Book Title: Chasing Rainbows
Book Author: Lynette Chambers and Janice Lee
Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
Synopsis: “In one earth shattering moment, Sheldon Henry Stottz’s near perfect life is changed forever. The influenza epidemic of 1918 had already taken many lives, but now it had resulted in the untimely death of his wife, Lila and their newborn, Rose. In what seemed like a single breath, the people Sheldon Henry loved the most where gone, and his rock-solid faith shaken to the core. Why was God letting this happen? What had he done to deserve such agony, such utter pain? “I’ve always been faithful.” he thought, “I have always believed.”
Just when he thought things could not get worse, they did. At the graveside service of his beloved family, Sheldon Henry is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a German spy. “This can’t be happening.” he thought, “Not here. Not now.”
Still in shock over the deaths of his beloved family, he is ripped away and immediately transported to a military prison for questioning.
“Why God?” “What have I done to deserve this?” “Is this a test?” “Is there something you are trying to teach me?” “Have I done something wrong?” “Tell me, Father, please tell me.”
In the days that follow, Sheldon Henry is tested to the limits of his personal and spiritual endurance. His confusion over what has happened, and the isolation of prison, only amplify his unbearable sense of loss. He dreams of Lila. Her voice. Her tender touch. She is always on his mind even though he knows she is gone forever.
Shortly after his release from prison, Sheldon stumbles upon a young woman in tears. She’s deeply broken, and while trying to offer some comfort, Sheldon suddenly realizes that God has spared him for a purpose; a purpose he would perhaps soon understand.”
Wow. I can’t remember the last time that a book filled me with so many emotions! I cannot imagine ever going through a tragedy of this magnitude. I do not doubt that many Christians during this time questioned God’s purpose for the widespread loss and grief. In that sense, this book seemed like a very realistic depiction of the devastation caused by the influenza epidemic of 1918.
The authors were able to seamlessly flow from one character’s perspective to another to essentially give reader a 360 degree view of the story, without the plot feeling disjointed. Each of the characters were memorable for one reason or another, but this particular story was centered primarily on Sheldon Stottz. After losing his newborn daughter and beautiful wife literally within hours of each other, Sheldon begins struggling with the divine purpose behind his immeasurable heartache. That alone would be enough to shake a person to their core, and the family’s despair felt palpable to me. However, Sheldon’s trials were only beginning.
Being of German descent and open about his uneasy feelings about the war, Sheldon is accused of being a German spy and is subsequently arrested – immediately after the funeral of his wife and daughter. During all of this turmoil, Sheldon questions where his life should go from there, and even contemplates leaving home and starting over. But soon after Sheldon is released from prison, he meets a person who may be able to show him that life is still worth living, and that he still has a purpose.
It is fairly obvious that this is a self-published book, and there are some grammatical errors throughout the text, but they certainly do not take anything away from the story. I try to be a little less critical of self-published works, but overall this was a very beautiful story. The fact that this is “Christian fiction” may tempt you to automatically dismiss this book, but you honestly shouldn’t. Yes, this book deals with a man’s struggles with his faith, and religion is a major part of these characters’ lives, but if you rule out the possibility of reading his novel simply on that basis then you are really going to miss out on this little-known gem.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.