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The Reason - William Sirls Brooke Thomas is cleaning her small church with her son, Alex, when the lights go out in an electrical storm, and the huge wooden cross outside the building is destroyed by lightening. She lives with the Lindy family: Pastor Jim, the blind pastor, his wife Shirley, and Charlie, their seven-foot, 355-pound son who hadn’t spoken a single word in his life. Carla Miller is Brooke’s best friend, and has her own problems. A mysterious stranger appears in a bar, shows Carla an apple, tells her she has to learn to forgive, then leaves. Macey Lewis, paediatric oncologist at the local hospital, meets Brooke and Alex when they are having some medical tests. She offers to help rebuild the cross, and enlists the help of colleagues Dr Zach Norman, nurse Kaitlyn Harby and Kenneth, a carpenter who is working on the new wing of the hospital and who has been a man of God 'forever'.The first couple of chapters introduced all the main characters, which had the potential to get a little confusing, but the different characters were soon linked together, and from then on, The Reason was a gripping contemporary story, a combination between medical and speculative fiction, centered around Brooke and Alex, but impacting all the characters in different ways.While The Reason is most definitely a Christian novel, the characters aren't perfect. They visit bars, smoke, drink, get drunk and make wrong decisions as they deal with their present problems and confront their pasts. Their faith is challenged by circumstances, and by the carpenter who seems to know everything each of them has ever done. This is William Sirls’ first novel, and it is an outstanding debut with realistic characters facing difficult situations and learning to only believe. Highly recommended.Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.This review also appears on my blog, www.christianreads.blogspot.com.