Friday 3 December 2021

Loving Gabriel - T.M. Gaouette - Faith and Kung Fu Book 4

Loving Gabriel
Faith and Kung Fu Book 4
T.M. Gaouette
ISBN 9798752515255

This story has been a long time coming. And though not my typical genre, I can state this book was very hard to put down. It is such a powerful story that it brought me to tears. And that is stating a lot as I have been married over 18 years and my wife has only seen me cry a handful of times. Now some of that comes from being a father of daughters. I do not know how you could read a story like this and not think of your own children. Much like Liam Neeson's Taken movies, you will not be able to read this and not think about your own children. Or for the youth, teens, and young adults reading it, it comes as a warning. This book gets darker than the others in the series on several levels. And fortunately it does not rush forward to a perfect solution.

Madeleine L’Engle broke her works into three categories; autobiographical, other time, and real time. She used the terms Kairos (the Murry-O’Keefes books) and Chronos (the Austin Family Books) and she had some characters that spanned all three classes of books. This offering would be in the Chronos class. And it reminds me of some of L’Engle’s books for more mature readers. This volume has a kung fu challenge, paparazzi galore, a controlling mom, and Tanner trying to make changes and not be the Hollywood Starlet she had been raised to be. When you add in a controlling and manipulative ex, and the disappearance of Tanner … well, let’s just say the story gets dark.

Most of the characters in this book are familiar to us from the first three volumes. And reading about them is like a visit with old friends, but old friends facing trials and troubles. It is a chance to catch up and see where they are at in life, and in their spiritual journey. For some, there are marked changes and improvements. There are three main plot lines in this story that all wrap together well. First, we have Gabriel being challenged repeatedly by his sifu's grandson when he is offered the dojo. We have Gabriel and Tanner who have admitted their feelings for each other and are looking at starting a life together. But Tanner’s ex is still living the Hollywood lifestyle and has his eyes set on a reunion with Tanner, no matter what it takes. And finally, we have Tanner trying to get investors to create a Christian film, and in part, tell her and Gabe’s story. All three plot lines focus around having faith, trusting God, and seeking God. 

The characters are the greatest strengths of this book and the series. The genre of these stories is ‘realistic fiction.’ And, in fact, reading these books could be like encountering friends and family that you know in real life. The characters are so very well written that readers might be disappointed to find out that this is the intended end of the series. 

The second great strength of the story is the story itself. The plot and how Gaouette handles the elements is masterfully written. I cannot go into details without a major spoiler. But the story gets dark. And only faith, hope, and seeking God get some of the characters through. And even at that, almost no one is left unscathed.

I was using adaptive technology and listening to this book while driving on the highway. The second time tears came, I had to pull over and stop the book. It was that moving. Gaouette has wrapped up the story in an excellent fashion. I have stated before that the more I read by T.M. Gaouette, the more I want to read. I thoroughly enjoy her works and appreciate that they are good clean Christian fiction. This is an excellent Catholic young adult book, but can be read and enjoyed by mature readers who love a good story! Previous books by Gaouette I would have recommended for tweens and even middle grade readers, this one I would raise the age or maturity and recommend it for teens, even older teens, and young adults. A great read in a wonderful series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by T.M. Gaouette:

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
Treasures: Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens

Author Profile and interview with T.M. Gaouette

(New 2018 Covers)

(Original Covers) 

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