any, will their prayers and their attempts at reconciliation have? Only one way to find out, I'm afraid…
Brian A. Smith 1/3/2006