Thursday 10 May 2018

Life-Changing Love: A Novel about Dating, Courtship, Family, and Faith - Theresa Linden - A West Brothers Book

Life-Changing Love:
A Novel about Dating, Courtship, Family, and Faith
A West Brothers Book
Theresa Linden
Silver Fire Publishing

ISBN 9780996816861
eISBN 9781310572593

I had a pretty good idea where this book was going. This is the second book in the West Brothers series, but I have been jumping around and reading them out of order. Prior to reading this book I had read book 1, Roland West Loner, and loved it. I had read book 4, Standing Strong, and thought it was amazing. I have also read Anyone But Him, which is a West Brother story set a few years after the first 4, and was blown out of the water by it. So, even though I had an idea about some of the central events and how they ended up playing out, this book really touched me. I so wish there had been Catholic Fiction Like these books when I was a teen, If I had read books like this book, this series, I likely would not have made some of the mistakes I mad growing up. My faith would have been stronger earlier, and these fictional stories would have helped planted and deepened the roots of my faith. This book brought me close to tears, and I have been married 15 years and my wife has only seen me cry twice.    

This story does an excellent job of capturing adolescence and young adult life. It captures, struggles, challenges, difficulties, mistakes, and trying to learn to do the right thing. To begin with the West brothers are different than your normal high school kids. Up until the year before this novel, they had used tutors and travelled with their parents on archeological digs and doing research. They also lived in a castle with turrets and all. They owned horses and a large piece of property. And in this book, there is a lot of different things going on. The characters are wonderfully written. And the story is magnificently crafted. 

Caitlyn Summer is almost fifteen and must practice courtship and wants to be in a relationship with Roland West.
Zoe is a bit of a wild girl. And is dating Jarret West. 
Jarret West is the oldest of the boys, and until now was a bully to Roland, and hung out most with his twin Keefe.
Keefe West has always acted as Jarret's conscience; the story begins with him in Europe assisting his father on assignment. He experiences a miracle in Italy that has changed him drastically. 
Roland West is quiet, sincere, and really wants to patch things up with Jarret. But he can't help feeling Jarret is about to mess up.

There is a log going on in this novel. Teen pregnancy. A boyfriend pressuring the mother to have an abortion. A religious experience that is shaping and transforming a young man. And a girl that realizes she was an accident and the reason her parents got married. And when you throw in camping trips, Halloween party, thanksgiving dinner. And You have a snapshot of teen life today. 

This book is strong enough to be read alone. As are any in the series. The writing is excellent. Linden is my favorite contemporary Christian fiction writer. The way that she infuses her stories with drama, action and yet strong faith and religious themes is wonderful.  I highly recommend this book and to be honest anything by Linden! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 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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