by Delia Latham
Destiny's Dream is largely built on a view (perhaps even a theology) of marriage and family relationships that I don't quite share. The underlying belief of the book, stated overtly at one point, is that there is one person set aside for each individual that will make him/her complete. This "Mr./Ms. Right" is set aside by God, and it is the task of each person to set about finding the person who will make him/her whole. I cannot see any scriptural basis for this sort of belief, and so can't claim to share it. I think there are several points, in fact, which refute it, not to mention the words of Jesus himself when he said that it is better to remain single, which seems to indicate that one is complete in oneself. A further dispute I have with the whole notion of one right person for each of us is an instance that is actually seen in the novel Destiny's Dream itself — there are many who are widowed and later remarry. Is this to say that they for some reason need more than one partner to complete them? Overall, I see a problem with the whole underlying premise of relationships that the book contains, as it seems to me a romantic idea rather than a scriptural one. Since romance connotes that which is "suggestive of an idealized view of reality" or "a longing for that which is unattainable, or distant in time or space," it is not an idea, then, that should be expected to cohere with the world in which we live.
But in actual fact, a review of Destiny's Dream is not really a place for discussions of theory or theology. I only say all of the above in the interest of disclosure — I have something of a bias when it comes to books that idealize our marriage and family relationships because I think they can often set up expectations for real-life relationships that are detrimental to the family if the reader is not discerning. Now, as for romance in the broader sense — the longing for that which is always just beyond our reach — I think it is a very powerful part of what motivates the whole Christian way of thinking, and so I think it has a place in the "baptized imagination" of the Christian, as long as we keep the fantasies and realities of it all clear in our heads as we go about reading. I felt that Destiny's Dream does that in many ways, especially in its imagining for us what a picture of God's protection and providence might look like in our lives. The only real crossing of the line that I found was the overt statement made by the lead character to the effect that there is one path for each of us in our marriage choices that is the "right one" (and thus the only one pleasing to God?). That particular section comes off, in the context, a bit too much like a statement of belief — one with which I happen to disagree. But other than that, I felt the book remained more or less rooted in the understanding that the world of the novel is always a fantasy, and so can be excused if things are a little too good to be true, or a little to neat and tidy when compared to how real life works out for most people. But then, that's the fun of reading a novel, isn't it?
Delia Latham has a gift for making readers want to turn the page to find out what is going to happen next to the quirky characters she's created. In Destiny's Dream, she has come up with some of her most fully realized characters to date, with each having a resolution to his/her story line that fits the character just right. Some parts of the novel are quite funny, which adds to the overall charm of the book. It is an easy read, one that will make you want to read right through to the end, just to see how it all wraps up.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2010
Delia Latham’s newest novel, Destiny’s Dream, is the first in her Solomon’s Gate Series. It is scheduled to be released December 2010. Ms. Latham again draws us in with her strong characters and quick paced story line. The author intertwines romance, suspense and humor. This is a very enjoyable “quick-read” for a relaxing afternoon.
Guest Reviewer © 2010