Tracy Bateman lives near Springfield, MO, which is only forty miles from my home, Branson, MO. So, I was particularly excited to read her newest novel, and was additionally psyched to see that it was actually set in small town, MO just outside of Springfield. I immediatley recognized some of the landmarks and she had me guessing which small town was the inspiration for this book.
Unfortunately, it violated some of my core Christian beliefs. Primarily, I am referring to dabbling in witchcraft and magic. The plot is about the spiritual war for a young woman's soul as she struggles to work through the death of her husband. However, the overt use of spirits, demons, ghosts and the like was too informative. The Bible speaks clearly and unwaveringly that we are not to willingly introduce thoughts or actions involving witchcraft into our lives. I believe this means making the choice not to read material that introduces a deluge of facts and data about Wiccan practices and folk magic. Included in the text were references to covens and even a seance of sorts. The novel did not allude to spirts and magic, it inundated the book. In many places, I felt like I was getting an education on local magic practices.
In order to give the author the benefit of the doubt, I must believe that her goal is to demonstrate that our God -- the one and only God of the universe -- is higher than any other. The book is about the journey of a young woman as she questions which path to take. She has two choices. One is to embrace the spirt (demon) of her deceased husband and invite his presence into her life. The other is to recognize the demon as evil and, in the name of Jesus, make it leave.
I am not discounting the data presented in the book. However, I firmly believe that these topics should not have been brought up as subject matter to dwell on, and certainly not in the recreational reading (fiction) arena. Bringing these topics up open doors in the mind and heart that should remain closed. I know that my God can and will conquer everything thrown into my path by Satan, but I remain concerned for many who read this and leave more fearful spiritually than ever before.
Again, I want to reinforce that the author most likely intended to encourage with this novel. Personally, I left with far more information about Wiccan practices that I had every hoped to accumulate in a lifetime.
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an objective review.