Nothing in particular drew me to read this book. It had a vague blue cover with an equally vague title. Perhaps this was the draw. I had no preconceived notions about the book, no external input, no preference of genre. I’ll admit that her collaboration with Ted Dekker on previous titles ended up persuading me to take the plunge and read Erin Healy’s novel titled Afloat.
The story takes place in a beautiful setting called Eagle’s Talon, a cove that projects past the outpouring of the Rondeau River. This cove is home to an innovative housing project of condominiums that are under construction and will float right on the river. The project is engineered by our protagonist, Vance Nolan, and funded by the antagonist, Tony Dean. If that isn’t enough potential for an interesting plot line, the prologue foreshadows even greater turmoil when a clandestine figure carries out some shady job under the cover of darkness at the construction site.
The meat and bones of the story, the underlying moral of the story, concerns the battle within each of us for self-sufficiency. Is our goal and comfort in life to be completely self-sufficient? Or can we allow ourselves to rely and trust in others; especially God? Through a variety of trials, whether natural or man-made disaster, human vice, or providing for self and family, and a smattering of supernatural interventions, such as visions, angelic interaction, and shiny fishy things, the different characters in the book are forced to decide one way or the other.
The book does a great job at portraying the natural decline of characters who choose self-control at all costs. When people try to take control for their own preservation, even with good intentions, it only results in disaster. But when you choose to trust God and his servants on earth, when you choose to put others before yourself, that is the source of blessings and love.
Good, you may say, it has a good Christian purpose, but what about the novel as a novel? Many books with a strong moral or theological implication struggle to hold interest as an actual story, such as a book I previously reviewed, The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook. Healy did not succumb to such a problem. What made the realism most keen for me was the dialog. Characters stayed in character and acted according to character, if you know what I mean.
The self-sufficient businessman was ever the politician. The five-year-old was ever the little, silly boy you would expect out of, well, a five-year-old boy. Even static characters, those who didn’t change their philosophy or perceptions on the world much, such as Vance and Tony, were effective as foils of each other, whereas dynamic characters, such as Danielle Clement, the feminine interest between the two men, progressed down a realistic and difficult road of change and development in her perceptions and expectations.
I would give this book a thumbs up, both for the interest it holds as a novel, and for the truth it contains for the Christian life!