Today I am spotlighting for you a novel that is a bit outside the box. It is not your traditional romance. It centers much around spiritual ideal that the main character of Jaya holds so close. This book is definitely different from many of the others that I have reviewed. For my full review keep reading after the book blurb.
When Jaya arrives as an idealistic stranger in a small Midwestern crossroads, she soon finds herself fascinated with a young waiter in a corner restaurant, even as she attempts to keep him at arm’s length. Still practicing the esoteric spiritual teachings she learned dwelling in a monastic community, she’s come to town vowing to be a good nun while both advancing her career and teaching yoga in her free time. Even so, she soon finds Erik’s playful charm irresistible.
Initially, though, he shields their encounters from his family and later keeps her in the dark about his activities when he’s away at college. Undaunted, as they become lovers in the whirlwind that follows, she responds to his proposals of marriage with her own promise to land them, somehow, in the shared place of their dreams, the Pacific Northwest.
What happens, though, if one partner pledges fully, while the other is only partly-committed? And what happens if they awaken in an alien desert rather than a rain forest – a place that becomes a metaphor for their marriage itself, with drought, rattlesnakes, and frozen pipes, as well as irrigated orchards, cowboys, and returning bald eagles? In time, they both come to cherish its open landscape, even if their marriage rocks with tremors. Ultimately, as a nearby mountain erupts and buries everything in volcanic ash, they must make essential decisions with inescapable consequences. This time, agreement is not a foregone conclusion, even in the face of renewed promise. There can be no turning back at the end.
Jaya has come to a small town to step out of the Ashram that she had surrounded herself. When she begins to establish her life she meets a much younger man that she finds herself drawn to. She can’t help herself and he can’t stop himself from being enamored by the new exotic stranger. As Jaya’s and Erik’s relationship grows and complicates Erik finds himself torn between Jaya’s spiritual needs and his religious upbringing. It is in times of challenge and adversity their relationship is questioned by both. But, in the end can they come together like they hope and survive or will things shatter around them.
This was a real stretch for me. It was a challenge to read because it tended to skip around. Though the focus is on the central characters of Jaya and Erik their relationship becomes a bit unbelievable and I truly feel that Jaya devolves as a character at some points in the story. Another focus was the spiritual aspect of the book. It seems that much of the book was based on what one religion believes and teaches its followers and that is definitely a challenge to read if you do not believe in the same ideals. Overall, this was an ok book but challenging for me. I think it may be easier for those who share the same spiritual beliefs as the main character to relate to the book a bit better than myself.