Wednesday 18 October 2017

Standing Strong - Theresa Linden - The West Brothers Book 4

Standing Strong
The West Brothers Book 4
Theresa Linden
Linden Publishing

ISBN 9780997674729

I only discovered Theresa Linden’s writings earlier this year, I have now read 7 of her published novels and short stories and have loved them all. I must admit I am reading this specific series out of order. I have read book 1 Roland West Loner, which was the first book by Linden I read, and now have read book 4. Though there are indications of some of what happened in the two books I skipped, this book is more than strong enough to read on its own. In an earlier review I compared Linden's writings to Madeleine L'Engle and Lois Lowry and the more of her writings I read the more I stand by that statement. If we were to do a side by side comparison between L'Engle's main series and Linden's then the Chasing Liberty Series would be the Kairos series and the West Brothers would be the Chronos series. And this book is an amazing read. Unlike the book focused on Roland that I have read this one is based mainly on the oldest of the west brothers, Jarret and his trying to make some pretty big changes in his life. The secondary plot is about his twin brother Keefe who is trying to discern his vocation, specifically regarding the Franciscans. 

As an older guy I can really relate to each of the West brothers. I can see myself in each of them at different points in my life. I can see their struggles, their striving, their growth and think back on my own life. I wish that there had been some amazing Catholic novels like this book and this series when I was younger. Reading stories like this might have helped me not make some of the mistakes I have made along the way. And to be honest I cannot wait until my children are a little older to share these books with them. I look forward to reading these books again with my daughters and my son, and hope they will lead to discussions about following God even when it gets hard. 

In this volume in the series Jarret is making big changes in his life. But after spending a long time trying to build a specific reputation, and having made many mistakes along the way. Now he is trying to make changes. He has a planned meeting with their parish priest. But a chance encounter with a girl; and a fight at school seem to be setting him back on his old path. Can he stand strong and turn it around? Or will be slide down that slippery slope again and fall back into old habits and patterns. His twin brother Keefe on the other hand is struggling in an entirely different way. He is really feeling called to join the Franciscan Friars. He is trying to simplify his life. He has uncluttered his room. He also rearranged it so that he can have a prayer corner. And he really wasn’t to go on a discernment retreat but is not sure how to broach the subject with his father. 

This book deals with a lot of issues; including vocational discernment, making personal changes, defending your family, and family learning to trust after years of mistrust. The relationships between the brothers changes drastically over the span of the novel. It is interesting to watch each of the three as they grow and change. Now the West brothers are not exactly what you would call normal. First they live in a castle. Second they have travelled the world on digs before their mother passed away. They have had tutors, and keep horses. And each of the three has a different reputation. Combine all of that with something being up with their father and you have an amazing read.

This book was an amazing read. The more of Linden's writings that I read; the more I want to read.  This is an excellent book by an incredible author so check it out. Her handling of faith in her fiction is masterful. I really look forward to sharing her works with my children when they are older, which is the highest praise I can give a book. And I highly recommend this book and to be honest anything written by Linden!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Theresa Linden:
Tortured Soul

Chasing Liberty Series:
01 Chasing Liberty
02 Testing Liberty
03 Fight For Liberty
Bound to find Freedom - Short Story


West brothers Series:
Roland West Loner
Life-Changing Love
Battle for His Soul

Standing Strong
Roland West Outcast
Fire Starters

Armour of God Series:
Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Boot of Peace
Shield of Faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit

Armor of God Series Second Edition:

Other Books:
A Symbol of Hope - Short Story
A Battle for the Faith (with John Paul Wohlscheid)


Books contributed to:
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
Treasures: Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens

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